Upcoming IC Day aims to shake up traditional learning

Student-made cakes from IC Day 2018 – photo courtesy of Mr. Andrew Poolman

On Wednesday, May 25, all Third, Fourth, and Fifth Formers will partake in Intellectual Curiosity Day. Students received the opportunity to select one of twenty-four activities. IC Day offerings range from visiting one of the largest proprietary trading firms in the world in Susquehanna International Group (“On The Trading Floor”), to exploring a farm and discovering where all of the food you eat comes from (“A Day on a Farm”). 

The day offers a completely different form of learning, one that comes without the need for prerequisites, and experiencing the learning hands-on, a term that upper school mathematics teacher and program leader Mr. Nathan Bridge called “experiential learning.” 

“You’re learning through and by doing the experience,”  Mr. Bridge said. “We’re going to go in, and in the process of having that experience, learning happens.” 

One of the activities from the wide variety of options was “The Sopranos: Masculinity, Crime, and the American Dream.” The late 1990s to early 2000s TV show revolves around Tony Soprano, an Italian-American middle-aged mobster dealing with the expected problems of balancing his criminal and home lives. Although the television series aired over two decades ago, it is currently making a comeback amongst contemporary millennials and teenagers. Students will watch episodes of the series and then engage in discussions about the episodes, their revival, and other guiding ideas. 

“I think there’s a bigger intellectual emotional payoff for a lot of them to use English class skills in the context of a really great TV show like that,” English teacher Ms. Emily Harnett said. 

Another highlight of the day will be “Understanding 9/11: Authentic Experience in NY.” A group of students will travel to New York City to see the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The tragedy changed life for everyone, even though students were not yet born when the attacks took place. 

Intellectual Curiosity day has occurred four or five times, beginning in 2016 from a “small, faculty working committee” according to Spanish teacher Mr. Andrew Poolman, who led the program before Mr. Bridge took over.  It originated through several teachers working to promote interdisciplinary thinking as well as to form connections for the students. 

The experiential learning idea is designed to get students away from quizzes, tests, and note-taking for a day to focus on fun activities that still promote the core Haverford values. As we approach the end of the 2021-2022 school year, anticipation for the summer is higher than ever, and IC Day may keep students engaged in academic study. 

“Experiential learning is essential to boys’ education and transformative for our students, in my opinion,” Mr. Poolman said. “It often frames learning in a different way and breaks up the routine of desks, laptops, and traditional classes.

Author: Casey Williams '24

Casey Williams serves as Senior Managing Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. He previously served as a News Editor where he won two Honorable Mentions for his piece "Community reacts to Kanye West's antisemitic remarks," one from Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and another from PA Press Club's 2023 Contest.