Dr. Cottingham was appointed Interim Upper School Director in July 2021, and her Pingry experience includes three years as Upper School Academic Dean and a semester as Interim English Department Chair.
Welcome to the Spring Intensives Course Catalog for Spring 2023
These course offerings for Pingry's second year of its Spring Intensives program represent a multi-year professional development effort by Pingry's talented faculty to share their passion, curiosity, and expertise with students. Spring Intensives courses are experiential by design and encourage students will consider a variety of perspectives and cultivate critical skills as they learn by doing.
Students will choose their top seven course preferences during advisory in early December. For more information, please see the Spring Intensives FAQ page.
*Designates New Courses
- Bugs and Bacteria
- Sound Perspectives
- Money, Morality, and Message in Sports
- The Great Food Truck Experiment*
- Hudson River Rising
- Ireland's Identity, Borders, and Culture
- Adventures in Problem Solving
- Refugee Stories
- Voices From a Cultural (R)Evolution
- Explorations in Artificial Intelligence
- Don't Quit: Building Resilience Through Endurance Sport
- Poetry Writing in Response to Visual Art: Ekphrastic Poetry
- Young, Scrappy, and Hungry: The Real and Imagined Lives of Alexander Hamilton*
- Great Leaders, Great Stories: A Study of Leadership Through Sport
- The Great Pingry Bake Off
- Biological Illustration and Specimen Preservation
- Finding a Muse in the Ruins
- Comedy Writing Workshop*
The Bugs and Bacteria course will offer students the opportunity to engage in a research experience and truly contribute to the greater understanding of an international research project currently facilitated by Penn State University; it is known as Discover Microbes Within: The Wolbachia Project.
The Wolbachia Project attempts to analyze the DNA sequence of a parasitic bacterial infection commonly found in over 50% of arthropods. The Wolbachia bacteria is an intrinsic part of many arthropod life cycles. Manipulation of Wolbachia infection changes the fertility and general health of insect populations. Altering Wolbachia infection in insects has profound implications for human health when considering insect-borne infections such as malaria, Lyme’s disease, and Dengue fever.
Students will be trapping and correctly taxonomically classifying insects found on the Pingry campus, then extracting DNA from the insect samples and amplifying a small region of the Wolbachia genome through PCR. After confirming a successful isolation of DNA by gel electrophoresis, students will sequence their PCR product and submit their analysis to the Wolbachia database to help characterize the Wolbachia in our geographic area.
Beginning with a historical overview of songwriting in America and the advent of audio recording technology, Sound Perspectives will combine songwriting and hands-on digital recording to create a true experiential learning environment.
In addition to listening - which is the most important musical fundamental - daily activities will include:
Analyzing musical form
Exploring the era-specific social context of lyrics and the song’s origin
Historical review of sound recording
Learning the fundamentals of both analog and digital recording
Work from brainstorming to finished product ready for the recording studio.
In this course, we will explore the often hidden factors that affect modern sports in our world. How do economic considerations affect both professional and amateur sports? What about our human nature makes sports and games so ubiquitous in societies around the world? What is the difference between a fair, competitive game and a rigged one? What costs do sports impose on society? How did wagering affect the development of sports leagues, how is wagering conducted today, and how do betting and fantasy sports drive the sports industry? Students will explore some of these questions (and others that may arise during the class) using multiple modalities, including participation in competitive games, research, videos, discussion, small group projects, and online forum exchanges. Several field trips may occur. Only one day (a single overnight) will impact sports practice.
In this course, students will explore the wilderness through literature and a backpacking trip in Harriman State Park (north of the NJ/NY border)! During the first week, students will learn the skills necessary for wilderness survival through hands-on workshops at various local nature areas such as Hacklebarney State Park, Pottersville trails, and Basking Ridge trails. They will also explore various forms of literature about the great outdoors and apply their learnings in writer workshops each day. The second week, students will put their learning to the test in a threeday backpacking trip. Students will hike, cook their own food, set up camp, sleep in the woods, and have ample time for written self-reflection and creative writing.
