Learning Ahead: Jan 26th-30th, 2015

Weekday community-based educational opportunities can be found throughout the four counties of Western MA all week long!

This week we are featuring 12 community-based educational opportunities that can be selected to support the interests and education of self-directed teens, homeschoolers and life-long learners:

Check our list of Weekly Suggested Events for our comprehensive list, including ongoing learning and play opportunities for younger children and intergenerational community events.



Berkshire County

Monday, January 26, 1:30pm-3pm & 7pm-8:30pm – ART STUDIES: Explore the museums of the Vatican at the Berkshire Museum this January! The museum will screen Vatican Museums, which takes viewers to museums in the Vatican and shows the works of art that have been collected by the Popes over the last five centuries. You can see works by Michelangelo, Raffaello, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Chagall, Dalí, and others. Older students interested in art history will love seeing these works on display on the big screen. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Wednesday, January 28, 10am-1pm – ANIMAL STUDIES: Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for a wildlife tracking hike at a BNRC property in Washington. Search for tracks and sign and learn how to identify them on this three mile hike. 413-499-0596. Middlefield Road. Washington, MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

Tuesday, January 27, 6pm-7:15pm – NATURE STUDIES: Learn how forest management techniques affect wildlife with the Franklin Land Trust, DCR Service Forester Fletcher Clark, and Habitat Biologist Marianne Piche. Learn about steps you can take on your own land to provide and improve habitat for birds and other wildlife. Older students and adults interested in learning more about land management practices in Massachusetts will enjoy this talk. Call to register. 413-625-9151. 5 Mechanic Street. Shelburne Falls, MA.

Wednesday, January 28, 6:30pm-9:30pm – ART/ACTIVISM: Art for a Change is a workshop series at the Art Garden focused on developing creative ideas and addressing issues that we as community members care about. Art for a Change would be a good experience for older students interested in social justice, environmental justice, activism, and being creative. 413-625-2782. 4 Union Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, January 28, 7pm – BIRD STUDIES: Join the Franklin Land Trust for a talk with local bird expert Mara Silver. This is the first in a three-part series on the natural history and conservation status of the Cliff Swallow and the Barn Swallow. Part one deals with how landowners can attract swallows to their land and to conservation areas. Older students interested in wildlife conservation and birds can learn from this informative series. Call to RSVP. 413-625-9151. 5 Mechanic Street. Shelburne Falls, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Monday, January 26, REGISTRATION DEADLINE – POETRY: Poetry Out Loud is a contest that encourages youth to learn about poetry through memorization and recitation. Reading poetry aloud is a great way to build confidence, improve public speaking skills, and learn about literature and poetry. Interested Amherst public school students can go to poetryoutloud.org and choose two poems to memorize, then email levyb@arps.org or marrd@arps.org by January 26 to register for the local Recitation Competition on January 29. Amherst, MA.

Monday, January 26, 6pm – MATHEMATICS: Do you ever wonder what exactly mathematicians do, or how math can be applied to other subjects? Then come to Amherst Brewing Company for this month’s Sci.Tech.Café on January 26 at 6pm. Professor Jessica Sidman will present “Algebraic Geometry: Pure Mathematics with Surprising Applications,” which focuses on pure mathematics and its connections to computer science, machine learning, and other applications. Discover the work being done by mathematicians, how equations can describe shapes, and what exactly algebraic geometry is, and how it can be applied to statistics, robotics, physics, and more. Older students with a love for math can learn a lot from this talk, which is designed for community members without science backgrounds. 10 University Drive. Amherst, MA (FREE)

Friday, January 30, 5:30pm-8:30pm – DANCE: Join the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art for a screening of Kate Geis’ film, Paul Taylor: Creative Domain, on January 30. Older students interested in dance can learn about the famous choreographer’s creative process at this screening. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with director Kate Geis and executive producer Robert Aberlin. Tickets available in advance. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road. Amherst, MA. ($)

Hampden County

Tuesday, January 27, 3pm-4:30pm – ANIMATION/STOP MOTION: Teens are invited to the Chicopee Public Library to take part in a LEGO stop motion project. Come learn about stop motion animation, how to use the Stop Motion Studio app, and create a storyboard for the movie. Call to sign up. 413-594-1800 x120. 449 Front Street. Chicopee, MA. (FREE)

Wednesday, January 28, 7pm – OPEN MIC: Are you looking for a supportive venue to play your music? The Triple Creek Coffeehouse open mic at Harmony Hall is a great place for musicians of all skill levels to perform in front of a supportive audience and gain confidence playing in front of others. Show up early to sign up or just come to listen! 413-289-9295. 2072 Main Street. Three Rivers, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Thursday, January 29,12:15pm – LOCAL HISTORY: Discover the fascinating history of what is now Baystate Medical Center at this week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts – “The Evolution of Baystate Medical Center 1870-Present.” Thomas L. Higgins and Linda S. Baillargeon will present this talk using photographs and stories from the past that are housed in the Springfield Museums. They will trace the hospital back to its origins, when it was Springfield City Hospital in 1870, then Hampden Homeopathic Hospital (1900), Wesson Maternity Hospital (1908), and eventually Baystate, which was incorporated in 1976. This photographic legacy offers an excellent look at how how today’s complex medical centers came to be, and how they grew from preexisting, yet smaller, centers. Higgins and Baillargeon will also speak about the ways hospital care and health professional education have changed over the past 144 years. Those who are interested in local history and healthcare can become immersed in the history of this local hospital at the talk. Call the Springfield Museums at 800-625-7738 for more information. The Springfield Museums are located at 21 Edwards Street in Springfield, MA. (>$)

Friday, January 30, 7pm-8pm – LIVING HISTORY: Storrowton Village presents a First Person Presentation about the murder conviction of Thirza Mansfield in 1824. Mansfield was a member of a prominent New Haven, CT family who was arrested, jailed, and tried for the death of her husband. A costumed reenactor will act the part of Mansfield, who will discuss her life, her speedy conviction, and her time spent in Newgate Prison and Wethersfield. This program is appropriate for adults and older teens. Reservations are encouraged. 413-205-5051. 413-737-2443. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA. (FREE)

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