Passion Projects Brighten Middle School Walls & Minds

By Mark Duvall, Middle School 6th Grade Dean/History Teacher

On Monday, May 24, Middle School students began work on their year-end Passion Projects. Students elected to work on one of the following topics before teaming up to plan and execute their vision for the future of MICDS and the broader community.

Installation Art (on campus only) 

What is installation art? It is a piece of public art that is created and displayed in a specific place. The art is designed with the space in mind, and often “interacts” with the space. Students in this project went on a site hunt on the MICDS campus, looking for a space where an art piece could live. They worked with specific clients to develop plans before designing and creating an art piece for installation. Students collaborated in groups to create the artwork and it was installed on our own campus as a piece of public art.

After determining one of the Middle School stairwells to be the best place for a new art installation, a group of 6th graders, including May Durrill ’27 and Josie Ciaramita ’27, began designing the piece and painting the wall.

Remarking on the fact that she sees the same people every day, year after year, “You grow up with all these people” said May as Josie chimed in with the painting’s meaning, “The stem represents the school and the flowers symbolize friends as we get older and grow.”

Architectural Design (remote and on campus)

Have you ever looked at some of the spaces on the MICDS campus and thought, “Wow, this would be a great space if only we could…”? In this course, students digitally redesigned the Freeman Arts Building to become a future 6th Grade Learning Center. They took measurements, captured photographs, and brainstormed to create plans for a future learning center for the 6th grade. Their ideas and plans were created through an architecture program where they had total freedom and creativity to design a future learning space.

Travel Sustainability (remote and on campus)

Have you ever wanted to travel the world, discover new and exotic locations, or plan your family’s next summer vacation? Many students agreed and took on this project. In this course, they researched the various cities and destinations that they would like to see and experience. From there, they developed travel plans that combine eco-friendly and environmentally safe travel. Students also developed a service-learning experience that helps the traveler learn about the people and culture from each area. The experience combined fun travel while helping, supporting, and learning about the people of the community.

Digital Breakout Game Design (remote and on campus)

Do you enjoy unlocking mysteries? Do you enjoy the challenge of answering clues? Breakout rooms, also known as escape rooms, are a popular activity for people of all ages, and our students are no exception! They encourage collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. They are also a lot of fun! Although breakout rooms are typically experienced in the “real” world with physical objects, they can also be enjoyed virtually using digital clues and locks. In this project, students learned how to design and build a digital breakout game using the platform.

Classmates Marie Willie ’27 and Maahi Saini ’27 crafted their digital escape room hoping it would baffle but ultimately reward their fellow sixth graders. “You get to use your own logic to create it. It’s so much more fun,” said Marie.

“I love thinking and escape rooms,” said Maahi. Making the virtual breakout room proved to be more rewarding than she anticipated. “You get to use your imagination. It’s way more fun than I thought.”