October 26, 2018

Mini Musings - Glorious Notes in the Tetons

By Steve Capone

The weather was perfect in Jackson, Wyoming. We had hoped for no rain, and we hadn’t thought further than that. What we got were cloudless skies paired with consistent daytime temperatures in the 50s and even 60s. Of course, the elk and their seasonal mating calls jived with our plans as well. All of our field groups venturing into the park after dark in silent search of those glorious notes were rewarded with a life-changing experience. The elk bugled, the meteors streaked, and the students and teachers were themselves struck with awe. It is that spirit of awe and wonder that drives our entire visit to the Teton Science Schools (TSS) in Wyoming each year.

We visit the TSS each year to motivate and to direct inquiry, helping our students to find that when they get on location in one of the world’s most beautiful environments, there’s a natural inclination toward learning as much as we’re able about that place. TSS facilitates turning the inclination into an experience, showing the kids that they are scientists when they participate in the activities of the scientific process - wondering, inquiring, looking and listening, gathering data, and analyzing the evidence (those are the main steps).

Our students are learning to think for themselves and to love learning for its own sake - because learning feels great, especially when we do it with shooting stars overhead and real-life wildlife around us. For certain, our returning students are different than those who set out at the start of the trip.