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Double Periods at the Middle School

By Natalie ’25

In 9th grade, students are introduced to longer classes for English and Biology. Each student will see English and Biology listed back-to-back on their schedule. It’s the same amount of class time as the other subjects, but organized differently. These double periods allow teachers to have lessons that require more time while preparing students for 75 minute classes they will have daily at the upper school. 

During a typical Biology double, we will do a lab or demonstration. Normally the labs take more than 40 minutes and without a double period, we wouldn’t be able to finish. Recently we did a photosynthesis lab where we created algae beads to test how the photosynthesis rate compares to pH level. The introduction and procedure alone took 15 minutes. Then my partner and I made algae beads and put them in vials with a solution that changes color as the pH level fluctuates. In order to see any change, we had to put these vials in direct sunlight and cover them with filters to see if the rate of photosynthesis changed based on receiving a certain color of light, rather than white light. It took over 40 minutes because we had to wait ten minutes after each time we collected data and did this multiple times.  We wouldn’t have had enough time to complete the lab during a regular period. I personally love Biology, especially the labs, so it’s great having these longer periods to thoroughly work through them. 

English doubles are a time for us to have conversations, work on projects, and analyze readings. For example, in my last English double, we annotated a poem and then wrote our own poem inspired by the one we read in class. I wrote about an art piece drawn by Banksy and I was able to finish most of it during class. Without a double, I wouldn’t have been able to do both activities during one class period. I also have English at the end of the day, so it’s become a time where I can focus on the book/poem we’re reading and take the time to process and think about it.

I think double periods are really great for students and provide them with the opportunity to focus on and be thoughtful about the work they’re doing. They also help get used to longer class periods before the transition to the block schedule at the Upper School.  I look forward to both of my doubles each week. 

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Tags: , , , Last modified: November 12, 2021