70 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
ASB had already been offering Maker sessions for families during weekends, and many of our team had
spent time ‘tinkering’ with Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineeering in the Classroom co-author Gary Stager. MS faculty had been working with Suzie Boss, PBL expert and author of Thinking
Through Project-Based Learning on PBL units and had mapped their grade level units at a faculty meeting
in order to discuss cross-curricular links. A group of faculty throughout ASB had also been exploring Design
Thinking. All of us were on the journey to better assessment and reporting of our curriculum standards
and we were all intentionally teaching the 21st Century Skills. Day 9 offered an exciting way to tie all of this
important work together in a novel and meaningful context.
The challenge as we looked at the busy months ahead, was how could we launch this creative new day,
without adding a significant burden to teachers already committed to a busy cycle of planning and
teaching. In addition the Middle School team were fully engaged in preparations for the shift to standards
based assessment and reporting. We all loved the idea of Day 9 in the Middle School but the practicalities
in a busy school were at first a bit overwhelming. But thoughtful planning and collaborative partnership
created the path.
The culture of collaboration at ASB is deep. We knew that it was collaboration that would allow us to
implement Day 9 without overshadowing the daily work of teaching and learning. With a deep
commitment to student learning and collaboration, the Middle School team was primed to bring the
concept of Day 9 to our students. Collaboration, in this case meant going beyond the borders to create a
one-of-a kind learning prototype.
After a sugar and caffeine induced brainstorm with the R&D department members, the idea of a
partnership with NuVu Studio was born. NuVu Studio, the Cambridge Massachusetts-based innovation
studio, and one of its founders, Saba Ghole, was known to us through their high-quality work with our
students as a part of the Intersessions prototype at ASB. In the Intersession studios, students had been
challenged to design, iterate, and reflect in order to create something new, in response to a challenge.
We immediately recognized the match to our goals for the Middle School Day 9 Prototype.