8th Grade

Expert Thinking

Expert Thinking is knowing how to approach a problem you’ve never seen before, using whatever knowledge you possess.  Eighth graders are developing a sense of what they know, and every school day at Moses Brown shows them new ways to apply it.  No matter what they encounter, we want them to feel confident improvising, experimenting, and collaborating with others to tackle something new.

In their StoryCorps unit, eighth graders learn to ask probing questions and give the kind of attention that makes people want to speak candidly, and the technical skills to record these conversations.  They are then charged to turn the lens on themselves, writing and recording a profoundly personal ‘This I Believe’ essay.  In the Baby Project, they get a glimpse of what every new parent learns–none of us are experts.  We’re all winging it and doing the best we can.  They build their ability to improvise and empathy for their parents in equal measure.  And at the end of the year, they work with a team of inventors to design, build, and refine a whimsical Rube Goldberg contraption using their math skills and knowledge of simple machines.  And many students volunteer to be key ambassadors, working with the admissions staff to show new students around their school, taking on the role of mentor for a day.

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.  At 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 & PBL

What is Expert Thinking, anyway?

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


Jonathan Gold

Middle School History, Academic Team Leader, Expert Thinking Tri-Clerk

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Jonathan Gold

Brown University – B.A.
Columbia University – M.A.

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