Have you ever eaten at a food truck? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own and operate one of these majestic establishments? Do you have an interest in restaurant management, hospitality, or food service? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, The Great Food Truck Experiment could be the class for you! In this class, you will design all of the necessary components of a food truck from the tires to the business plan. Through immersive experiences, including interviewing food truck owners, visiting food truck parks, and academic research in business and economic databases, students will gain a deeper appreciation for the challenging, yet rewarding, nature of designing and running their own business in the food service industry. At the end of the class, students will present their food truck design to a panel of Shark Tank experts who will crown one of the groups as the top food truck in the class. If you like the idea of running your own food truck, but do not know how to do it, sign up for this class!
Did you know that New York Harbor was once home to half of the world’s oyster population? When the Dutch arrived in Manhattan in 1609, they marveled at the abundance of wildlife on the island and the varieties of fish species in the Hudson River. What happened? Where did all of the oysters, beavers, and whales go?
This course explores how the Hudson River shaped, and in turn was shaped by, human settlements. The indigenous peoples of the Hudson River Valley, who once feasted on foot-long oysters, would be shocked to learn that very few of these natural oyster beds survived into the 21st century. The American Industrial Revolution transformed the river into something unrecognizable. Was it too late to go back? As early as the 19th century, artists of the Hudson River School sounded the alarm, painting landscape histories of the region to remind us of the beauty of the natural world and what was at stake. Today, river-keepers are working to clean up the Hudson River, and organizations like the Billion Oyster Project are planting oysters in New York Harbor to help filter the polluted waters. Maybe one day we will be able to sit down in a Manhattan restaurant and order home-grown oysters off of the menu.
In addition to the learning that we will do on campus, this course will bring us to different parts of the Hudson River Valley, from New Jersey to New York City to the Catskills, including an overnight stay in the Kaaterskills Falls area. On this overnight trip, we will visit Olana, the historic estate designed by Hudson River School painter Frederic Church, hike to a nearby waterfall, canoe on the Hudson River, and sleep in a tent. Our New York City trip will include a visit to the American Indian Museum, a ferry ride on the Hudson, and a visit to Little Island Park. We will also visit the nearby Hudson Valley town of Piermont, New York to do volunteer work planting oyster beds with a field station that is partnered with the Billion Oyster Project. If you love history, the outdoors, and you don’t mind a bit of walking, this course is for you!
In this Intensive, we will identify and explore the emotional tradeoffs of immigrating to America for “opportunity” as opposed to staying (or being left) behind. Through museum visits, guest speakers, and analyzing and discussing prose, poetry, podcasts, and film (and ideally a live performance), we will examine the role that art and memory play in documenting Ireland’s history—its shifts, suffering, and celebrations.
Artists as varied as U2, Frank McCourt, Patrick Radden Keefe, Seamus Heaney, Sally Rooney, Flynn Berry, and The Chieftains will help us to contemplate Ireland’s emotional and political landscape and draw connections between the past and the present, the individual and the collective. In this course, we will read, write, listen, learn, grapple, gather, eat, and feed our curiosity about what it means to be an immigrant in America. Students will choose their deliverable: it could be an original poem, a reflective piece of writing, excerpts from their course journal, or a work of art (painting, song, etc.) in response to an aspect of the course.
How do we solve a problem we’ve never dealt with before? How do we start to approach a situation with either unclear instructions or none at all? With a hands-on, experiential approach to solving problems and puzzles, Adventures in Problem Solving will provide students with countless problems, games, and puzzles designed to develop their critical thinking skills, pattern recognition, and determination. Students will spend their class time solving puzzles from a variety of contexts, from math to engineering to orienteering, with the goal of developing strategies that will make them stronger thinkers in any subject.
While never requiring more difficult mathematics than basic Algebra or Geometry, the problems will ask students to shape their thinking in new and interesting ways. Maybe a problem is a new form of a previous problem, or maybe it can most easily be solved by working backwards. These strategies are universal, but rarely ever taught directly in any course and are best learned by using them. By the end of this course, students will have compiled a set of solved problems organized by these strategies for use in their future mathematical endeavors.
Course activities will include, but are not limited to, solving math problems, working on puzzles, playing strategy games, discussing interesting historical problem solvers, building structures, watching those structures fall down, participating in scavenger hunts, and taking an Escape Room field trip. Be ready to stretch your brains in entirely new directions.
