Cake decorating and design. Charleston and Southern culture. Glass blowing. Music recording. App development. Hickory Nut Gap Farm. To name a few….

Our Intersessions give students a chance to try things out and learn new skills. Twice per year, we leave our classrooms for a week and journey near (sometimes in our own backyard or kitchen) and far (sometimes to the beach, the mountains, or another state) in search of new experiences and the opportunity to develop and explore passions. Students look forward to Intersessions not just because they require a break in academics but because Intersessions give them a chance to discover interests they never knew they had and to interact with one another in new and different ways. Many of our students have developed intense interests through their Intersession experiences and continue to pursue these interests beyond our classrooms and school.

A Video Premiere from one of our Intersessions

Past Intersession Offerings:

John Dancy-Jones

Students were joined local artist and retired teacher, John Dancy-Jones, for a fun-filled week of paper and book making. Participants practiced papermaking techniques and applied those to making white and colored sheets, a multi-pulp “masterpiece,” and journals. As well, they learned about “penny dreadfuls” (London street literature) and mini-comics and worked with calligraphy and rubber-stamping. This Intersession combined art, history, science, and writing…and spitballs!

The New Games of Life

What can we learn from board games? In some cases, games seem to reflect the culture of the time. Take Monopoly or LIFE, for example, both popularized during times of economic growth and prosperity in the United States. These days there is an increasing emphasis on sustainability and efficient use of resources and time. Problem solving, making appropriate choices, collaboration, and compromise are all integral parts of our everyday lives. A new genre of board games like Bohnanza, Agricola, Puerto Rico, and The Settlers of Catan demands that players make informed decisions to acquire resources and use those resources to ensure a healthy and prosperous livelihood. These are not games based on luck or the roll of the dice. Rather, they are games based on choices and decisions that will result in consequences, good or bad. These fascinating board games teach players to think carefully, weigh options, and in turn, deal with the ramifications of their actions. During this intersession, students were introduced to 4 or 5 of these games and explored how they translate to a real-world sustainable lifestyle. They used the mornings to play and improve critical thinking strategies and the afternoons  developing an original game that reflects these values. Throughout, students honed good problem solving and communication skills while exploring the concept of sustainable living.

Kitchen Nightmares

The Kitchen Nightmares Intersession is composed of a variety of food-related adventures at the Middle School and in the surrounding area. Students donned a chef’s hat and apron and learned what it takes to plan, shop for, and cook a three-course meal from scratch for a large group. Students learned about the cultural significance of the world’s cuisines while recognizing the importance of making food and meals a part of a healthy lifestyle. They engaged in cooking and tasting competitions on our journey to find out what flavor combinations are the most successful. We also visited La Farm Bakery in Cary to learn first hand how to bake bread like the pros.

Community Service Intersession

This Intersession offered a variety of service opportunities over the course of a 4-day period in the Triangle area and on our own Lead Mine Campus. The students volunteered at The Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill as well other service locations such as the Food Bank, Scrap Exchange, and Springmoor Retirement Community. The group also helped at the Lead Mine Campus on the Stop Hunger Now project and the school-wide scholastic book drive and helping/teaching in the UE classrooms. The expectation is that the students would see and experience the value and impact of service and make a life-long commitment to service.

Song to Stage

For the “Song to Stage” Intersession, student worked with international musician Charles Pettee. Charles is a professional guitarist, singer, and mandolin player who has played over 5000 shows throughout the world! He worked with students on songwriting and developing vocal technique, including vocal harmonies. The Intersession culminated in a performance on the Lead Mine campus when we joined Charles on stage for two to three songs.

Outer Banks

North Carolina’s Outer Banks is rich in natural and man-made history. Students in this Intersession  explored Currituck Heritage Park, the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Fort Raleigh, and the NC Aquarium. Alongside an academic study of the principles of flight with our paper airplanes and kites, they explored the flora and fauna of the area on our hikes and expeditions. The students experienced first hand the changes that man and nature have brought to the OBX.

Memories on Display

Using a variety of materials and scrapbooking techniques, students in this Intersession chose a creative way to display their favorite photos. They explored photo themes, graphic design, artistic layout, and photo journaling. “Beginning with the end in mind,” the hands-on journey focused on visual communication and presentation. The goal was for each student to arrive with a stack of photos and return home with an original photo keepsake. The Intersession encouraged a positive attitude, a creative spirit, and a love of scrapbooking.

Hickory Nut Gap Farm

Hickory Nut Gap Farm Intersession Fall 2011

Students who participated in this Intersession experienced Montessori’s Erdkinder first hand. Hickory Nut Gap Farm is a working, family-owned and operated farm in Western North Carolina that focuses on healthy living for both livestock and people. Students were immersed in the life of the farm as they care for livestock and learn about where the food they eat originates. As well, the students read selections from The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat (Young Readers Edition) by Michael Pollan, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and other texts and will discuss these readings in daily discussions. This Intersession allowed students to develop a real appreciation for the food they eat, to explore the importance of caring for themselves and their environment, and to examine the role that family farms play in our nation’s “food economy.” Over the course of the four-day trip, students began the day with work on the farm and spent their afternoons working with some of the farm animals. Students were also responsible for preparing and cleaning all of their own meals, and spent evenings participating in discussions and work on the farm as needed.


In this Intersession, students had the opportunity to learn to use a video camera (Flip cam), use film-editing software, and explore and showcase their creativity by creating their own short films. The students began by writing and filming their own original video creations, and then how to use software called Final Cut Pro X to enhance and add life to their movies. Filming was completed around the Middle School campus. This was a great opportunity for students to build on their interests in film and video or to explore something totally new.

Snapshots from past Intersessions: