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A Look Back at UPrep's Winter Intensives
  • Intensives

Intensives give UPrep students the opportunity to focus on one course for three weeks, resulting in deep engagement and discovery.

A Look Back at UPrep's Winter Intensives
UPrep students took one class for three weeks in January.

During the intensive period in January, UPrep students took one class every day for three weeks. Learning like this happens twice per year at UPrep and helps our students attain the knowledge, skills, and thinking dispositions needed to lead a life of learning in our rapidly changing world.  

"This January, our students engaged in immersive, project-based learning experiences that went beyond the traditional classroom environment. They dove deeper into specific topics or areas of interest, collaborated with their peers, and gained hands-on experience through various activities and experiments." –Assistant Head of School for Academics Ed Billingslea

Intensives cover a wide range of subjects and disciplines, allowing UPrep’s students to explore their passions and curiosities. This winter’s intensives included:

Algebra II Lifetime Activities
Art History and Studio Practice Literary Nonfiction Writing
9th Grade Health Marimba Band: Music and Culture
Ceramic Arts Math in Art, Technology, and History
Chinese A Outdoor Leadership: Snow School
Choreography Painting
Civics Project Science
Engineering I Robotics Programming
Entrepreneurship Spanish Ignition 
Film Photography  Teaching Science
Global Link: Alabama The Graphic Novel
Global Link: New Mexico Turning Pages: Book Arts
Introduction to Statistics Winter Stock
Journalism Yes And... Improv
Le Petit Atelier Français  

The flexibility that the intensive period encourages brought our students on over 100 field trips, from the Burke Museum and Boeing to Mt. Baker and Montgomery, Alabama. These real-world experiences provided students with opportunities to explore and apply concepts in a more meaningful way.

M.A.T.H. students pose with a painting at the Seattle Art Museum
UPrep Civics students pose for a photo with Washington Governor Jay Inslee.






Left to right: (1) M.A.T.H. students searched for math in works of art at the Seattle Art Museum. (2) Civics students met Governor Jay Inslee following his State of the State Address in Olympia. 

In the intensive course Turning Pages: Book Arts, students explored the history of the book and its changing role from storehouse of knowledge to sculptural artwork through museum visits, films, and lots of bookmaking!

"Our focus on historical models from around the world gave students a deep sense of the importance of the book as a vehicle for art, learning, and change.” –UPrep Librarian and Book Arts intensive teacher Anne Bingham

After learning about historical bindings and decorative techniques, the Book Arts intensive created a collection of books for a book swap. Each student ended up with a beautiful library of accordion, lotus flower, one-page, hard cover, tunnel, pop-up, and explosion fold books. “It was a fun closure to the intensive,” Anne shared.

In the Marimba Band: Music and Culture intensive, students learned to play marimbas and explored how to be a contributing member of a music ensemble. Along with daily practice sessions, students discovered how to build, tune, and maintain the instruments, and learned about their cultural history and deep connections to the Pacific Northwest.

Marimba intensive students met a master marimba builder.
The Marimba intensive 2024






Left to right: (1) The class traveled to Bellingham to meet marimba builder Tom Bourne and pick up UPrep's newest instrument. Tom taught our students how to do the final tuning and oiling of the bars. (2) The class poses proudly with their newest marimba after bringing it home to UPrep's campus.

"One thing I will always remember about this intensive is seeing the world’s largest marimba bar. It looked about eight feet tall! It was very cool to experience." –12th grade student Harrison F.

During the intensive, many of our 11th and 12th graders completed their required LaunchPad projects. These students spent the three week period working on experiences of their own design that spoke to their personal passions or professional, vocational, or academic curiosities. The topics were as varied as our students' interests, from immunology to wildlife photography. Each LaunchPad student was paired with a mentor who works in their field of interest, and we were thrilled that many of these mentors were UPrep alumni. Read more about two students’ experiences partnering with alumni mentors. 

“Winter intensives gave students the opportunity to put all their energy into one course. Similarly, teachers put all their energy into one class. It was an amazing opportunity to focus!” said Director of Middle School Brian Johnson.

Get a closer look at winter intensives in action with this Reel shared on UPrep's Instagram.


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