Learning Ahead: May 4th-8th, 2015

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

This week we are featuring 10 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

Monday, May 4, 1:30pm & 7pm – SOCIAL STUDIES/FILM: Older students and adults interested in film can attend a screening of Timbuktu (2014; rated PG-13) at the Berkshire Museum‘s Little Cinema! The film was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award in 2015. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. ($)

Friday, May 8, 7:30pm – PSYCHOLOGY/MAGIC: The Spectrum Playhouse presents “Clearly Invisible: Magic Up Close with Carl Seiger” on May 8 and 9. Seiger’s new show features amazing sleight-of-hand magic and other tricks. Best for ages 16 and up. Tickets available in advance. 413-394-5023. 20 Franklin Street. Lee, MA. ($$)

Franklin County

Friday, May 8, 6pm-1am – ART/LIGHT & AUDIO: Valley Lux Festival takes place May 8 and 9 at the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club. Valley Lux is a festival of lighting, art, projection, soundscape, sculpture, and music, and all are welcome to attend and enjoy the festivities and experience art in the context of light and sound. A full schedule can be found on the Valley Lux Facebook page. 210 Turners Falls Road. Montague, MA. ($$)

Hampshire County

Monday, May 4, 7pm – ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY/NEUROANATOMY: Nerd Nite Noho presents Nerd Nite 17 at Eastworks! Hear talks on the neuroanatomy behind the senses and how illusions can be used to trick the brain. Ph.D. candidate Kristina Curro will present a talk on neuroanatomy, reality, and perception, and Joshua Yearsley will present a talk on games and how some are redefining the medium and helping us connect with others, foster new perspectives, and become better people. This event is ages 21+. 116 Pleasant Street. Easthampton, MA. (>$)

Thursday, May 7, 5pm-7:45pm – TAROT/LANGUAGE ARTS: Students can learn about poetry and tarot at this month’s Art Walk Amherst. The Emily Dickinson Museum will be offering Emily Dickinson-themed tarot card readings at The Evergreens (280 Main Street, Amherst, MA) on Thursday, May 7 from 5pm-7:45pm. Poet Dara Wier created a special Emily Dickinson-themed tarot deck, and she will present on the deck, along with illustrator Halie Theoharides, who illustrated some of the cards, at 6:30pm. During the talk, they will discuss the inspiration for the cards and illustrations. For students who are already familiar with tarot, this is an opportunity to get a reading with a unique set of cards, which are based on Dickinson’s poems and life, and this would also be a great introduction for those who want to learn more about tarot. Those who are fans of Dickinson’s work will enjoy seeing the cards and their illustrations! This is just one of many free events happening in Amherst on May 7 as part of the Art Walk. Call the Emily Dickinson Museum at 413-542-8161 for more information.

Thursday, May 7, 6:30pm-7:30pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE/BIKING: Join The Trustees of Reservations for mountain biking at Mount Warner! Mountain bikers of all abilities can attend this fun event, which gives riders a chance to explore this new reservation by bike. 413-532-1631 x10. Mount Warner Road. North Hadley, MA. (>$)

Friday, May 8, ALL DAY – ZOOLOGY & ECOLOGY: The Hitchcock Center for the Environment’s 16th Annual Biothon takes place May 1-3! Gather in teams and work for 24 hours to identify and count species. The goal of the Biothon is to document biodiversity, learn new species, and raise money for the Hitchcock Center. Call for more information and to register. 413-256-6006. 525 South Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FUNDRAISER)

Hampden County

Monday, May 4, 6pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/IMMIGRATION: The Wistariahurst Museum’s spring lecture series, “Immigrant Communities in the Pioneer Valley,” continues on May 4 with a presentation by Elizabeth Wood, who will present, “Meet Miss Anne Harding, French-Canadian Boarding House Operator.” 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, May 4, 6:30pm – THEATER/LITERATURE: The National Players will perform their stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird at Holyoke High School on May 4. Fans of the book will enjoy seeing the story performed live by this renowned theater company. Tickets available in advance. 413-540-0200. 500 Beech Street. Holyoke, MA. ($)

Thursday, May 7, 12:15pm – U.S. HISTORY: This week’s Museums a la Carte lecture at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts is, “Meet John Adams: A Lively and Revolutionary Conversation with America’s Second President,” with George Baker. “John Adams” will discuss his life and times in the lively performance. Best for students interested in U.S. history. 800-625-7738. 21 Edwards Street. Springfield, MA. (>$)

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