ISM’s Spring 2017 reading night took on the theme of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Students were sorted into the four houses of Hogwarts and, after dinner and a Quidditch tournament, took a “History of Magic” class and a “Potions” seminar that prepared them for the evening’s main event: to create their very own Philosopher’s Stone.
In our version of Hogwarts, Nicholas Flamel (the alchemist character from the first Harry Potter book) left clues all over the school that detailed how he created the Philosopher’s Stone…but to make sure that only the most worthy wizards could follow in his footsteps, he encoded them with a series of ciphers and mystical languages. In our “History of Magic” class, students were introduced to these “languages” as well as basic ciphers in order to prepare them for their quest. After finding the initial clue hidden behind a painting of Flamel in their house common rooms, students spent the better part of the night (roughly 5 hours) decoding messages and searching for clues.
Students capped the evening by collecting and combining their ingredients in the student kitchen (we followed an old “Milk Stone” recipe). The next morning, 19 very tired students and 5 utterly exhausted teachers left the school with enormous smiles on their faces.
Breanna called the evening, “enticing, magical, great.”
Morgan said it was, “adventurous, challenging, and enjoyable.”
Michael’s favorite part was the main quest, adding that it was “magical and mesmerizing.”
Angi reported that she loved “finding each ingredient for the quest” and that she “learned a lot about decoding ciphers.”
Berke said it was, “Fun, crazy, amazing.”
Seung Bin gave it a 10 out of 10, saying, “I don’t know what could have been done better.”