Henry Singleton ’19
This past Monday the aptly named class Outdoor Adventure: Nature through Science and Literature ventured north to Washington DC to visit the National Gallery of Art. Saying it is one class is slightly misleading as there is both a environmental science class (taught by Mr. Affronti), and an English class (taught by Mr. Hale) that coexist and often work together, as on this field trip, to form one cohesive course. In Mr. Affronti’s class learns the cold facts of nature, its cycles, and other sundry pieces of knowledge. With Mr. Hale students hone their writing and writing skills both in the classroom on Middle Anderson, and out-and-about in nature.
The trip to the National Gallery was one of a single goal—a very ambitious goal. For the first half of the two hour visit, students were instructed to take in as many landscape paintings (remember we’re studying nature) as possible while not lingering for too long at anyone. The gallery houses pieces from both foreign and domestic artists. Needless to say in a gallery this size, barely the surface of what it had to offer was scratched. After a quick snack in the gallery café (yes, very posh), the students returned for the second hour to complete the second half of their assignment.
After seeing as many pieces as possible, it was time for the real work to begin. For the English aspect, students were to “get inside the painting” and simply write down what comes to mind—sorting it into a coherent piece of writing comes later. Students’ science skills were put to work in analyzing the piece as well in order to speak to any visible environmental science aspects. Similar to the first, this second phase lasted an hour and then it was back to Woodberry, but not without a stop for lunch at Wegmans. In the days following, students debriefed the trip in both their English and science classes and they will be turning in essays and reports post haste.