This course investigates the notion of the refugee through the stories and history of the refugee experience since 1945. What does the term “refugee” really mean? How has the term “refugee” been deployed for political purposes? Why do some groups receive the designation and not others? How is a refugee different from an immigrant? When does a refugee become an immigrant? The course will focus on the contemporary refugee crises of Syria and Myanmar, as well as Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union. You will explore the ways refugees influence the culture of their new countries through the lens of cuisine. You will learn how to use data visualization tools to illustrate migration waves from the regions mentioned above as well as migration patterns into the United States. You will investigate the history of U.S. refugee policy as well as refugee resettlement programs in New Jersey. You will hear guest speakers’ stories and research your own families’ stories, if applicable. To supplement the history, public policy, and data science components of the course, we will include literature, storytelling, film, documentaries, and cultural exploration such as food tastings, trips to restaurants, and museums in local ethnic neighborhoods. This is a truly interdisciplinary experience in which your contributions will reflect your personal interests. Through creating your own collaborative class website, you will use data and personal narratives to frame refugee experiences and impact.
Reading Day Required
While queerness has existed in every time period and in every culture, it is historically absent or under-represented in schools of all levels. That must change.
In this spring intensive, we will explore the complex nature of LGBTQ+ or Queer Culture, celebrating its contributions to society as a whole and looking squarely at historical inequities and bias. We will do some deep dives in fields like activism, music (and other art forms), sports, religion, and more. We will host guest instructors from several different disciplines, including a DJ from WXPN and a New Jersey minister who has worked on LGBTQ+ inclusivity in religion for decades. We will also take a field trip to Manhattan in order to explore some iconic spots in LGBTQ+ history and culture.
At the end of the course, each student will offer a constructive tool to address inequities in our curricula, on our campus, and around the globe. We will be agents of change, working within and beyond our school community.
Who should enroll in this Spring Intensive? Everyone! For queer students, this could be a transformative and empowering experience; for straight and cisgender students, it will promote understanding, perspective, and empathy.
Artificial Intelligence is all around us! In our phones, homes, and cars, it impacts our lives and the ways we interact with the world. But how does it work and is it really intelligent? How does it learn and make decisions? Can you make your own smart systems? In this course, you will discover how machines can sense the world around them, learn from examples, and make complex decisions. You will explore applications such as personal assistants, self-driving cars, face detection, and medical image analysis. You will also experiment with creating “Snapchat filters” and AI-generated art and music. Finally, you will investigate the potential dangers of AI, how future labor markets might be disrupted, and who will be affected by widespread AI adoption.
Have you ever wanted to try something challenging and rewarding? Have you ever wondered if people limit what they can achieve based on our perceived norm? In this class, we will use the sport of triathlon (swimming, biking, and running) to put students in a position where their limits are safely tested and then expanded, culminating in a personal challenge endurance event. A typical day will include physical training sessions in the three disciplines of triathlon, classroom time to learn about sports psychology, and recovery sessions to work on fueling and mobility. Students will have the opportunity to apply the concepts of self motivation, resiliency, and goal setting to excel not only in triathlon, but in other areas of interest.
This class is designed for students of any ability level. No competitive experience in swimming, biking, or running is required. The culminating experience will be designed based on your individual personal experience and training goals.
Tap into the power of art with this immersive, hands-on course. Do you like to write original poetry and make art? Come grab an easel and a notebook with us, and paint and write both indoors and outdoors. Find your muse in the galleries and museums we will visit on field trips. Learn about a global array of artists and develop an appreciation of art and poetry like you’ve never experienced before. You’ll be writing in response to artwork or maybe even writing in response to art that YOU have made! Do you love looking closely at art for meaning and metaphor? Do you find yourself making connections between art and your own life? Then Ekphrastic Poetry is the course for you! Join us as we explore the demands for social justice as expressed in art and literature. Lean into a challenging work of art. Develop your own voice through art and poetry. All skill levels are welcome.
Do not throw away your shot to explore the lyrical life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father and eponymous hero of the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical, Hamilton. Surveying history, musical theater, hip hop, literature, and creative writing, this interdisciplinary Spring Intensive will study how a fictionalized character can be constructed out of the historical record. Speakers, off-campus excursions, and documentary exploration will allow students to immerse themselves in both Alexander Hamilton's actual history and the musical's constructed history to identify points of overlap and divergence. Students will explore the places and resources used in the writing of the musical to gain a better understanding of how the theatrical Hamilton and his contemporaries were reimagined, infused with elements of popular culture, and represented out of specific historic moments in the early twenty-first century when the musical was written.
