Pagosa Springs Middle School

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Adventure Learning Trips

Over the past few years, we have worked hard to expand and refine our adventure-based learning trips.  Dreams have become reality with the hard work and dedication of our staff and the support of our community.  Our school embraces experiential learning and capitalizes on our amazing location to enhance learning opportunities for our students. We believe the outcomes to these learning experiences include:  enhanced motivation, real-world learning opportunities and stronger rapport between staff and students.  Students have the opportunity to explore locations in northern New Mexico, Utah and Colorado during their middle school years.  Each of these trips purposefully incorporates high-level academic learning before, during and after the students return.  


Fifth-grade students take three-day trips that include:  a new fall trip to Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico, a soil and water conservation trip to the local Rafter T Ranch and a snow science day on Reservoir Hill.  Teachers incorporate strong academic lessons that accompany these experiential learning opportunities, capitalizing on the high level of student engagement and motivation. 


Sixth-grade students experience their first overnight adventure when they travel to the Great Sand Dune National Park near Alamosa, Colorado.  Students summit the High Dune and rotate through various stations studying the dynamic dune environment and ecology of this spectacular national treasure.  


Seventh-grade students culminate an integrated unit of study in the spring and explore Bandelier National Monument and Los Alamos, New Mexico.  The class spends three days and two nights on this expedition.  Students learn about the amazing geological history surrounding this area and visit to the impressive Valles Caldera.  They learn how native people used their knowledge of geology to survive.  They study the changes that have taken place in Northern New Mexico from the ancestral Puebloan culture to the important role this scientific community played in the outcome of WWII.  Students read The Gadget in preparation for the visit. Every academic subject is devoted to this unit of study including our physical education classes preparing for the hikes, mountain biking, disc golfing and swimming.  


Eighth-grade students go on the longest adventure spending four days and three nights exploring and studying Arches National Park near Moab, Utah.  Students hike to various arches and study the climate differences between Moab and Pagosa Springs.  This learning culminates in a scientific paper upon return.  Students also enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking the Fiery Furnace or Fisher Towers.