Nearly 90 fifth graders at Tollgate Elementary recently celebrated the completion of their first "expedition," a study unit in the school's new Expeditionary Learning curriculum.
Tollgate's three fifth-grade classes have been immersed in the study of beaver ecosystems since September. Students faced the challenge of researching, learning scientific vocabulary, keeping notebooks and writing non-fiction texts. They also conducted a three-day field study of the beaver ecosystem in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The multidisciplinary approach included learning targets for science and literacy. Students also made extensive use of technology to conduct research, take photos and video footage, and create field guide pages on individual topics. As a final product of their study, students created a Field Guide to Beaver Ecosystems for the Rocky Mountain National Park Ranger Station.
After completing the unit, students shared a multimedia presentation and displays with parents, students and staff members.
"I really liked the field study because it was a very different way of learning. You got to experience what it is like to be a scientist."
-Matthew, Tollgate Elementary 5th Grade Student