This course will explore leadership through an athletics lens, with an overarching focus on the development of life skills that carry beyond the classroom and athletics arenas. A central part of this intensive will include interviewing guest speakers, who will share their stories and highlight the challenges and successes in their leadership journeys. Additionally, we will make multiple on-site visits to various sports organizations. The major objectives of this intensive are to expose students to leadership theory, research, and anecdotal evidence, while creating the opportunity for them to further refine their unique personal leadership "style" and become more effective leaders.
The Great Pingry Bake Off is a fully immersive and experiential course that incorporates history and science into a hands-on, competitive baking course that will include field trips, projects, “kitchen laboratory” work, and a great deal of time spent elbow-deep in dough. Throughout this course, students will test tried-and-true recipes, recreate and write about baked goods connected to their family’s history and culture, and learn to make mistakes and bake without fear.
Projects and activities will include a variety of kitchen practices, including soap making; bread, bagel, and pastry making; cake decoration; and washing a significant number of dishes. We will also explore the science and art behind these crafts by balancing and testing ingredients, and baking goods that look beautiful and delicious. Importantly, we will reflect on our experiences through food photography, writing about food and its connection to family, and creating instructional videos. Field trips will include visits to local commercial bakeries to learn from professionals about their practices. This course will culminate in a multimedia exhibition presented to the community; students will have a choice of constructing a printed cookbook, building a baking-related social media presence, publishing a food blog, producing instructional videos, or creating a baking show. The Great Pingry Bake Off is for risk takers, creatives, writers, and scientists all competing to become the Star Baker.
This course combines art and science to utilize observational skills and experience the natural world. During the intensive, students will be immersed in nature to engage with the wilderness surrounding Pingry. They will learn basic drawing techniques to create botanical illustrations, how to document through nature journaling, and how to collect data to make a visual and scientific representation of the ecosystem surrounding our campuses. They will also collect and preserve insects and plants native to the area. In this course, you will use both the lens of a scientist and the lens of an artist, showing how the two can be used to form better observational skills and a deeper understanding of the natural world.
Reading Day Required
Calling all painters, writers, photographers, and poets. Often, one finds a muse on the buried paths and vine-covered houses of people left behind. In this course, we will delve into the ruins of abandoned sites in NJ to connect with the people and places who left their footprints behind. Our journey will take us to several local sites where the history and folklore combine to unleash creative inspiration. Who were the people who lived and worked in these abandoned places? Where did they go? What happened to them? What stories do they leave behind? How do these stories and ruins serve as inspiration for our own creativity?
Writers, poets, and artists have long strolled upon the meadows that sprouted through the ruins of long-lost chapels and cathedrals. These artists found something missing in these ruins and applied it to their work, and through a combination of creative energy, dreamstate, imagination of the past, and recognition of the beauty that surrounds these sites, they created beautiful poems, stories, and paintings. We will aspire to be these artists. We will stroll through such ruins as Feltville Village, the Red Mill Village, Duke Farms, Central Jersey Railway Terminal, and Monmouth Battlefield and seek our own muse hiding in the haunting shadows. We will create a blog for a final display that will combine the historical and the creative. While we will research the background of the visited sites and explore the works of other writers and artists, the core of our experience will be the creative pieces that you pull out of yourselves.
This course will be about reading, writing, watching, and performing comedy. What is comedy, anyways, and why does it exist? What is the impact of comedy on our lives? To answer those larger questions, we’ll also have to ask some smaller ones: What makes you laugh? What makes us laugh? What makes other people laugh, even though you have no idea why? What makes a person funny? What makes a character funny?
As part of our inquiry, we will explore comedy as a genre. In particular, we will examine how comedy and drama diverge, coexist, and reinforce each other. Similarly, we will seek to understand the relationship between humor and a particular time and place. We will consider a variety of different mediums: essays, stand up, short stories, television shows, movies, and more. In deconstructing these works, we will learn how humor and jokes develop through narrative and character.
Having analyzed the myriad ways humor expresses itself, we will begin working, both individually or in teams, on writing and producing our own works: non-fiction essays, scripts for live action performance, or fictional stories. To generate ideas, we will each search for the comical and absurd in our surroundings, experiences, memories, and imagination through a variety of activities at both the Basking Ridge and Pottersville campuses. As we write, we will workshop each other’s writing regularly and engage in an extensive editing process.
Come prepared for this course ready to share your favorite comedies, whether a TV show or simply a funny story!
