Study Groups

Voyagers Coop Days typically consist of about 4 hours of small-group activities for Coop Day members -- what we call Study Groups -- and 2 hours of unstructured time. During the unstructured time, we share a meal, chat, make plans for the Coop Day, and play. Study groups are planned collectively by the families attending that Coop Day. Most study groups are led by members of that Coop Day, though families sometimes decide to bring in an outside instructor. Participation in Study Groups is based on interest and ability, not age. 

Study groups change each term. Each term we plan a new set of Study Groups, based on the interests of the members of the Coop Day. While the initial planning process takes place during the prior term, adjustments to the schedule may be made through the beginning of the term, depending on demand.

The study groups planned for Fall 2017 are:


Folk Dance: Get moving with this high energy class. Each week we will build on the skills we have learned during the weeks before to learn different dance forms and patterns from around the world.

Art Exploration: An hour for exploratory art with different themes that will be driven by the interests and abilities of the children who participate. The aim is to provide art expression for all ages (wee ones along with their parents).

Hooping: Kids will make their own hoops and learn how to hula-hoop and use hoops for tricks and games.

Elemental Chemistry: What do you have in common with a chair, the ocean, and ear wax? Chemistry. This semester we'll answer questions like, "Why can't oil and water mix?" and "Can something be still and moving at the same time?" We will explore hands-on experiments such as splitting water molecules and turning on a light bulb without flipping a switch.

Beethoven Meets Shakespeare--A Blend of Music and Theater Appreciation: In this fun interactive study group, we will explore the discipline of theatre arts along with listening to accompanying music. We will begin the session with theatre games and skill practice. As the session continues, a play production with be chosen and cast by the instructor. Students will then practice and stage the production for a final class performance. 

Games and Build

Story Hour: Do your children want to make crafts that remind them of their favorite book? Do they like listening to really good stories? Then this group is exactly what your kids need! Story hour has only two requirements- having fun and liking story books! 

Writers' Workshop--Writing Optional: A fun interactive study group in which we will explore elements of storytelling and writing. We will also take a look at different genres, including newspaper writing, journal writing, and cooperative writing. 

Mayan, Incan and Aztec Studies: We will study the culture and history of the Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilization over the course of the term. Including examination of their society, myths, art. 


Latin II: This group will study Ecce Romani 2. This is a group tutorial and substantial work outside group time is required. You can expect to do 4-5 hours per week at home.

An Introduction to American History: An introduction to American history from 1800-1900. This class will focus on key historical moments and people during this 100 year time period. While the first two weeks of each month will be focused on instruction and discussion, the other two weeks will be student-led biography presentations. 

Table Top Games: Game time for the younger crowd, focusing on simple games, both competitive and cooperative. Working on turn taking and winning and losing graciously.

American Sign Language: Beginning American Sign Language class will focus on fingerspelling, beginning communication signs, vocabulary building, sentence structure, discussion of the Deaf community, and discussion of how ASL is uniquely different than English.

D&D: Dungeons and dragons is a tabletop fantasy role-playing game that takes place in medieval times. You will create a character, go on quests with other player characters, battle monsters, solve problems, gain experiences to level up, become more powerful and have a good time.

Yoga Tales: An introductory, active class focused on instructing younger children in basic yoga poses followed by related story time. For example, one week may focus on animal poses, then read short stories such as Aesops Fables, tying together the two.

Data Analytics: Introduction to statistics - using practical examples, we'll learn different ways to organize and present data. Attendees will understand the concepts of probability, sampling, estimation and other basics of statistics. The study group will open the beauty of the problem-solving process by answering questions with data (also known as statistics!).

Budgeting for Life: Are you interested in your money? We want to talk about sources of income, understanding a paystub, having a bank account, expenses, reading a credit report and making a budget. We will use a variety of different approaches including having an imaginary company, renting our first apartment and saving for a big trip.

Black Death: Black Death is based on the plague that devastated Europe in the mid-fourteenth century. The students have been called as Elders of the People to an emergency meeting to decide what the townspeople should do using only logic and the information available at the time.

Circle Time/Story Time for Littles: Read aloud, circle time games and sharing of interests, toys and fun things.

Destination Imagination: DI challenges brains to work together to think of creative solutions to problems. Can you build a structure that is made of less than 6oz of balsa wood and holds 400+ lbs at least 6 inches off the ground? Do you know how to hand off an egg to a line of 5 people never using the same body part twice? 


Crash Course US Government Flipped Classroom: As we have in the past with Sociology, Psychology, and Economics we are going to use Crash Course as our spine and have FLIPPED CLASSROOM. 

