Tracking Explore Week Through Discovery, Creating, and Playing

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Three times each year, our student population looks forward to unique and challenging course offerings within the context of Explore Week — a period of time providing a respite of sorts from classroom participation, enabling our students to learn and experience from a variety of less traditional offerings.

This time around, students picked one track from a selection of three for their Explore Week activities, which took place the week of Feb. 24. The idea was to provide students with some excitement, experience, spark, and fun by doing things they aren’t able to do on campus.

Students selected one track and stuck with that track for the duration of the week. Their choices included a discover track, a create track, and a play track. And while you may think the majority of students choose the play track, it turns out, students who are committed to engaging themselves in their education can be trusted to find value in whatever they choose to engage in.

In this post, we describe the activities in which students participated, starting with the discover track:


(Image © Hammond’s Candies)

Students signing up for this tract toured a number of venues across Colorado’s Front Range, including Celestial Seasonings, which is headquartered just down the road in Boulder. While there, students experienced a behind-the-scenes look at how tea is made – from its leafy beginnings to the finished final brew. They also explored the company’s tea shop, mint room, and café.

These same students took part in a tour of the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster, which was the first stand-alone nonprofit insect zoo in the country. The visit and tour provided our students with a wealth of invertebrate knowledge, providing hands-on learning experiences through its exhibits and educational programs. Students also had opportunities experience the release of butterflies, handle a tarantula, and touch sea stars and crabs during their visit.

A visit to the 100-year-old Hammonds Candy Factory in Denver not only satisfied students’ sweet tooth, but enabled them to see how candies are pulled, twisted, shaped, and packaged by hand. This tour also included nostalgic anecdotes about the historic candies of yesteryear.

Students also toured the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, which offers a variety of exhibits,programs, activities and scientific research intended to provide appreciation and understanding of Colorado’s many wonders. Current exhibits include Extreme Sports: Beyond Human Limits; The Science Behind Pixar; and After the Asteroid: Earth’s Comeback Story.

A visit to the Denver Art Museum resulted in students participating in a number of happenings intended to spark imagination and expressive thought through experiences with artwork. They saw local artists push the notions of what a museum can be and interacted with other visitors with artwork and one another.

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame in Morrison was the final stop for our discovery track students, where they observed exhibits dedicated to the more than 50 Colorado artists and entertainers who have been inducted since 2011.


For those Eagle Rockers with a passion for making things, the Create Track offered the following off-campus courses and hands-on visits:

First, students participated in a three-course pasta-making class at Food Lab in Boulder, creating dishes in the facility’s 2,000-plus square foot kitchen. And after creating three dishes, the students were able to consume their creations, and were given a recipe to take back to campus.

Artist Adi Tora of Innervisions Art Collective led participating students in a class in candle-making and creating natural dyes. The collective is made up of people of color who create stories that assist them in becoming free.

Students also visited The Furnace in Lakewood, which is known for its hot glass artwork featured in more than 100 galleries and private collections nationwide. There’ students were able to create a few items of blown or solid-sculpted glass.

A cake decorating class at My Make Studio in Edgewater was the next Create Track destination, with students creating their own sweet masterpieces from a selection of more than 30 candies, 500 cookie cutters, fondant molds and textures, and other tools of the baking trade.

Solid State Depot, Boulder’s Makerspace was the final destination for this track’s students, offering tools and spaces for developing art and technology with ideas, plans, toys, inventions and of course, creativity.


Finally, our adventurous Play Tract students took on some physical adventures to complete their Explore Week activities, including:

A day at Apex Center in Arvada provided students with indoor water fun in the form of body and tube slide rides, a zero-depth water playground, vortex pool and lap pool. The 23,000-square-foot center also offered students two NHL ice rinks and a natural rock-climbing wall.

Top Golf in Thornton, Colo., features more than 100 climate-controlled hitting bays that offered students a selection of games — each utilizing micro-chipped golf balls to keep track of their progress. Each swing is relayed back to a bay screen that records the accuracy and distance of each ball.

The iFLY Indoor Skydiving venue in Lone Tree pitted students against gravity in a state-of-the-art wind tunnel. Participants learned a little math and physics from on-staff STEM educators who guided them in an immersive, hands-on physics exercise within a working wind tunnel. They also experienced one-on-one flight with a certified iFLY flight instructor.

For fans of TV’s American Ninja Warrior, the ninja/parkour class at Flow Vault in Henderson provided our students with a number of physical challenges. Ninja warrior-style gyms have become popular across the nation, and Eagle Rock’s students made their way through vault boxes and bars, including a salmon ladder, cliff hanger, ring toss, and vertical peg board.

Finally, our Play Track students visited the climbing gym at Earth Treks in Golden where they clambered around 28,500 square feet of walls and boulders to their hearts’ content. The gym also features 45-foot-high walls and more than 400 roped routes and boulders.

For more information on Explore Week at Eagle Rock, consider reading some of our recent and past Explore Week writeups, all of which can be found here on the Eagle Rock blog:


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