- Film Appreciation
- Deep Mapping: Embodying Space, Place, and Time*
- Introduction to Latino/Hispanic Studies
- Are You Human? Wait, Are…You…Sure?? An exploration through science fiction
- The Curious Case of Quantum Matters
- Creating Really Awesome Performances (C.R.A.P.)
- Mathematics of Board Games
- Congrats! You've Graduated from Pingry—Now What?
- World War II: Global Civilian and Military Experiences
- From Craving to Consumption: The Story and Science of Chocolate
- From Clay to Kimchi: An In-Depth Look at Two Ancient Korean Traditions
- Survey of Cryptology
- The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Imagine, Innovate, Iterate
- NYC in the Seventies: City in Ferment
- The Reel Pingry*
- A Culinary Journey: Knowing Your Food
- Can Art Heal?*
- Binging Blaq*
- Landscape and the Human Spirit*
Almost everyone loves to watch movies. From dramas to documentaries, from epics to romcoms, we flock to the screen to view stories about waging war, coming of age, seeking adventure, and growing old. Of course, we also enjoy sharing our love of movies with others. How many times have you gathered with friends to see the latest blockbuster release? How often do you sit around talking about film favorites? In Film Appreciation, students will explore both the art of making films and appreciating them. Watching films from different eras, countries, and genres, students will consider everything from how movies get started to how they make it to general release. Ultimately, students will gain a greater appreciation for the craft of filmmaking, and a deeper understanding of what movies can teach us about ourselves and the world.
A key component of the course will be watching a series of films together. Beyond that, students will do background research on the films they view, as well as on the film industry in general. Students will engage in roundtable discussions to analyze the films; and they will keep a film critic’s journal to record their impressions along the way. They will also explore some of the more technical aspects of filmmaking, like framing, editing, and scoring film scenes. Finally, each student will introduce one of the films in the series, providing some background and significant facts to the class.. The course will also feature a trip to the historic Ambler Theater in Pennsylvania to view a classic film, followed by a sit-down meal to discuss the experience. The course will foster creativity, critical analysis, and an appreciation for the medium of film.
A deep map is a map with greater information than simply names and topography; a deep map can include images, sound recordings, narratives, graphs, art, data, etc. Together we will explore the village of Pottersville to build a deep map - a multimedia project - to embody space, place, and time. Through hikes, meditations and deep listening, interviews, visits to archives, an overnight, and other experiences we will attempt to marry art, literature, science, statistics, sociology, politics, economics, and more to create an expressive object -our deep map- one that is both art and a scholarly artifact. The process of deep mapping the village of Pottersville, will teach us the methods and skills which we can apply to understanding any place, and by way of this understanding, better understand ourselves, our communities, and how humans interact with the land.
Did you know that the hispanic/latino culture grew by nearly one million individuals from 2018 to 2019, and they're the country’s second-largest ethnic group? In this course, you'll learn about the history of key hispanic demographics within the United States, including Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Chicano. We will focus on the customs, values, politics, and sports of each culture, as well as the key challenges each group has faced within the U.S. and what their futures will look like.
In order to facilitate your understanding of these cultures, hands-on learning experiences will be provided, including playing games, visiting cultural museums, viewing musical performances, interacting with guest speakers, and experiencing the cultures through food.
Throughout the course, you will be expected to reflect on your learnings by keeping a daily journal highlighting your feelings and thoughts on that day.
Do you know what makes you human? Are you sure? Can you love a robot? (click here)? The question of personhood has been a topic of discussion throughout the history of civilization through science, philosophy, and law and is especially pertinent now as the capabilities of artificial intelligence grow; we will be examining this question mainly through science fiction. When is a being sentient and, thus, worthy of certain inalienable rights? How much can you strip away from someone before they are no longer a human? The foundation of our investigation will include excerpts from texts such as Klara and the Sun and film and television episodes such as Ex Machina and Star Trek, followed by in-depth discussion/debate. The presentation of learning will consist of a portfolio showing deep exploration of this question of what it means to be human and how it pertains to our lives.
Please note: while this course is a science fiction/philosophical exploration of humanness, it is also designed as a purposeful deep dive into the art of engaging in difficult conversations. Your instructors have deliberately come together from divergent backgrounds, liberal and conservative, in order to model the indispensable twenty-first century skill of civil discourse.
