Adventures in learning

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IMG_0889AIn 2013, teachers at Pagosa Springs Middle School got together and collaborated on creating an “adventure day” for the eighth-grade class in Moab, Utah.

Now, two years and three adventures later, the eighth-grade students have recently returned from what science teacher Anita Hinger called the “best Moab trip yet.”

On Oct. 6-9, all of the eighth-grade core teachers and students who had permission embarked on their excursion to Moab, along with numerous support teachers, staff and parent volunteers.

The idea behind adventure-based learning is to inspire students to think critically, learn and communicate in new ways, according to Hinger.

“A solid body of research shows that this kind of adventure-based learning increases positive peer and adult relationships. Students gain confidence as a result of achieving a difficult goal,” Hinger wrote in an email to The SUN.

The students spent four days in Moab engaging in a wide variety of outdoor sports, as well as working together on educational activities.

Hinger assisted the students in using the excursion to perform a scientific investigation of an arid climate.

The students studied vegetation near Moab by taking a population plot study that the students will compare to Reservoir Hill in order to connect the data to what they are learning about climate.

“I really like how we did a field study in Moab and now we are comparing it with our field study at Reservoir Hill,” student Will Villalobos said.

The students also had the opportunity to view a radioactive waste pile left after uranium mining and the potash evaporation ponds located nearby.

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