Every morning of every day I think about my trip with great anticipation and longing to get on the water. I look forward to the solitude and the simplicity, waking in the morning near the water, starting the stove for coffee, searching for whatever wildlife will come my way, taking photos, reading, or writing in a journal. Perhaps I have set up my tent facing the river so when I wake up I can lay in my sleeping bag gazing at the river and dream about the day ahead, or the day behind. I have backpacked alone before. I am comfortable in the wilderness.
In three weeks I will have an education degree in social studies and science. So, this morning I’m thinking about how I can make this trek and this degree work together. I glance over at my NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) monthly newspaper I get in the mail. I see a photo of a man on top of a snow-covered mountain. The caption reads, “Minnesota high school science teacher…uses photographs taken during his world travels to stimulate inquiry in his classes.” Sweet! As I read the article, I learn that his photograph introduces a topic, prompts a story, generates student interest, provokes questions to which the students want answers, initiates a real life connection, brings the mountains into his Minnesota classroom, and creates a teachable moment. BINGO! I can do that! My past experiences can provide lots of material. My upcoming trip will create a file full of opportunities.
As an example, on all of his experiences this teacher records basic weather data (temperature, precipitation, cloud coverage, wind speed and direction) which provides a transition into graphing and analyzing data. Great idea! Now I am thinking, hmmm, the ecology aspect of being on the river and the exposure to wildlife and, of course, environmental stewardship are teachable opportunities. And the dams, the many dams, can provide ample high-powered subject matter. How about the geology and geography between Montana and Missouri? And, oooh, the moon phases and constellations? Hey, what about bringing into the classroom the sights and scenery experienced by Lewis and Clark and their crew, and the Native Americans with whom they came in contact? My head is spinning with possibilities!
So much food for thought! If I am not able to have an outdoor classroom, I will strive to bring the outdoor classroom inside.
Yes, I look forward to the solitude, but the simplicity may be more multifaceted than I thought.
If you are reading this, and you have some teachable moment ideas for me to think about on my trip, I encourage you to comment. Thanks!
Live fast ~ paddle slow
I better get back to my homework. 🙂