The world of quantum science is both exciting and mysterious. Why can Schrödinger’s cat be both dead and alive at the same time? How does a quantum particle get through a wall without going over it? How does a semiconductor switch between conducting and insulating characteristics?
At the same time, the significance of quantum science cannot be overstated. Magnetism and superconductivity have their roots in quantum science. Toaster ovens, fluorescent lights, computers, and lasers all use some aspect of quantum science to operate. Developing a solid comprehension of quantum science can help us develop new technologies and achieve a greater appreciation of the world around us.
This course is designed to provide students with an overview of quantum science and introduce them to exotic materials. Through experiments, site visits, literature review and computer simulations, students would be able to accomplish the following in this course:
- Engaging in sophisticated experiments to unlock the quantum nature of our world
- Understanding the main ideas and consequences of quantum mechanics
- Developing an understanding for different material properties
Reading Day Required
Have you ever wondered how a musical is created? How the script is written? How the show is designed? How the music is crafted? How the set, lighting, sound, and costumes come together to Create Really Awesome Performances (CRAP)? Well, THIS CRAP is for you...and you...and YOU!
The performing arts are the ultimate example of educational intersectionality, combining worlds of music, dramatic, technical, and visual art to create a unique performance. In this Spring Intensive, students will gain the skills to produce, direct, design, interpret, write scenes, and perform musical numbers to create an original performance. Students will study musical theater through the creation of a musical, by attending and reflecting on a Broadway show in New York City, and by engaging with various guest artists in the industry. The tech rehearsals and final show will be an immersive experience at the Pottersville Campus, culminating in an original performance at the Performing Arts Center. While all students will collaborate on the creation of the final performance, students may have the option to choose a specific area of interest, whether it be script writing, performing, technical, musical, or production related.
Do you enjoy playing games with your friends?
Did you grow up playing classic games like Backgammon and Yahtzee?
Are you looking for a competitive advantage at family game night?
From probability to expected value, game designers employ a variety of mathematical tools to create competitive and cooperative systems for groups of players to explore. Understanding these tools can help players better recognize the options presented by the game system and, therefore, make more strategic decisions. In the Mathematics of Board Games course, participants will explore the intersection of math and games in an effort to develop strategic thinking and problem solving skills. Concepts in the fields of combinatorics and game theory will be studied and applied to a variety of games both familiar and new. Students can expect to examine questions like, “How would swapping the dice in Catan with cards affect how I play?” or “What can expected value teach me about pressing my luck in Incan Gold or optimizing my bid in For Sale?”
On a daily basis, students taking The Mathematics of Games will learn new games, explore and practice mathematical skills, devise strategies inspired by the math, and reflect on the effectiveness of those strategies. By the end of the course, students will dive deeply into a specific game or genre of games, producing a detailed analysis of the strategic choices in that game and the math that informs those choices.
This Spring Intensive will explore three key components of a person’s life: career path, financial understanding, and necessary life skills after graduation from Pingry. Students will explore, in-depth, their unique interests to help guide them in their career decision-making process. Self-assessments and career counselors will help us guide these discussions. Students will learn what financial security looks like in a person’s life, recognizing that we all start from different places. Students will hear from experts in financial fields, along with doing group research on budget making and investing. Finally, we will learn important life skills—for example, meal planning/cooking and managing a household. Students will be able to explore personal goals within this framework as they create their own life handbook.
This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of World War II, examining topics beyond what was covered in World History 10. Utilizing sources such as memoirs, literature, documentaries, and feature films, students will explore myriad ways that the Second World War is remembered globally today. Our emphasis will be on how different peoples (civilians and combatants alike) experienced this conflict, and will explore the larger question of how humans become capable of such heroism and cruelty. We will address topics from all the major theaters of the war (Western, Eastern, Pacific), and consider the human costs of the war to both the combatant and civilian populations worldwide. Over the course of the experience, students will learn foundational principles of military tactics and grand strategy, culminating in a war game activity. This course assumes a baseline background of the war, either from World 10 or from prior examination of the conflict.
Americans like chocolate. We consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, which translates to a little more than 11 pounds per person annually. How did this food become such a big part of our diet and culture, and what are its origins? In this course, we will study how Americans fell in love with this food, how chocolate is made and marketed, the challenges in producing sustainable chocolate, and how modern technology has changed the chocolate-making process. We will also examine what happens on a biological level in our bodies and brains when we consume chocolate. Finally, we will consider the marketing of chocolate and how it is designed to appeal to consumers.
