Middle and High School Expedition Kick-offs

Tackling real-world problems right from the start of the school year.

Our middle and high school students continue with the TEA tradition of tackling real-world problems right from the get-go this year. MS Students are looking at the balance of power in our community. HS students are exploring water scarcity, unity and diversity, and the psychology of group mentality vs the individual mindset.

Each of the expeditions was kicked off during our first week of school, and here’s a quick summary of each. As the students dig deeper into their expeditions, we will share stories from their experiences on this newsletter, our blog, and our social media feeds.

MIddle School Expedition Topic: Balance of Power

Our 4 MS Crews had the opportunity to trek to Reno and meet with 3 different experts that relate to our Expedition “Balance of Power”. We kicked off the day with a meetup at Idlewild Park with Tinian Vandergriff of Down to Earth Gardens, who walked us through the composting program that they offer, the importance of composting, and how Reno is developing along the lines of cities like San Francisco. Next, students met with the City Revitalization Manager at the City of Reno to learn about some of the social and cultural issues pressing in the Reno area and how they are being addressed. Finally, students met with the Holland Project which is an organization started to empower youth and young adults in the area of art and music. Ask your student which expert they learned the most from.

students in front of holland project building

9th-Grade Expedition Topic: Water Scarcity

Nothing drives a point home more than when it is close to home. The 9th-grade Expedition is centered on water scarcity and we got to hear from two members of the California Department of Water Resources about how water is managed in California and how the state government treats it as a scarce resource. We heard this from the banks of the Frenchman Dam and the Frenchman Lake Reservoir, from which the State of California will divert a majority of the water in that reservoir over 500 miles to Los Angeles. While at the dam, students learned about water scarcity in the western U.S., the particulars of California water management, about the role of political borders in managing water and about the physical phenomena at Earth’s surface controlling the natural storage of water.

students listening to California Department of Water Resources members

10th-Grade Expedition Topic: Unity and Diversity

To kick off our Unity and Diversity Expedition, we had expert Mike Theberge lead a GoRuck inspired hike. Students were broken up into teams and put through a series of awesome team building challenges. Students built 6 person pyramids and ran a race, did wheelbarrow style races while eating cupcakes, and carried weights as a team to complete the hikes between challenges. After the event, students reflected on how the day’s activities created unity or division within our group.

students doing a wheelbarrow race

11th/12th-Grade Expedition Topic: Group vs Individual Mindset

The Backwoods Crew collaborated in their expedition planning process by brainstorming the thematic lens they will use to explore their coursework and fieldwork this school year. Students are interested in studying the psychology of group mentality in comparison to individual mindset. They are investigating topics related to organized crime, prisons, agriculture, and athletics. Students began contacting experts to work with during fieldwork in order to better understand the topic.

students sitting on soil