Friday, 10 June the auditorium at the James Blackstone Memorial Library in Branford transformed into a “living museum”. Middle school students from CT Experiential Learning Center (CELC) shared work in an interactive way, based on months of research and study.

theme day group 2016

Under the broad theme of Exploration and Discovery, students were asked to choose someone who has made a significant impact in the world, in any field of study.   Their choices included Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jane Goodall, Gloria Steinem, Neil Armstrong, David Bushnell, Alan Turing, and Elon Musk. After researching and writing a formal paper about this person, each student was challenged to create a “life-sized” display, depicting in some way an environment to best represent this person’s life and work. Friday’s event had students dressed in costume, sharing from within the display a first-person narrative. The event is always free and open to the public; this time the public was invited to meet and speak with these significant people.

It is incredible to witness students moving from abstract idea stage to the actualization of these projects.  Across MANY days the CELC classroom evolved into a working arena, where students prepared and decorated walls using refrigerator boxes, built models out of cardboard, for The Turtle, the first submarine, and the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. They worked diligently to create informational visuals, such as maps and timelines and artistically considered how to include details in order to bring their displays to life.

Students made progress in a stepwise fashion to achieve desired outcomes.  Experiential learning takes place through the process of trial and error; this often is not the preference of the middle school-aged person, who often wants to get it “right” the first time!  Creative solutions and stick-to-it-ness abounded!

~Click on any image to view a scrollable gallery.


Students worked independently as well as supported one another in the group effort.  This type of dedication is not typical for a middle school experience; the amount of attention to detail, level of focus, and endurance this type of work requires is a depth of learning that is not often achieved in a 45-minute class period!   These students have much to be proud of!

CELC Student Share Day occurs annually at the Blackstone Library. For the 2016-17 academic year, our theme is Ancient to Modern Civilizations. Each student will hand-build an environment to represent a certain civilization and become a person who might have lived during that time. The public is once again invited to attend and experience the exhilaration of this endeavor!

CELC’s 2016 Student Share Day was filmed live by Branford Community Television.  Click here to view!

To find out more about this experience-based middle school, or to sign up for CELC’s mailing list, contact [email protected] or visit us online at

CT Experiential Learning Center (CELC) Middle School of Branford provides an energizing, personalized, and significant middle school experience, where children can flourish during these important and impactful 5th – 8th grade years.