This course involves lots of “hands on” time with chocolate, tasting, designing and creating. After learning about chocolate’s essential ingredients and how to pick out specific notes and tastes, you will work in the lab to create chocolate yourself. You will then critique your chocolate and your classmates’ by sampling a bit of each, comparing them to various commercial varieties and going through multiple iterations to refine your own recipe. Two highlights of this course include a trip to the Milton Hershey Museum and carrying out large-scale production and packaging of your final product in order to share your creations with the community.
The use of clay to make ceramic objects is more than 10,000 years old and is one of the most important advancements in technology, agriculture, and art. The power of fire to transform soft, malleable clay into a robust and durable material is a process that revolutionized human civilization, allowing the storage of vital materials, including food. Cooking and fermenting made it possible to preserve food energy for times when food was unavailable. Kimchi, the Korean fermented cabbage, is traditionally made in clay pots called onggi. Making kimchi ties together both traditional claywork and the process of fermentation.
This course will look at the history and geology of clay, the ancient art of making onggi, and the more-than-3,000-year-old process of making kimchi. Students will collect and process clay from Pingry’s campus, use a traditional firing pit to create their own onggi, grow and harvest vegetables to make kimchi, and use scientific methods to study fermentation. Please note that this course requires a one-night campout at the Pingry farm while we fire the onggi.
Reading Day Required
How is information kept secure in this day and age? How did military secrets remain secret (or, in some cases, get revealed and exploited) during and after world-changing wars? Both of these questions (and more!) can be answered with cryptology! Cryptology at its core is the art of making and breaking secret messages. In this course, we will take a look through history at how cryptology has evolved by learning how to use various ciphers, dissecting their inner workings to figure out how to “unlock” a hidden message without the key, and see how new ciphers were designed to address the exploits discovered in previous ciphers. Students will explore early pencil-and-paper ciphers, learn the secrets and weaknesses of the German Enigma machine, and get a glimpse at how data is encrypted today. Throughout the course, we will also explore select mathematical topics that connect with the ciphers we will be examining. The course will culminate with students presenting a self-designed cipher at the Exhibition of Learning.
Are you interested in entrepreneurship? Have you ever had an idea for a product or service that made you think, "Why doesn't this already exist?" This Spring Intensive course will guide you through the process of developing an innovative concept. You will learn from experienced entrepreneurs about new product development and how to implement a marketing approach that focuses on the five “Ps”—product, price, promotion, place, and people. You will examine how advertising and PR can help generate interest behind your product or service by looking at how companies use media and branding. This course will meet you where you are in your entrepreneurial awareness and connect you with people and ideas that advance your learning. Your deliverable is whatever you imagine it to be—perhaps you will develop a new product, generate an innovative idea, or make a connection that leads to a future internship. Maybe after college, we will see you on Shark Tank!
Do you find city life thrilling? Intimidating? A little of both? Do you love history, music, and the arts? If so, this course is for you. We will focus on the question of why New York City—which, in the years between the late 1960s and the mid-1980s, was struggling with the decline of industry and the phenomenon of suburban "white flight"—became the center of a remarkable outpouring of creativity in music, performance, and the visual arts. Was there something about New York that was uniquely supportive of artistic creativity at this particular moment? This course will be interdisciplinary in nature, and much of it will take place off-campus, in various locations in New York City (e.g., galleries, museums, neighborhoods, bus tours, and musical performances). On these trips, students will observe, experience, and discuss what, exactly, makes this urban area unique, and how and why the city has changed in the decades since the 70s. We will travel together by bus and return in time for co-curricular activities, including athletics. The students will keep journals, participate in discussions, watch and critique films, listen to and analyze music, delve into the visual arts, and complete a final project that they will design in consultation with us.
We’re Pingry. We’re smart people. Because of this, the world assumes we’re nerdy. (And they’re not necessarily wrong…) But do you know what else we are? Really fun. This course is an opportunity to flip the script and show the Reel Pingry and work with a professional film crew (The Film Guys). Check out a portfolio of their work here.
What will we do? This course will introduce you to the film industry through the hands-on creation of a three-minute video. Students (possibly you!) will utilize comedy as a crucial storytelling tool. This experience will be a crash-course in how the industry operates as well as the fields of marketing and communications. You will have a chance to dabble in story-boarding, script-writing, directing, acting, musical-score selection, and editing.
