On Wednesday morning, students enrolled in Professor Woolsworth’s upper-division Medieval Studies class gathered in a small room in the HSSB, seating themselves around a wide basin full of damp sand. The professor then filled an oddly shaped pale and place it upside down. The class gasped as he lifted it to reveal a miniature replica of a medieval castle.
Students will spend the first half of the course on theory, reading medieval treatises on proper bucket lift as well as examining contemporary patting models. The second half of the quarter will focus on practice, with students meeting for a total of four hours a week at the beach. “I can’t wait to get out there and try it,” says third year Abigail Jefferson, “but I know it’s important to understand the physics of sand shift and twig allocation before you just leap in.”
“I’m already thinking about putting little crab legs around mine,” added Jefferson, “It’s grittier that way.”
Students have also expressed anxiety over the size of the battlements they will be patterning for their midterm, realizing the technique and precision it will require to stay within the three bucket limit.
The class will culminate in a final exam: a full day at the beach, wherein each student must design, build, and fortify a castle before making war on the other members of the class. Professor Woolsworth says, “I’m planning a surprise for the students partway through. I can’t say too much now, but I will let slip this; sand plague!”
“I’m really glad they’ve made this part of our curriculum,” says second year Neil Fredrick, “So many of the other majors include practical skill courses, and now we finally have one too!”
- Professor Woolsworth’s example of a grade A sand castle.