Eagle Rock’s 79th Trimester Begins with Some Unique Class Offerings

A quick look at a few of the classes available in this, our 79th trimester, shows that Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center continues to stand at the forefront of an approach to education that uniquely encourages students to become actively engaged in their own education.

No cookie-cutter classes here. It’s all about leading our students into a future that they can help develop — free of nonsensical edicts, outmoded education models, and unimaginative curriculum. Here on our mountainside campus in Estes Park, Colo., we put the emphasis on classes that will actually turn out to be helpful and useful once our students step out into the real world.

That being said, feel free to check out the list of class names and descriptions below for the first half of ER 79 (the 79th trimester since our founding in the early-1990s). A second list will appear here a few weeks before Thanksgiving: Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Fall 2017 Classes Are Informative and Interesting

The summer of 2017 is history, and for new and returning Eagle Rock School students, it’s the beginning of a fresh trimester — the 73rd since our founding in the early 1990s. And as reliable as the season’s change is here in the Rocky Mountains, so to comes the promise of a progressive lineup of class offerings tailor-made for our diverse student body. Take mathematics for example. Your typical high school curriculum lists class offerings in spades, ranging from Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2, to Pre-Calculus and Calculus.

But how does this sound as a more engaging alternative: The mathematics of casino gambling? We’ve got that class already underway for those who like to have fun with their numbers while learning.

Or how about chemistry? Most high schools feature classes that entail a lot of memorization, periodic tables, and some lab work. Unless it’s a class about the chemical changes that take place when preparing a meal. Now we’re really cooking. And the “final exam” for that class revolves around a student-hosted food fair.

Classes at Eagle Rock School

Below are descriptions of a number of class topics offered this trimester — most of them unique and all of them designed from the ground up to be both interesting and engaging:

Borders & Identity: In this class, students are exploring their own identity through the lens of the U.S.-Mexican border and the human stories, learning and reflecting on the visible and invisible borders we each confront every day. Learning Spanish is a goal, in order to build bridges between people and community, and compare, contrast and write from multiple points of view. During the first five weeks, participants are diving into the world of migration and identity, formulating their own informed perspectives through video and field work — all the while communicating in Spanish. During the second five weeks, they will continue to explore borders and identity and develop a culminating action-project that propose solutions to the immigration and border debate.

Chemistry of Cooking: In this unique chemistry class, students are studying the chemical changes that food undergoes when it is Continue reading…

From Queer Lit to the Chemistry of Cooking, Our Latest Classes Are Now Underway

Eagle Rock School’s 71st trimester is officially underway this week, with returning students attending classes that offer a lot from which to choose. And, as is our custom, all of these classes place importance on eliciting interest and engagement from students.

This time around, for example, there’s a class that actually makes chemistry interesting. How so, you ask? By combining it with cooking. Full minds and full stomachs appear to be on the horizon.

Eagle Rock School Class Topics

Another class that will likely draw the curious is a research class in which each student picks a project that is of particular interest to him or her. Nobody’s making anybody study “the history of concrete,” for example. What the class promises is this: By the end of the trimester, students will become the resident expert on a topic that interests them and that they thoroughly enjoy.

Interested? Below is a partial list of what we’re offering students this trimester: Continue reading…

Latest Eagle Rock School Classes Explore Everything from Coaching to Carpentry

Below is a sampling of some of this trimester’s unique classroom offerings that are already underway here at Eagle Rock School — each designed to challenge the mind, develop global citizenship or promote creativity and critical thinking. You’ll note that for the most part, there’s no memorization of historic dates or wheat export totals from Yugoslavia.

It’s education, but it’s education that’s useful in real life. We begin with three 10-week classes on education, eating and exploring (research). The other courses run five weeks.

Here then is a brief synopsis of some of the classes that began a week or so ago:

What is Education For?: Students begin this quest by looking at the foundational role of philosophy in education. Eagle Rock students are asked to answer three questions:

  1. ER_StudentWhat is real?
  2. What is true?
  3. What is good?

They’ll research the meaning and history of education as it has been delivered and experienced in the United States. Students are developing their own tools for making observations and we will be using these tools while visiting schools where different curricula, teaching methods and student populations are present. By applying what is learned from firsthand observations, from history, personal experience and context, each student will prepare and present their own Leadership for Justice action plan for improving education in the context of Eagle Rock’s mission and vision. Finally, the class will plan and conduct a mini-conference, bringing together different voices in dialogue arriving at new insights and directions in response to the perennial question, “What Is Education For?”

You Are What You Eat. By examining what students eat, they learn how the foods we consume impact their daily and long-term health. Students will track their food choices, discover how those food choices affect their bodies, and then make predictions about their future health based on their current choices. Students will figure out how what they eat today will impact their health tomorrow.

Research: In this 10-week class, students investigate and research a topic about which they are curious, steadily progressing from a novice to an expert in that particular field. Students will choose their topic through a process that balances interests with the general feasibility of the topic. They’ll learn how to find and evaluate both print and digital sources, examining the main arguments, purposes and biases within them. Students will pull key ideas and details from the sources in notes that support their emerging research questions and claims. Then they will learn how to synthesize and represent their growing body of knowledge in an organized way, eventually sharing their new understanding around their topic by developing a thesis statement and writing a traditional research paper.

Riverwatch Citizen Science: In this five-week class, students are exploring the health of the Big Thompson River, while engaging in the sport of fly fishing. Students are tasked wit collecting water samples and macroinvertebrates (bugs) of the Big Thompson River. They will then analyze their samples, which will help them to determine the river’s health. Their data will then be used by the Continue reading…