Let’s dig deep, be authentic, be ourselves—showcase dimensions of Pingry excellence that are unexpected and uplifting—and make something that is truly (finally!) representative of who we are. We can’t promise that the final product will be perfect—but it will be perfectly Pingry. And we’ll have a lot of laughs along the way.
Do you know where your food actually comes from? When, where, and how were your favorite meals created? How was your food grown and produced? If these questions intrigue you, come take a journey with us exploring the influence of farming, sustainability, and culture on what you eat. We will visit local farms, talk with chefs, go shopping for foods and spices from international markets, and cook dishes from around the world. By the end of the course, you will have designed and cooked a three-course meal of your choice and created a roadmap showcasing how your meal made the trip from farm to table. Additionally, you will come to understand the environmental, ethical, and cultural implications involved in the journey of food. Let’s cook!
The connection between art, healing and health has long been appreciated in a wide variety of cultural contexts. Music may match our mood or may express emotions that words cannot truly capture. Movement expressed through dance may tell a story that needs telling and a child may heal from traumatic loss or conflict by therapist-guided painting or sand play better than with talk therapy. Studies focusing on the impact of music on cancer patients have found that music promotes a reduction of pain, increased immunity and a sense of wellness. Case studies have shown that some ill patients are able to recreate their life identity through artistic representation in a way that gives shape to it and supports positive feelings towards a better future.
This spring intensive will ask the question: “Can Art Heal?” and will explore a variety of studies, experiences and outcomes from reports about the relationship of art and healing from around the world. Participants will gain a basic understanding of what happens in the body and brain after Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), wartime trauma, and other psychological challenges and will then develop an understanding of the healing power of art in various settings. Reading case studies that highlight the relationship between art and healing and learning from visits from practitioners of various art therapies and will help participants design a culminating art activity that will be shared in a way that the group finds powerful, possible and related to the spring intensive research.
In Binging Blaq, students will spend the nine days of Spring intensives, dividing their time between watching and making TV. Our class will first examine and then attempt to subvert stereotypes and tropes dominant in television and movies either directed by or targeted towards black folk. Early in the session, we will dissect and analyze the tropes present in shows like A Different World, Grownish, Martin, My Wife and Kids, Living Single, Girlfriends, Moesha, Family Matters, Blackish, The Fresh Prince, Abbott Elementary and so many more!
During the second part of the course, students will create their own masterpiece. While the course material will initially be taught through the lens of Black American TV, during the second half of the course, students are encouraged to investigate how the media portrays any character(s) with whom they identify. This could mean analyzing the Transgender experience in Degrassi: The Next Generation, or how Jane the Virgin discusses the nuances of Latinidad. In groups, students will then re-write, act in, film, and edit their own version of TV shows in which they attempt to portray complex characters that dismantle and/or deepen stereotypes. This course may include trips to, and/or visits from professors of Media and Culture studies. By the end of the course, students will have pride in the fact they are both readers and creators of culture.
Thirty thousand years ago, prehistoric people walked into the deepest corners of the Chauvet Cave complex in southern France to craft some of the most beautiful works of art ever made. What drew the artists there? What was the purpose of painting hundreds of life-like animals on the walls of this cold, dark, subterranean labyrinth? This interdisciplinary course will explore the interactions between humans and landscapes, especially of the unexpected variety — deserts, urban ruins, and, yes, the darkest of caves. Students will examine place-based literature, visual art, film, podcasts, and public records in an effort to better understand how people find and create meaning in place. In an era of urban sprawl, eco-angst, and nature deficit disorder, this course will ask students to experience nostalgia, awe, and transcendental zen. They will also be asked to imagine the possibilities for our landscape as climate change demands creative vision for the future. Students will explore the immediate landscape surrounding Pingry and take at least two off-site trips to explore the relationship between humans and landscapes (Great Swamp and/or the Pine Barrens and the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx). Texts will include excerpts from Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places, The Way to Rainy Mountain, Underland, and Trace, the poem “Mont Blanc” by Percy Shelley, the films Cave of Forgotten Dreams and Decade of Fire, and episodes of This American Life and Radiolab. The course throughline will be a presentation, piece of writing, or work or art exploring multiple dimensions of a place that students will present on the last day of class.