When Everything Changed: The History of American Women Since 1960: This study group is based on a book of the same title by Gail Collins. The book is highly engaging, using the stories of individual women to tell the modern history of American women. When Everything Changed begins in 1960, when most American women had to get their husbands' permission to apply for a credit card. It ends in 2008 with Hillary Clinton's historic presidential campaign. 

Strategy Games: Join us for a combination of cooperative and competitive strategy games! There will be a combination of old favorites that we both have (Pandemic, Boss Monster, etc), and some that may be new to you (Pyramid Arcade, Symetra, Mad Science Foundation). Study group members are also always welcome to bring a favorite to the group. 

World Religion: Interested in learning how Mohammad received Divine inspiration for the Koran or why the Buddha left the opulence of palace life to sit under a tree? In this study group we'll learn the foundational stories, basic beliefs, and practices of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. There will be homework for this study group and participants will have the opportunity to study any religion of their choice in depth.

Starship Artemis: Come play Starship Artemis, a cool star-ship Bridge simulator! You can play Captain, Helm, Science, Communications Officer, Engineering Officer, or Weapons Officer! 

Six Weeks to Better Writing: Do you want to work on essay writing? Fiction? Opinion pieces? Poetry? It's your choice. I'll go over structure, transitions, and frequent writing issues, but we'll also spend time going over individual pieces from every participant who wants feedback, either together or in private, as you prefer. 

Poetry: We will read and discuss poetry and the poetic devices that contribute to making it work. We'll read poems by Shakespeare, John Donne, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Nikki Giovanni, Denise Levertov, and others. We'll talk about meters, metaphors, alliteration, rhyme scheme, and chiasmus. 

Talk About TED Talks: There are TED talks on every subject you can think of from biomechanics, architecture, art, music, engineering, world politics, economics and psychology. Some will make you laugh, or break your heart, or leave you spellbound with amazement. Each week we will pick a topic and watch between 3-5 talks on that subject for discussion the next week. The final project will be to come up with a TED talk discussion of your own and develop a short presentation. 

Ultimate Frisbee: Come play ultimate Frisbee! Ultimate is a soccer-like sport using a frisbee. We play casually, no experience is necessary, although being willing to learn how to throw and catch a frisbee is a plus!

Service Project(s): Let's get together and help others. What we do and how we do it will be up to the group participants. Some ideas might be to help out at the Chelmsford Senior Center, work at a food pantry, volunteer at local libraries, serve meals at a shelter, help with trail or outside work in conjunction with the Field Ecology group, organize community drives; food, clothing, umbrellas. 

New England Field Ecology: New England is blessed by a vast variety of natural habitats, most within 15 minutes of Voyagers, and all within 3 hours! Through afternoon forays into the natural landscape you will learn about the local plants and ecology of ocean coasts, alpine summits, and everything in-between. 

Savage Worlds RPG: A very simple, highly accessible role playing game perfect for people who may not be the most hardcore geeks or just want to try it out for the first time. 

Python Programming: Have you wanted to learn programming, but never had anyone to help you? This is the study group for you! We'll use Python3 and its language-sensitive text editor to learn the basics (data types, slicing and dicing, lists, loops, making decisions, and trouble-shooting bugs) and then try some more advanced topics (tuples, dictionaries, functions), GUIs, and network programming.

Speaker Building and the Science of Sound: This will be an introduction to the science of acoustics and loudspeaker design. We will learn about sound waves and how the environment affects and is affected by them, hearing, the physics of musical instruments, and architectural acoustics, to a level dictated by participants' interest and physics experience. Participants will go home with a custom-built, working pair of speakers, probably with Bluetooth or other wireless capability. 

Mock Trial: Voyagers Mock Trial Team, with the help of a teacher-coach and a volunteer attorney-coach, will study civil and criminal law, rules of evidence, and courtroom trial procedures, as part of the Massachusetts Bar Association's Mock Trial Program. Participants will read material from actual case decisions and statutes; will learn to help prepare the entire case for both the prosecution and the defense; and will assume the roles of attorneys and witnesses in competitions against other teams.

Sculpture: Explore sculptural concepts while creating and critiquing a variety of projects in class. We will use simple tools and easy to manipulate materials to quickly try out different ways to express ideas in three dimensions.

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We are located in the Chelmsford Mills complex at 51 Middlesex Street in North Chelmsford, MA. Our entrance is from the Chelmsford Mills parking lot at the corner of Princeton St. and Gay St. For help finding us, call 978-656-8192.


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