Experiential Learning – Upper School

Morocco & Spain: Upper School, Spring

This year, TMS high school students explored the complex and rich cultural and historical interplay between the Andalusian region of southern Spain and the Arab-Berber heritage of Morocco as they traveled through the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa. While visiting the Spanish cities of Madrid, Granada and Sevilla, students experienced first-hand the ways in which the Moors impacted Spain, including language, architecture, and rule of law, even after the Reconquista. Subsequently, the group traveled to Morocco, where they experienced the call to prayer and the bustling souks (markets) in Marrakech, explored Berber villages near the Tizi n’Tichka Pass in the High Atlas Mountains, visited fortified medieval kasbahs, and ventured into the Saharan sand dunes on the backs of camels. The cultural insights students developed helped them to build a more cohesive worldview and their experiences instilled a passion for travel that will enrich the rest of their lives.

Central Europe, May 2009

In the spring of 2009, Telluride Mountain School high school students traveled to the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria to explore topics of cultural change, art and architecture, WWII and Cold War history, and energy policy. The Centre for the Future in Slavonice, Czech Republic served as a home-base for the group, grounding students in European culture and historical background. The group then traveled to Prague where they visited historical sites, museums, and met with local students. From there it was onto Berlin where the group explored the former divisions of east and west, Jewish history, and modern art and architecture the city had to offer. The trip tied into the students’ history, art and science curricula and helped build skills they will use as life-long learners.
View Central Europe Article

Alta Lakes Observatory

For three days in late January, Telluride Mountain School 7 th -11 th grade students traded pencils and calculators for avalanche beacons, Nordic skis and field notebooks as they completed a Level I Avalanche course at the nearby Alta Lakes Observatory.  In addition to studying the basics of mountain weather, snow metamorphism and avalanche rescue, students also learned to identify avalanche terrain and test the snowpack for stability. While most of the three-day trip was dedicated to the study of avalanches, students also found time to read the short stories of Hemingway, cook delicious meals and enjoy friendship and camaraderie in the warmth of a rustic mountain cabin.  Overall, the trip educated the students on the inherent dangers of traveling in the San Juans and gave them skills to mitigate their exposure to those dangers by making informed decisions. The trip also served as a launch pad for the 7 th /8 th grade winter ecology and biology units on cold related injuries and wilderness medicine.

Bridal Veil Basin Backpacking

In early September 2004, Mountain School 7th – 11th graders spent a week exploring the history, geology and ecology of Bridal Veil Basin above the Town of Telluride. Students and their instructors camped at Blue Lake while learning about the formation of the San Juan Mountains, discovering how certain animals adapted to life in the cold and tracing the flow of water through the basin to the historic hydroelectric Power Station. Students touched upon the rich history of mining in the basin and wrote stories about what it would have been like to be a miner toiling in the mines a century ago. The week culminated with Power Station owner Eric Jacobson’s captivating lecture on the deck of the station and a tour of the working facility. Upon returning to school, students prepared a PowerPoint presentation for the entire school community.