2018-2019 Thematic Learning

Identity Projects

The Bridge teachers chose the theme of “identity” to guide our interdisciplinary learning this year. Most of the work related to our study of identity has occurred in our Explorations class; however, the theme has intentionally informed the curriculum of all classes.

Below is a sample of some of the projects from 2018-2019.

Our exploration was guided by three essential questions:

  1. Who am I?
  2. How do people create and express identity?
  3. How do groups share identity?


  • Created a “name-glyph” by coloring in the letters of their name to follow a code that explains aspects of his or her life.
  • Drawn self-portraits.
  • Created “identity-charts” describing the characteristics of their identity.
  • Painted a mask to demonstrate the identity characteristics they want to express and to be known for.
  • Interviewed a member of their family to learn about their heritage.
  • Completed a research project on a country.
  • Participated in the creation of an original play.

Eastview Biography Project

Students in the oldest Language Arts Class are working on a community-engagement project with Eastview at Middlebury, a retirement community. Students are paired with a resident, and are completing a series of interviews to learn about the identity and life of the resident. Over the course of the winter, students will visit several times, and eventually write a biography of their partner.

Students also sketched drawings of their partner resident, with the help of Christine Mix, our October artist-in-residence. These drawings are part of an art installation our students created for Eastview.

The Castle on the Cliff–an original Bridge School Play

Each year, students in the oldest Language Arts class at Bridge School spend their Fall writing an original play that includes a part for every student, kindergarten through 6th grade.  The Fall’s curriculum is taught through this collaborative, creative process.  Guided by teachers and volunteers, students are responsible for every aspect of the play–from painting the sets, to writing original songs. “The Big Show,” sets Bridge School apart because of the way we empower students to create an authentic, creative piece. As Bridge School’s founding philosophy implores, The Big Show is “real work, done in the real world.”

Bridge Investigation

Our STEM Exploration for the fall has focused on the science, technology, engineering and math of bridges. Students in all levels of math have engaged in this project-based, and community-engaged learning endeavor in developmentally appropriate ways.

The youngest math class has built bridges out of manipulative, read books about bridges, and studied which shapes are the strongest to use when building bridges.

Our middle level math class has used the exploration of bridges to study geometry concepts such as: shape identity, angles, and symmetry. Students have created their own bridge designs out of pattern blocks, and then made 3D designs using everyday materials.

Students in the oldest math class participated in a engineering and design challenge. After studying the design of famous bridges around the world, students designed their own bridge. Students then had to apply for a loan from their teacher, Jen, to the materials they needed (popsicle sticks, straws, yarn, etc.) to build a model of their bridge.

All students got to meet with Jim Gish, project liaison for the Middlebury Downton Bridge Construction Project to learn about Middlebury’s Bridges.