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Middle School Challenge Days at PHS

Friday, April 26, 2019

Challenge Days is a unique opportunity for PHS Middle School classes. The 6th-8th grade students participate in a multi-day elective with mixed-grade groups. Students receive a menu of Challenge Days options and choose their preferences for the multi-day experience. A few of the Challenge Days groups for 2019 included: 

  1. Two-Wheeled Adventures! - In this group, students will explore San Francisco by bicycle (up to 30 miles a day). Expect to learn the rules of the road, basic bike maintenance and safety, and how to have tons of fun!

  2. PHS Art Installations - Students who choose to participate in “Art Installations” will work on the following projects: Re-vamp the dragon mural: zentangle (sophisticated doodling) the handball-wall mascot. Tints and shades: Complete a Presidio mural on the stage doors of the theater. Spearhead the Yayoi Kusama project: Polka Dot the interior stairwell. 

  3. Green Businesses of SF - Business minded? Aspiring entrepreneurs who sign up will learn skills to apply in high school, college, or in professional careers. Activities may include: a VIP tour of the greenest businesses in San Francisco, a visit to the “sky island” rooftops on the tallest buildings in the financial district, and a one time opportunity to learn about and explore places (boiler room, circuit board, utility center) in PHS you never knew existed.

  4. Make It -> Play It - Do you like playing music, and making original creations in the Maker Lab? If so, this is the challenge for you! Participants will build their own musical instruments and learn new ‘maker’ skills (like soldering) in the process. Bring your creations to life in Make It -> Play It.

  5. Backpacking - For this challenge, we will be going to Point Reyes for a three-day backpacking trip! We will be hiking through this beautiful national seashore as we carry our own gear, sleep outside (in the open air...no tents!), and cook all of our food. No prior backpacking experience or gear necessary for participation. To successfully participate, students must have a thirst for adventure and be ready to push themselves physically and emotionally, as this overnight challenge will include multiple long day hikes and sleeping under tarps in wilderness (rain or shine).

  6. Diverse San Francisco-how do neighborhoods express culture? - San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods. We’ll explore some of the more well-known, and perhaps some of the lesser-known, to get an understanding of the ways in which our culturally diverse neighborhoods express their customs, values, and achievements. There will be plenty of walking and public transportation to explore architecture, art, food, and the people who make up SF! Potential neighborhood visits: The Mission, Chinatown, the Castro, Fillmore, Japantown, or one that you’d like to suggest!

After three days with their group, students participate in a Challenge Days Community Share during which parents/guardians and students have the chance to roam through middle school classrooms for mini-presentations about students’ experience during Challenge Days. The video below shows a bit of the challenge days experiences from 2019.

{video:https://youtu.be/4YOJrzTH4k4}

Challenge Days is a wonderful cross-grade experience which allows students to learn new skills and connect with their peers and teachers in different ways!