Action — that’s what all of history’s great thinkers, artists, achievers, and innovators have in common. They took action, stepping (sometimes literally) into the unknown.
For three weeks each May, Hun Upper School students — freshmen, sophomores, and juniors — participate in a ground-breaking immersion learning experience designed to offer deep exploration of real-world topics. NextTerm courses are project-based, credited courses that fall outside the constraints of traditional disciplines. They are team-taught, informed by a variety of environments and real-world practitioners, and utilize resources both on and off campus. Student teams then produce a culminating project that is shared with professional advisors, parents, and faculty during the NextTerm project exhibition event.
What is perhaps most unique about NextTerm is the opportunity Hun students have to examine some of the more pressing topics of our time from multiple angles. They are afforded the time and the resources to follow the information and their budding interest wherever it takes them. The result is empowering, invigorating, and transformative.
Different than traditional travel programs that focus primarily on culture, NextTerm courses explore a specific topic or issue, in the environment RELEVANT TO THAT TOPIC.
The freshman experience
Ninth grade students explore a common theme through a variety of disciplines. Groups focus on a different element of each theme. For instance, if the annual theme is climate change, groups may explore climate change through the lens of education, agriculture, architecture, history, government, or business. The groups meet with experts in their respective areas, gather as much information as they can, and then collaborate on a documentary-style video to share their expertise.
exploring Climate change through agriculture
Students in the freshman Agriculture class are exploring how sustainable farming practices are both good for business and good for the environment. A trip to a local organic farm and subsequent interviews with the farmers there gave them plenty of ideas for their culminating video project.
sophomores and juniors
Sophomores and juniors choose their own three-week adventure from a menu of eighteen courses. Courses are team-taught, take place in locations near and far to Hun, and are influenced by experts on the ground. For example, students may study sustainability in the National Parks; women and politics in Washington, D.C.; native American life in Montana; immigration at the Mexico-Arizona border; civil rights ideas and action in Memphis; the psychology and physics of thrill rides at various theme parks; and food insecurity in Trenton, New Jersey. Courses vary year-to-year.
Castles made of sand: Ghana
Students in this NextTerm course study the historical significance of the transatlantic slave trade as it relates to both West Africa and America. Using Ghana as a case study, students see firsthand how governmental instability and external global forces can impact the economic, social, and environmental development of a country, while developing a deeper understanding of their own personal identity. Prior to departure, they work with faculty (including a Ghanaian professor from Princeton University) to explore Ghanaian culture and history.
migration and identity
Students in this course travel to the U.S.-Mexican border to investigate how migration informs and shapes American identity in this dynamic and highly globalized world. While there are prior to departure, they work with people on both sides of the debate – border patrol agents, ranchers, local officials, and immigrants – to learn about the complexity of the issue.
Motivated to Learn
“We need something different—something beyond management, whatever the next iteration is. We need leaders, both in organizations and in schools, who create an atmosphere in which people have a sufficient degree of freedom; can move toward mastery on something that matters; and know why they're doing something, not just how to do it.”
Daniel Pink, Best-selling Author and Educator