A Classroom in the Southwest: Exploring the Legacy of the American Dream at the Four Corners
To understand the impacts of the Legacy of the American Dream on ancient civilizations and Native American communities (both historical and contemporary), students traveled among what remains of some of the most ancient civilizations in the world, and definitively the USA.
To understand the impacts of the Legacy of the American Dream on ancient civilizations and Native American communities (both historical and contemporary), students traveled among what remains of some of the most ancient civilizations in the world, and definitively the USA. To garner a greater understanding of the scope of impacts generated by the Legacy of the American Dream, students considered the origin of the first atomic weapons and the innovative science resulting from discoveries made in their creation.
By exploring Chacoan and early Puebloan culture, architecture and human geography in the Southwest on a six day trip, students had amazing “hands on” learning experiences. Students conducted field research and backcountry adventures in Chaco Canyon and Bandelier National Monument and examined the influences of environmental changes on human populations and the evolution of people, power, and nature over time.
The Junior Crew then explored a slice of history as they traveled to Los Alamos to explore, through the lenses of history, nuclear chemistry, and literature, the creation of the first weapons of mass destruction.
They culminated their travels at the Museum of Nuclear Science and History, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and Education Center, and the University of New Mexico to better understand how Americans chronicle and preserve the history and myriad perspectives of the Legacy of the American Dream.
Outcomes: Inspired by the work of nuclear scientists, artists of the Southwest (Georgia O’Keeffe, Ansel Adams), and native communities of the American Southwest, students produced documents and artistic renderings depicting the lasting impacts of the Legacy of the American Dream on world populations; exploring the choice on the part of the American government and scientists to create and then to detonate the first and only atomic weapons targeting human populations in acts of war.
Connected with this once in a lifetime experience, students worked on two service learning projects:
- Service Learning with Quivira Coalition aimed at participating in local restoration project that will inform ongoing restoration projects in Northern Tahoe areas.
- Service Project with the Atomic Heritage Foundation’s Voices Program aimed at informing public awareness campaigns and education programs relative to nuclear science.