Welcome to our Rocky Mountain
May 21-23, 2003
Lab School for Creative Learning
Karen Koski's 3rd-4th grade class
Our school in Fort Collins.
First, we unpacked the trucks at Moraine Park campground
in Rocky Mountain National Park. A lot of stuff!
Then we set up the tents.
Our first hike was to the Alluvial Fan where we learned about flash
floods and how they change landscapes.
Afterwards, we went to the Fall River visitors center
and heard a presentation by Ranger Bill. He told us about the Park's history
and a few other ecological highlights.
Ranger Bill let us dress up in old Park Ranger clothes,
and in old Native American clothes.
After visiting the Ranger Station, we came back to camp
and had a lesson on maps and map-reading given by Caroline's dad, Gary.
We learned about the USGS topographical map and compass directions.
The first evening we cooked spaghetti and salad for dinner.
And we ate it! Yum!
As night approached, Sadie's dad, John, gave us a great
lesson on fire building, and Brent, a CSU student, took us on a night hike.
Before our hike, Brent gave us lessons on how to use our senses after
dark. We couldn't see, so we had to listen, smell, and feel our way
around. The stars were amazing, and we heard coyotes and frogs.
The next morning, we cooked pancakes with strawberries
on top for breakfast.
It was kind of cold out, so the syrup poured reeeaaally
After breakfast we saw a dead elk, and learned about
wildlife ecology and predator-prey relationships.
We saw lots of live elk, too.
After breakfast, we went to the Moraine Park Museum and
heard a talk by Ranger Farrell. He told stories about Rocky Mountain
Jim and other old-time characters. He also told us about the geological
history of the Moraine Park Valley and about glaciers. Great view,
After lunch, we got to do some hands-on science. Angie,
a CSU student, led us on a water ecology trip to Sprague Lake. First,
we listened to her explain the tools of her trade.
Then she gave us a short demonstration on how
to sample the lake with dipnets.
After we collected our own samples, Angie and Brent helped
us identify the creatures of the water. We found caddis flies, larvae
damselflies, leeches, fairy shrimp, water striders, and a whole lot more.
The bugs were really cool.
Next, we went on a walk around the lake and stopped
at a wetland area. Here, we talked about beavers and wetland ecology,
and then drew in our journals. While we watched and listened, we saw
a muskrat playing nearby.
We collected more samples at the outlet of the
lake. Angie had us all mesmerized by the creatures we caught. She
knew all about them and told us about their life cycles and habitats.
Our whole group at Sprague Lake.
At dinnertime, we made beef stew with cornbread in a huge dutch oven.
It tasted great.
After dinner, Brent led us on a poetry and art hike.
We had an inspiring view of snow-capped Longs Peak while we wrote and
At night, we played cards in our tents.
The last morning, Brent and his team cooked eggs and Cheerios for breakfast.
Then we went on a hike to Cub Lake. When
we arrived, we all read our poetry, including readings by Sadie,
and Sadie's dad, John, who said it was the first
poem he ever wrote in his life. Yes, even the grown-ups learned new
and exciting things.
Finally, we gathered for a funny-face group photo. Afterwards,
we sang a rousing chorus of "This school is your school, This school is
my school" to the whole mountain-top, just like in The Sound of Music. The
Hills Were Alive!
We thank our fearless leader, Karen Koski. The
trip was a raging success!
See you next year!
* Note to viewers: I have all of these images in a higher resolution
format. If you would like a copy of any of them, send me an email request
with the image name: firstname.lastname@example.org