Maple Sugar Unit
Students immerse themselves into a three-month maple sugaring unit, during which they identify sugar maple trees, drill holes, and await an accumulation of sap for boiling.
Taking it a step further, students elevate their learning through a weeklong unit, during which they pick one aspect of maple sugaring for further exploration. Devoting time to their projects when they would typically attend other classes, the students gather into specialty groups where they design projects that allow them to showcase knowledge of their chosen topics.
In recent years, students designed sugar shacks with the goal of improving the process. They learned principles of timber frame construction, wrote proposals for the design, made digital 3D models in SketchUp, and built a scale model of their creations.
The culmination of the unit was for students to present their designs to the community. Student architects welcomed parents, faculty, and staff to the Sugar Shack Design Symposium, where guests were treated to pancakes, maple syrup samples, and the opportunity to view models. The top models were presented to a panel of architects to help choose a winning design. This year's eighth graders will continue their work by reaching beyond Berwick community to write grants and seek funding to build the winning design.