Active learning is apparent every day, in every area of middle school life. This is just a sampling of what you might see in any given year:
Trout Study and Release
Seventh graders raise trout from egg to fingerlings in a 50-gallon tank in the lab. They learn the nitrogen cycle and use that knowledge to test the aquarium and problem-solve to maintain the best environment for raising trout. For an experiential education day, 7th graders take a trip to the local hatchery, release the trout in the Pecos river, test the river velocity, do an invertebrate lab, and reflect on this experience in their nature journals.
Southwest Native American Exploration
Seventh graders research Native American cultures and write compelling text to accompany visual aid presentations. This hands-on project includes a visit to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture to view exhibitions and utilize the information in developing their independent research projects.
Create a Sustainable Country Project
In an interdisciplinary 8th Grade Global Studies and Science project, groups of students spend several weeks writing about the geography, population demographics, economy, government, and history of their imaginary country. Then, a day is exclusively given to building models of these countries using recycled materials, answering questions asked by inquiring adults and trading between countries.
Botanical Garden Data Collection and Nature Journaling
Science 7 students learn to identify and make observations of Santa Fe’s native plants and birds and collect data about the plants’ annual cycles for the Santa Fe Botanical Garden. Additionally, students observe the natural world around them—at the Botanical Garden, on our campus, and during various field trips around New Mexico—and keep detailed notes in their nature journals throughout the year.
Heritage Project Project
Eighth-grade students take a global perspective in social studies, with the curriculum designed to help them make informed and reasoned decisions for the common good as citizens of a diverse and interdependent world. Their connections to other cultures and countries are emphasized through the heritage project, where students learn and record their own family histories, often discovering connections to people and places they never knew existed. Students create a family tree and a movement chart showing where ancestors migrated to and why and conclude the project with a formal presentation to classmates.
Traditional Spanish Colonial Art Project
During the New Mexico History unit dedicated to Spanish Colonial times, traditional artists visit classes and teach students weaving, straw appliqué tin work, and retablo design and painting. Students also visit the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art and see many of the finest pieces from the past 400 years.