Beyond the Fencepost
As in the lower school, projects and field trips augment classroom study and provide many opportunities for interdisciplinary learning. Fifth and sixth graders experience an in-depth, two-year water study and marine biology curriculum, which incorporates many field explorations and culminates in a weeklong environmental and biology trip to Cape Cod. Seventh and eighth graders explore history and art in a weeklong trip to Washington, D.C. The seventh grade trip to Greenkill combines team building and science. Historical landmarks in the Hudson Valley are excellent resources for students as they investigate American history. The theater and symphony at the Bardavon, locally, as well as our proximity to New York City, provide rich opportunities for students to explore the arts. These learning adventures are exciting and highly anticipated traditions at Dutchess Day School.
“These learning adventures are exciting and highly anticipated traditions at Dutchess Day School.”
Costa Rica – March 2014
In alternate years since 2004, small groups of seventh and eighth grade students, teachers and parent chaperones travel to Costa Rica during spring break in March. The study tour is an elective program organized and led by the conservation and education group called EcoTeach. It is coordinated by DDS science teachers, Diane Duffus and Amanda Ackers, and is a 12-day immersion in the natural environment and culture of this beautiful country. Students take part in real scientific research and conservation projects while being exposed first-hand to the wonders of Costa Rica, including its varied cultures, major ecological zones and animal life, plus one of the most active volcanoes in the western hemisphere. Some of the highlights of the itinerary include:
- Participation in a sea turtle field research program
- Visit to a remote Bribri Indian village and school in the Talamanca Mountains
- A home stay with a Costa Rican farming family
- Participation in reforestation (tree-planting) work for habitat restoration of the Great Green Macaw
- White-water rafting down the Sarapiqui River
- Stay at a local, organic farm
- Visit to Arenal Volcano/LaFortuna waterfall/soak in hot springs
- Visit to Monteverde cloud forest/zipline through the rainforest canopy
- Beaches, rainforests, mountains, butterfly gardens, birds, monkeys, and sloths
To see some of the most recent photos of the March 2012 trip, visit the DDS website and view them in the photo gallery.
For more information about the trip, visit www.ecoteach.com/2012/dutchess/ and http://costarica2012.dutchessday.com/
In odd-numbered years, the fifth and sixth grades study oceanography and marine biology in science during their spring curriculum. As a culmination to their classroom studies, students spend one week in May extending their studies in Cape Cod. The program is conducted by Nature’s Classroom, an experiential, outdoor environmental education program and takes place primarily at their facility in Yarmouth Port, MA. During that week, students participate in a variety of activities that integrate science with other disciplines while also visiting salt marshes, rocky shores, and tide pools. On one of the days, students also experience a whale watch on the open ocean near Stellwagon Bank off of Provincetown.