Experiential Learning: Adventure Week Brings the World to Aspen Academy Students
Each May, Aspen Academy students have the opportunity to participate in experiential, expeditionary education that blends learnings from the year, from history and science to entrepreneurship and service learning. Below are highlights from the trips for our Middle School Students (grades 5-8), along with an overview of each class' destination!
5th grade goes to Moab for an outdoor adventure! Students participate in hikes, rafting, and sleep under the stars. The trip is connected to their science curriculum, team-building, leadership, and the naturalist experience.
6th Grade goes to Washington, DC. This destination is connected to not only their history curriculum, but also the book choices made in language arts. The trip is the culmination of the history curriculum from 5th and 6th grade and includes trips to the National Mall, Memorials, Smithsonian museums, a baseball game, and a trip to Mt. Vernon.
7th Grade heads to San Francisco. The focus of this trip is to have an entrepreneurial experience with tours of Google and other start-ups. These tours provide inspiration for the 7th graders as they think about starting their 8th grade business plans. There are also connections to language arts, science (observations done on the water and in the Redwood National Forest), and mathematics application as they examine the Golden Gate Bridge.
8th Grade heads to Costa Rica where the students experience a deep-dive into their leadership/service program, examining fair trade and sustainable agriculture. The students spend three days working on a fair trade, sustainable coffee farm which ties in nicely to the cafe that 8th graders had been running for the last year as part of Bear's Student Enterprises. Students showcase their Spanish language skills and the cultural competency knowledge hey have been working on in Global Studies for their 7th and 8th grade years by staying with families in the community. The last two days the students work at an animal sanctuary, go rafting, and relax in natural hot springs.
Expeditionary Learning opportunities are intentionally designed to support a variety of curriculum content and provide students an opportunity to apply, extend, and enrich their learning within the world.
About the Author: Corey Sampson is 7th & 8th Grade Instructor, Social Studies, Social Studies Chair, and Student Leadership & Entrepreneurship Coach at Aspen Academy --- and the incoming Middle School Director for 2019-2020. Corey has been teaching Social Sciences at international and private schools for 13 years. Before teaching he was involved with a variety of nonprofits working on social and political issues. He loves teaching at Aspen because of the community. The families, the students, and the teachers here make this school unlike any other school he has taught at. Corey loves to travel with his wife and experience the world. He has been to 6 continents and has lived and worked in 4 of them. So if anyone has a trip planned to Antarctica, let him know.