Studying Revolution and Paradigm Shifts in Upper School

Upper School Mural

During their current project cycle, the 9th Grade is exploring the themes of revolution and paradigm shifts. To be able to make sense of the world around them, it is important for our students be aware of the paradigms of thought and ideology that shape the societies we live in. Critical and ethical citizens should be able to appreciate the fact that these paradigms emerged under certain conditions and that they may shift in the future if those conditions change. This project cycle was designed specifically to create such an awareness in our students’ minds.

In their Humanities classes, students have been delving into the historical topics of the Scientific Revolution – focusing on the question of why it happened in early modern Europe, but not to the same extent in the contemporaneous Middle East and China – and the Age of Revolutions – focusing on how political theories of Enlightenment shaped the French Revolution. Concurrently, in STEM, the students have been studying the structural changes and innovations in the history of chemistry over the last few centuries, such as our understanding of molecules, atomic bonding, and the periodic table. Taking this integrated, multi-disciplinary approach has allowed our students to see revolution of thought and ideology in action in a more holistic way.

To complete their 6-week project cycle, the students are turning to art. Specifically, the students will create murals based on the paradigm-shifter of their choice – from scientific innovators to civil rights leaders to anyone who has caused a true watershed in society or in human thought. In preparation for this culminating project, the students have gone on a mural walk of DC to familiarize themselves with the context and range of important murals, they have visited the National Portrait Gallery, and they are being mentored by a local professional muralist who has already helped them complete their concept sketches.

Overall, this is another exciting integrated and experiential learning opportunity with the final product to be showcased permanently on the Whittle campus.  

Upper School MuralUpper School Mural


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