All Kinds of News for June 07, 2017
Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens ages 13-18, offers a bi-annual expedition which brings the classroom environment outdoors. By incorporating academic programming into recreational activities, students experience a hands-on learning environment while gaining valuable life skills.
In the past, these outdoor classroom trips have ranged from rock climbing and learning about physics in Idaho’s City of Rocks, to hiking and learning about art in the national parks near Moab, Utah.
On a previous trip to the City of Rocks in Idaho, students took part in physics lessons while simultaneously learning how to rock climb.
“Some students struggled in physics classes prior to the trip,” comments Jonathan Griffith, Director of Recreation and Experiential Education. “However, when there was an application aspect to physics lessons, students wanted to understand every detail of what they were doing. For example, they would be excited to calculate how far they would have to fall to break the system or how much force would be applied to a particular anchor. When students begin to have fun while learning, it changes their investment in the curriculum and activities.”
During the most recent outdoor classroom expedition, students paddled through Labryinth Canyon on the Green River in Utah.
“This Spring, students studied art and natural history in relation to the natural wonders they experienced while learning to paddle,” says Joe Ballent, a member of the Outdoor Recreation Staff at Elevations. “Students worked together as a team to coordinate paddlestrokes and navigate the rushing waters of the river. After the trip was over, I had several students express feelings of accomplishment from traveling farther under their own power in a few days than they thought possible.”
Over the week students spent in Labryinth Canyon, they participated in an art project based on their surroundings.
“The project was simple, paint without paint! The materials for ‘Project Surroundings’ consisted of a 12x12 wooden panel, clear medium, and any natural pigment they could get their hands on,” says Johnny Tanner, art teacher at Elevations RTC. “The students not only looked around for inspiration, but for literal objects and matter that would become their painting. The goal was to help the students absorb every beautiful and powerful visual in their surrounding as they glorified where their feet were. Real learning happened as we took the textbooks away and placed the students in the ‘real textbook’.”
Outdoor classrooms make it easy for instructors at Elevations to illustrate a point. Instead of relying purely on concepts or images, students are immersed in a learning environment they would not get to experience in a traditional classroom. Students can take the skills learned in outdoor classroom experiences and utilize them in the “real world” after they graduate.
About Elevations RTC
Elevations RTC is a residential treatment center that offers guidance, support and relief to young men and women struggling with issues like trauma, depression, mood disorders, behavioral problems, and substance abuse. Elevations RTC is located in Utah and provides specialized, clinically intensive programs to struggling teens.