12th Grade

Expert Thinking

Expert Thinking is knowing how to approach a problem you’ve never seen before, using whatever knowledge you possess.  Every day at Moses Brown, seniors have new opportunities to apply what they know to new problems.  No matter what they encounter, we want them to feel confident improvising, experimenting, and collaborating with others to tackle something new.  And at the end of the year, they do just that as they spend the final weeks of the semester pursuing a rigorous independent project that they will then present to the entire school community.

Whether they’re selecting and preparing songs in the Versatones (MB’s student-run a cappella group), or assembling a cast, crew, and production schedule for the student-run winter play, upper schoolers at Moses Brown will step into roles of leadership that require them to be responsible to themselves and their classmates and bring their best to every project for the good of the team.


In learning to write python code, operating procedures for the Arduino, or refine the design of a VEX robotics droid, they’ll have to apply what they’ve learned and get comfortable improvising into the unknown.  Entrepreneurship classes require them to apply these habits of mind to real business that working professionals depend on, giving kids real-world responsibility for their outcomes.  In successfully addressing these challenges, they learn to believe in their abilities, simultaneously growing their self-confidence and humility.

Expert Thinking encourages students to be curious, open-minded problem-solvers.  Knowledge is to be used, and teachers are coaches to help kids hone their abilities to apply it.  Ultimately, building this habit helps our students understand themselves as agents of change and creativity.  And every step of the way, kids work individually and as part of a team, contributing their talents and celebrating those of their classmates.

Expert Thinking and PBL in Action

What is Expert Thinking, anyway?

Explore Expert Thinking and observe the use of project-based learning within Moses Brown classrooms!


Abigail Isom

STEM Director, Upper School Mathematics, Expert Thinking Tri-Clerk

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Abigail Isom

Hobart & William Smith Colleges – B.A.
Roger Williams University – M.A.

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