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Lower School Institute

Phillips Academy Summer Session offers its Lower School Institute (LSI) to students who are entering eighth grade, with five unique courses that integrate multiple subjects under the umbrella of a single theme. Charting the Natural World merges biology and math; Express Yourself's students look at the art of self-expression through the lenses of literature, performance, and filmmaking; Revolution! takes an interactive look at two key turning points in American History; Bridges to English is a four-century adventure leading to better English language skills; and CSI: Andover leads students through the study of forensics to investigate and solve a crime. All LSI students go on multiple off-site field trips that relate to their chosen course.

Afternoon sports and special Tuesday and Saturday evening activities allow students plenty of time to interact with their LSI peers. The Princeton Review SSAT Prep Program is also offered to Lower School Institute students for an additional fee.

This summer, Phillips Academy is excited to offer a set of hybrid courses as part of the LSI program, which combine two weeks of on-campus residential experience - in which students are fully integrated into the LSI program and activities – with three weeks of online coursework done at home.

Students who attend as boarders have a residential experience tailored to their younger ago, while students who live close by may choose to attend as day students; please read the Day Student Programs page for more specific information regarding attendance as a day student.

English Language Proficiency

Any student interested in taking the courses Charting the Natural World: Marine Biology Meets Math, CSI Andover: Anatomy of a Crime, Express Yourself: A Study of Literature, Performance, and Film, or Revolution! Continuity and Change In our World, should be fluent in spoken and written English. 

Any student interested in taking the course, Bridges to English: Connecting Our Past and Present, should have an intermediate understanding of spoken and written English. 

None of our LSI courses are designed to accommodate a beginning learner of English.

2017 Institute Descriptions

Bridges to English: Connecting Our Past and Present

New England’s story is rich and distinctive: It was the birthplace of the American Revolution, and today it is home to cutting-edge technology in the bioengineering and computer science industries. The unique approach of Bridges to English offers non-native English speakers a tour of early American history even as they experience hands-on 21st-century media production.

You and your fellow students will follow Boston’s Freedom Trail, where the legendary Boston Massacre etched itself into history, and explore Old Salem Village, home of the chilling Salem witch trials. You also will read and discuss fiction, poetry, and nonfiction works dating from the Colonial period through today. The contemporary media curriculum component will allow you to examine today’s most important topics through your own blogs and video journals.

In five short weeks, you will journey some 300-plus years, improving your written and spoken English skills as you go.


Charting the Natural World: Marine Biology Meets Math

Picture yourself standing in a shallow tide pool of cool ocean water on a warm, sunny day. Hear the rhythmic crashing of the surf in the distance. Feel the sand between your toes, the soft pinch of a crab at your heel. Now, reach into your pocket and pull out your beaker and scoop up a water sample. This is just one of many authentic learning experiences you’ll engage in during your summer at Andover in Charting the Natural World.

In this integrated math and biology institute, you’ll explore and explain the local aquatic environment. You’ll learn methods of gathering and analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and communicating results. Special excursions include a visit to Boston’s New England Aquarium and a trip to local tide pools for a unique opportunity to apply your knowledge of marine organisms and sampling techniques firsthand. Investigate through science. Use the power of math to analyze. Join us in exploring the wonders of the ocean!

Students taking this course should not have taken a full year of Algebra.

CSI Andover: Anatomy of a Crime

A family—away for the weekend—has just been robbed! Neighbors awoke to the sound of shattering glass and called 911. The burglars ransacked the bedroom and heisted a sack of jewelry, but their attempt to break into the safe was foiled: As police burst in the back door, the two masked suspects fled out the front. But wait—it looks like one of the suspects tripped and hit his (or her?) head on a table. There’s blood by the door! Plus, there are glass fragments to examine, fingerprints to check for, and possible footprints or tire tracks to make casts of and identify.

Crime scene investigators, grab your bags and head for Andover! Participate in blood spatter activities, stomach content analysis, toxicology experiments, entomology investigations, forensic anthropology studies, and much more. We will venture on weekly field trips and expand our investigations across Massachusetts in five fascinating weeks of forensic studies.


Express Yourself: A Study of Literature, Performance and Film

There are filmmakers, performance artists, and writers in all of us, and in this institute you will experience some of the many ways that we express ourselves, as human beings and as artists. You will develop skills in close reading, observation, reflection, and communication that will allow you to interpret your life in your own uniquely artistic ways. Beginning with a study of literature, you will consider how human beings tell their stories through dramatic and narrative texts, themes you’ll then apply on stage or through film. In the performance component, you will engage not only in the role of performer, but also as director, designer, choreographer, and critic. You will stage scripted scenes as well as your own compositions. In the film portion of the course, you’ll develop the basic technical skills needed to produce a short video. We’ll supplement this work with visits to Boston theaters, production studios, and museums. Go ahead – express yourself!


Revolution! Continuity and Change in Our World

The themes of continuity and change will guide us as we explore two key turning points in U.S. history—the American Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. In a stimulating and highly interactive classroom setting, you will use your newly developed analytical thinking to examine the history and literature that led to dramatic changes in politics and everyday life in the 18th century. Actual trial documents—some biased, some conflicting—will help you and your classmates re-create on video the events of the Boston Massacre. You’ll also partake in a re-creation of the debate on American independence.

Next, your class will consider the social impact of the Industrial Revolution from the perspectives of the consumers, industrialists, and workers who together made our modern world possible. Fast-forward to 2017 as you draft your own literary response to today’s technological revolution. Two comparative projects will help connect the experiences of the American past with events going on throughout the world today.