Inside the Hall: Middle School
From Seed to Berry: science and service in the 5th grade
On a beautiful October morning, the 5th grade stood before rows of tilled soil. By the end of the day, each row would be filled with tiny plants and a promise of new growth. For years, Harpeth Hall 5th grade students have partaken in this planting tradition. Each fall, they visit Green Door Gourmet, a 350-acre farm by the Cumberland River, to learn about farming in Middle Tennessee. They are taught the benefits of companion planting — the act of growing certain fruits and vegetables together to mutually benefit each other and promote healthy growth — and the functions of soil in an ecosystem. They then begin to plant. Working together, this year’s 5th grade class planted 4,700 strawberry plants on the farm and returned to campus to eagerly wait. In early May, students returned to Green Door Gourmet to, quite literally, see the fruits of their labor. Where once was dirt, rows and rows of fully grown strawberry plants now stood. The class picked and collected the berries — completing in just 40 minutes what would have taken one person 38 hours
Girl Power: ancient history’s women leaders
Who runs the world? Girls. At least, in the ancient world there were legendary female rulers who led their people with strength and courage. In 6th grade history, students researched a female leader from the ancient world to understand how women gained access to power. They learned about Amanirenas, the Nubian queen who stood up to Caesar’s armies; Egypt’s famed Cleopatra; Nefertiti, a beloved queen of Egypt; Sobekneferu, Egypt’s first female pharaoh to rule in her own right; and Queen Tiy, a queen of Egypt who was widely respected as a ruler. Students took what they learned and created monuments to honor their respective leaders in the form of an obelisk. These obelisks stood throughout the middle school, educating all who saw them of these fearless female leaders.
8th grade celebrates National Poetry Month
The halls of the middle school were filled with poems this April as the 8th grade celebrated National Poetry Month. Ahead of the month, students created Golden Shovel poems in their class poetry unit. The idea behind a Golden Shovel poem is to take a poem that’s already written, use a line from the poem (called a “striking line”), and then create a new poem using the words (the “striking line”) from the original. This year, students chose lines from one of two poems — “ ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson or “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou — and reinterpreted them to create their own poems. On April 27, National Poem-in-Your-Pocket Day, girls carried their poems around and encouraged all middle school students and faculty to carry their favorite poems too. They hung QR codes on their lockers and walls to share poems with all who passed by. Their wonderful work culminated in a special coffeehouse performance event for the 8th grade. Students bravely shared original poetry and music in front of their peers to loud applause and cheers that could be heard throughout the middle school.