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BCIL Symposium 2023

The 2022-23 BCIL Symposium highlighted more than 75 unique projects across grades K-12.

Ranging from physical and digital prototypes to scientific research, short films to awareness campaigns, cardboard carnival games, and so much more, the Symposium provided an interactive gallery for the Middle and Upper School communities to celebrate the work of their peers.

An Introduction to the Technology, Economics, & Philosophy of Bitcoin

Students were challenged to think of new applications for Bitcoin that have not yet been considered. To do so, students thought of ways to build on existing infrastructure within the Bitcoin ecosystem to solve real-world issues. First, students identified a topic ranging from a diverse array of human rights to economic or monetary issues. After gathering feedback and data from individuals affected by the issue, students presented cases for how Bitcoin might help alleviate the challenges.

5th Grade Accessible Playgrounds

4th students learned about the challenges the Inca communities faced while trying to farm on their land and mountains in South America. As an attempt to revive their successful technology and Ancient Incan culture, Fourth Graders built Inca Terrace inspired planters. They learned basic woodworking skills, such as using screwdrivers, and will attempt to grow potatoes in their completed project after Spring Break.

DIY Seed Bombs

Planting wildflowers and native plants that attract pollinators can make a significant difference in their survival. A simple and fun method to achieve this is to craft and disperse seed balls – small spheres made of clay, soil, and seeds that can be thrown into any area conducive to flower growth. The Brentwood community is also encouraged to plant some of their own native species. We have been given some Green Dudleya, a Californian Native Species. Native species encourage biodiverse communities to thrive and require resources better suited to the microclimate while attracting native insects.


Students grappled with the abstract task of creating a 3-dimensional solid from a 2-dimensional surface. This was done by choosing the shape of a cross-section of the solid, then creating infinitely many thin slices stacked together end-to-end. To find the volume of the solid, students visualized these solids by being assigned a surface equation and given a cross-sectional shape and a region to create upon. Students took measurements for 17 different cross-sections and input the numbers into the laser cutter to create the pieces. Finally, the pieces were glued together to complete the solids.

Games for Change

Students participated in the national Games for Change challenge, which tasked students with creating educational video games with a social lens. 6th grader Anna K. won first place nationally for her game “Peace for Everyone,” a role-playing simulator that teaches children how to handle familiar conflicts with non-violent communication.

Drawing II and Lab Biology

In an ongoing project, Drawing II students have photographed plant and flower species growing on the Brentwood School campus that they are currently illustrating while students from Lab Biology identified and researched the species. Over time, a collection of illustrations and descriptions will be compiled to create a guide to the campus' flora and fauna.

6th Grade Fundamentals and Science

6th grade students learned design thinking and created submissions to the BCIL Innovation Challenge. Students addressed the challenge of reducing carbon emissions in local areas by improving either: buildings and construction, energy production, energy consumption, transportation, shopping and consumption, or waste management.

7th Grade Probability Carnival

7th grade math students created exciting cardboard carnival games to practice their math and fabrication skills. The games were designed for 2nd graders from Para Los Niños, tested with lower school students, and later available to the rest of the middle and upper school during the Symposium.


The Robotics team showcases their robots and lets their peers operate them for themselves. The Robotics team is open to middle and upper school students and runs from the fall to the spring.

Engineering and Design

  • Students prototyped innovative ways to address challenges faced by communities living or working in confined spaces. Categories include but aren't limited to, sanitation, noise, living space, and storage.
  • Students identified and developed solutions for communities facing challenges related to UN Sustainable Development Goal #6: Clean Water & Sanitation. Students employed materials such as cardboard and 3D printing to make prototypes.

10th Grade English

In English 10, students worked in small groups to reimagine a scene from Macbeth in a contemporary setting. They were specifically asked to brainstorm their ideas on a storyboard and use that to create a short film adaptation. The students had the opportunity to modernize the language and setting of their assigned scene. Groups were given creative freedom to make some changes to the characters and plot as long as they captured the overarching ideas of the original scene. We saw students transport scenes set in a castle in Ireland to South Park, our BWS campus, and even The Bachelor.