With the current health crisis preventing students from returning to schools all across the world, Berkshire, like so many others, has swiftly adapted to a new distance-learning model for the remainder of the year. Below are a few early highlights.
Keeping it Relevant in Advanced Econ
In the fall, Mr. Perkins's Advanced Economics class focused on projects related to the 2008 financial crisis, and they’re using that knowledge now as a benchmark to analyze the pandemic, both in regards to its economic impact and the response from governments and central banks. Jon Zucker P’12, a policy advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, spoke to the class about the state of the economy, how the current climate differs from 2008, and the Fed's response.
The class also tuned in to the annual Sabin Sustainable Venture Prize through the Yale Center for Business and the Environment, the model for Berkshire’s own Sabin Entrepreneurial Prize competition for the best sustainable business idea.
Former Berkshire Sabin Prize judge and local business owner Chris Weld will be another guest speaker in Mr. Perkins’s class this spring. Weld’s company, Sheffield-based Berkshire Mountain Distillers, began producing hand sanitizer in March to meet the high demand. Weld will discuss this strategic pivot and how his business has further adapted to the current climate. You can read more about Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ shift and how they’ve helped fulfill a need in the community here.
Highlighting Concepts in Physics
Mr. Dalton has been shooting teaching videos from his kitchen to illustrate concepts in physics, and they are quickly becoming classics. During the section on sound, he used his famous bagpipe skills to illustrate a lesson on “beats." And in an earlier lesson, Mr. Dalton used simple soda straws to show how the frequency of sound is "related to the length of a resonating column of air ... as length decreases, frequency increases.”
When asked how he’s connecting with students in this new world, he explains, “A highlight for me actually occurs during asynchronous classes and office hours, as I'm able to work with a smaller group of students and there is even more dialog and back-and-forth discussion.” With the newly launched schedule, Mr. Dalton has added lab investigations into the second class meeting of the week. With future topics devoted to light, electricity, and magnetism, we can’t wait to see what he'll be cooking up next!
Online Film Festival Grows out of English Elective
Students in Dr. Hyland’s interdisciplinary English elective, “Contemporary Environmental Literature and Film,” are undertaking an online film festival project, titled Life in the Anthropocene. This NCAA-approved course is in dialogue with the Environmental Humanities, an emerging area of study that Dr. Hyland has taught at colleges and universities. The class emphasizes the rhetoric and argumentation of film, and students prepare for the demands of college-level writing, reading, speaking, and critical thinking by analyzing how films represent debates about wilderness, Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and environmental degradation.
With their film festival project, students will continue their study of these complex issues by researching and curating a collection of recent films. Specifically, this project will allow students to engage and critically analyze the concept of the Anthropocene, a concept that proposes the earth has entered a new geological era as a result of human activity, influence, and industry. Look for the website's debut this May!