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Teaching Themes

Keystone Science School is well known for our instructional opportunities. Each activity is intentional and works to meet the goals of each individual school. We have a wide variety of teaching themes which can be combined to create a cohesive program over the course of your entire field trip. The one constant among all of the programs we create is the outdoors and activities you which couldn’t be facilitated in a traditional classroom. We understand that schools visit us for unique and memorable experiences which is our goal for each program no matter the theme.

keystone science school teaching themes

Environmental Science

We have many different field-based science programs which are all differentiated based on the grade level of participating students. With each science topic, we can take a variety of approaches when teaching that subject. - Environmental Issue, Research, or Exploration. The environmental issue investigates policy and how science informs many of our land management policies. The research will use the scientific process where students will generate their own question before going into the field to collect data as they test their hypothesis. Our exploration approach is a more free-form approach where students will learn about a scientific theme through various activities and teachable moments.

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    Aquatic Ecology

    Students will learn about aquatic ecosystems. Students will be in the water collecting macroinvertebrates as they learn about the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy watersheds.

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    Earth Science

    Students will learn about the history of the Rocky Mountains and how our landscapes were formed. They will have a new appreciation for their surroundings after each program.

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    Forest Ecology

    Students will learn about our forests, how they have evolved over time and the adaptations of each plant allowing them to survive in the harsh mountain environment.

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    Snow Science

    Our snowpack is always changing (snow metamorphosis). Students will be digging snow pits while identifying the different layers and how those layers came to be.


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    Winter Ecology

    The mountains can be a harsh environment, especially high in the Rocky Mountains. Students will learn all about the adaptations of plants and animals and how they survive harsh weather conditions.

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    Weather & Climate

    Weather and climate are very unique in the Rocky Mountains. Students will learn about the many variables which create unique weather events and how they compare to the weather students experience in their hometown.

Outdoor Education

Our adventure activities are the cornerstone of all our programs. Students will hike in the spring or fall and cross country skiing or snowshoeing during the winter months. Students will learn the basics of backcountry travel and how to take care of themselves in the wilderness within every program we offer. Included in any program is the equipment necessary for the designated adventure activity.

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    Students will hike in small groups (about 10 students) on a variety of trails. Our instructors will pick a trail based on your groups hiking ability and other academic goals of the program. The groups will travel together while learning about one of our curriculum topics.

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    Cross-Country Skiing

    Each program begins with a ski lesson where they will learn how to start, stop, and assent/descend small hills. Once their skills are refined they will hit one of the many cross-country ski trails in Summit County.

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    Throughout the winter months, students can also learn how to snowshoe. This adventure activity is most often chosen with our younger groups or those groups desiring a more academic program where time doesn’t allow for an in-depth ski lesson.

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    Team Building/Leadership

    Team Building and Leadership are elements of every program we offer and can also be a centralized theme of a program. We can focus an entire curriculum on team building while weaving in specific elements of your school's culture. Team building and leadership programs give teachers great reflection points when back in the classroom.

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    Team Building

    Our team building programs include a variety of activities whether on trail or utilizing our low ropes course. Each program highlights communication skills and how a group of students can be stronger than an individual. These programs often have lasting effects on a classroom dynamic.

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    Our leadership programs are focused on the individual student and how they can improve their leadership skills among their peers. This will allow students to understand their role within a group and how they can help move a group towards a common goal.

Interested in bringing your school group to KSS? Get in touch today!

We’re always happy to help plan your next outdoor education experience to ensure that your students have the best overnight field trip of their lives! Should you have questions about any step of the process, or associated paperwork, please contact us.

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