Learning Ahead: March 16th-20th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 14 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.

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Berkshire County

Tuesday, March 17, 6pm – FILM/LAW: The Berkshire Athenaeum presents their film series, “Cinema of Law,” this March. The series consists of films on legal topics with commentary by local law professionals. The series continues on March 17 with a screening of Rashomon (1950; not rated) and a talk by the Honorable Joan McMenemy. The film, directed by Akira Kurosawa, is a complex story revolving around a violent crime and the accounts of different witnesses. Best for older teens interested in law. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA.

Thursday, March 19, 12noon – ART STUDIES/AMERICAN ART: Tour the Williams College Museum of Art‘s exhibition, Three Centuries of American Art, with curator Kevin Murphy. Learn about American art by touring this chronological installation. Best for older students and adults interested in art. 413- 15 Lawrence Hall Drive. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)

Thursday, March 19, 6pm – ASTRONOMY: Learn about and explore the night sky at the Lenox Library with amateur astronomer Rick Costello. He will present a lecture titled, “How the Stars Created the Elements,” and participants will then have the opportunity to view the night sky through a 16″ reflecting telescope, which will be used to spot Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and several galaxies. Anyone interested in astronomy will love this program! 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA.

Friday, March 20, 3pm-4:30pm – WRITING: The Berkshire Museum presents, “Think Like an Editor: How to Make a Good Manuscript Great,” a writing workshop that’s part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Writer/editor Robin Catalano will discuss the basics of editing, what professional editors do, and more. Older students interested in writing and editing can learn from this engaging workshop. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Franklin County

Friday, March 20, 9am-11am – ANIMAL HUSBANDRY/SHEEP SHEARING: Are you interested in watching sheep shearing? Stop by Red Gate Farm to see Kevin Ford shear Red Gate’s flock with a blade. This is not an instructional demonstration, but is simply a chance to see a skilled blade sheepshearer at work! Students who want to see how this type of shearing is done can stop by the farm to watch Ford at work. Call ahead to confirm. 413-625-9503. 4 Norman Road. Buckland, MA.

Friday, March 20, 7pm-9pm – LOCAL HISTORY/INDUSTRIALIZATION: The Pioneer Valley Institute presents a talk with Richard Colton of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site and Jim Terapane of the Museum of Our Industrial Heritage titled, “North from the Springfield Armory: The Industrial Corridor from Springfield to Vermont.” The lecture focuses on the role of the Armory in the establishment of a manufacturing region and on the genealogy of regional and Connecticut Valley companies, their connections to the Armory, and the industrial lineage of Franklin County. Takes place in Greenfield Community College’s Sloan Theater. 413-775-1671. 1 College Drive. Greenfield, MA. (FREE)

Hampshire County

Tuesday, March 17, 7pm-9pm – ANIMAL STUDIES/SNAKES: Learn all about snakes with Mass Audubon at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary on March 17. Tom French of Mass Fish and Wildlife will present this talk, which will teach you about Massachusetts’ native snake species, their natural history, their features, and their population status. Best for older students interested in snakes and conservation. Registration is required. 413-584-3009. 127 Combs Road. Easthampton, MA. ($)

Wednesday, March 18, 7pm – THEATER: Amherst Cinema presents a screening of National Theatre Live’s Treasure Island, based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel of the same name. Recommended for ages 10 and up. Tickets available in advance. 413-253-2547. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA. ($$)

Thursday, March 19, 7pm – FILM STUDIES: “Laughing Through Our Tears” is a Charlie Chaplin film series at Eastworks to raise money for the Cancer Connection. Tito Gambarini will present and discuss each film – a great opportunity to introduce students to Chaplin’s films. On March 19, see Modern Times. 116 Pleasant Street, Suite 160. Easthampton, MA. (FREE/DONATIONS ACCEPTED)

Thursday, March 19, 7pm-8pm – LOCAL HISTORY/SPIRITUALISM: The Stone House Museum presents a lecture as part of the Stone House Lecture Series titled, “Talking with the Dead in Massachusetts,” with Rob Cox, head of Special Collections at UMass Amherst. He will discuss Modern Spiritualism in the 1850s, which became the fastest-growing religious movement in the United States. Cox will talk about the history of the religion, its people, and their beliefs at this engaging lecture. 413-323-6573. 20 Maple Street. Belchertown, MA.

Friday, March 20, 6:45am & 6pm – ASTRONOMY/SPRING EQUINOX: Witness the passing of the seasons on the Vernal Equinox at the UMass Sunwheel. You can also learn about solstices and equinoxes, the cause of the seasons and phases of the moon, the story of how the Sunwheel was built, and more. Rocky Hill Road. Amherst, MA. >$

Hampden County

Monday, March 16, 6pm – LOCAL HISTORY/IMMIGRATION: The Wistariahurst Museum’s spring lecture series, “Immigrant Communities in the Pioneer Valley,” continues on March 16 with a talk by Dennis Picard. He will present, “Paddy on the Railway: Irish Laborers and the Building of the Great Western Railroad.” This talk would be great for students who are interested in learning more about local immigrant communities, those who are descended from immigrants to the area, or those want to learn about the immigrant experience in the Pioneer Valley. 413-322-5660. 238 Cabot Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Monday, March 16, 7pm – STEAMPUNK: Join the Agawam Public Library for Steampunk 101 with Sarah Hodge-Wetherbe. “The Intersection of Technology and Romance: Steampunk 101″ focuses on the history and development of steampunk and its influence. Anyone who loves steampunk or who wants to learn more about it would enjoy this talk. Call to register. 413-789-1550 x4. 750 Cooper Street. Agawam, MA.

Thursday, March 19, 4pm – BOOK GROUP: Join the Westfield Athenaeum for a teen book discussion group on Veronica Roth’s Insurgent. Students in grades 6-12 can come to discuss the book and make new friends. This is a great chance for teens to do some outside-of-school reading while interacting with their peers in a discussion group. Please register in advance. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE)


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