Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Lessons in the Grand Canyon

As we camp and hike in the Grand Canyon, I started thinking how many personal life experiences would make great classroom lessons. These would be better than using any textbook. My students loved to hear about my trips and exciting things that I have learned on my trip. This helped build rapport with them and really helped my classroom management. Sharing my memories of the trip excited me, and this excitement spilled out to the students. It was no longer a cut and dried lesson because this one involved feelings and real life events. This made me also think about the experiences that other teachers have and how we should be using others as resources for the same reason. I think that would also help with collegiality because you would be developing a better rapport with other teachers. Of course you would need to be a little detective and find out an interesting fact about a colleague (maybe they play an instrument or have an interesting hobby or have traveled to an interesting place) and then you can ask them to talk to your class about this. There are so many ways that standards can fit into this if you look because teachers need to be creative. This is not a new skill for teachers and teachers have been doing this for decades.

As my husband and I traveled, we started to brainstorm topics that could be taught from our trip to the Grand Canyon. Here is the list we came up with (but if you have other suggestions, please give them in a comment so we can all see them.)

1. Erosion
2. Geology
3. Colorado River
4. California Condor
5. Desert Habitat
6. Surviving in the Desert
7. Desert Animals
8. Desert Fauna
9. Navajo Indians
10. Hopi Indians
11. Petroglyphs
12. Pueblo Indians
13. John Powell
14. Fred Harvey
15. Mary Coulter
16. National Park Service


John Martin said...

Hi Pat, sounds like you're having/had a great trip!

My thoughts for things to add:
1. Earth systems science - integration of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, etc. - showing how the parts mesh.
2. Ecosystems - specific to the eco-zones that exist from plateau to river level.
3. Sustainability and Ecotourism impact - how humans impact the area around them and how different cultures approach the subject
4. Clash of cultures

loonyhiker said...

john: Thanks so much for adding those suggestions. These were great!