Middle Schoolers consider social responsibility in virtual minimester

While the fall semester at the Middle School has been run virtually due to the global pandemic, remote learning hasn’t stopped students from actively engaging in the latest minimester challenge: to create a socially-responsible restaurant.

Each year, the Middle School holds several minimesters: short interdisciplinary projects in which students take charge of their learning by pursuing their interests under a unified theme.

“Minimesters are a part of the Middle School’s philosophy,” says Dean of the Middle School Zina Nasser. “They allow students to implement the skills that they’ve learned throughout the whole term, including subject-specific skills, research skills and self-directed learning.”

This year’s theme was selected by the Middle School faculty and brought Grades 7 and 8 together in an integrated virtual experience. In designing their own restaurants, students were tasked with considering four problem areas: economy, social responsibility, menu and vibe. Each of these strands incorporated different subject areas — for example, science teachers discussed proper waste management and developing nutritious menus, while arts and music teachers explored how to create a vibe — or atmosphere — within a restaurant and through brand development.

At the end of each minimester, parents are usually invited to campus to view the results through an exhibition, called a Celebration of Learning. This year, the Celebration of Learning was held online, on a dedicated website. Each Middle Schooler prepared a video presenting their restaurant design and the theme(s) behind it.

“Students were very socially-conscious in their theme choices,” says Nasser. “For example, having the theme of hiring disabled people, or being accessible or the environment and sustainability.”

“I honestly am so proud of the creative requirements of the Minimester,” says Fatima Al-Masri P’25. “I loved the real-life situations that [students] were exposed to and how creative they were.”