Each year, sixth grade Humanities classes study the barbarian tribes of Europe. The essential questions for Humanities that we examine all year, are: How do people communicate their ideas and beliefs, and how do cultures interact with their environment? While we study this aspect of our history curriculum, we also read Beowulf, a classic of early Middle Ages literature. Part of what makes the reading of Beowulf so powerful for students is that we attempt to immerse students in what it might have been like to be a part of a Jute or Danish mead hall as we read. This is truly an interdisciplinary study of the time period.
Over the past few years, we have begun to use the Princeton Day School garden to help us make the reading of Beowulf a more interactive experience for students. We create our own Mead Hall, complete with a feast, candles, antlers, and a virtual wood fire.