Located near Centura Health in Avon right off of I-70. An innovative natural science learning campus for residents and visitors of the Eagle Valley. Free and open to the public.

318 Walking Mountains Lane, Avon, CO 81620

Located at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola on Vail Mountain out of Lionshead Village, Vail. All visitors must have a pass to ride the gondola. Free and open to the public with valid gondola pass.
Nestled along Gore Creek near the Betty Ford Alpine Garden and Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail Village.
601 Vail Valley Drive, Vail, CO 81657

Walking Mountains Blog

Educating Middle School Students About our Changing Climate

Posted by Walking Mountains on Mar 7, 2023 12:59:18 PM
Walking Mountains

The Foley Graduate Fellows have worked tirelessly at creating the best outdoor science program for Eagle County middle school students this winter!

The new school field science program was made to align with the Middle School Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), where students will learn about weather and climate in Colorado while enjoying time outdoors and have the chance to learn how to snowshoe! The new program titled “Weather and Climate” teaches students how weather systems interact to shape Colorado’s continental climate. Through hands-on investigation of snowpack, students discover how our changing climate is affecting winter and natural hazards in Colorado. Students will have the chance to explore how humans are impacting and being impacted by climate change and how they can make a difference! 

The Foley Graduate Fellows created this new program because the middle school NGSS standards now discuss climate change. The standard states, “ESS3-5, ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.” Now more than ever it is crucial that we educate our students about our changing climate, especially here in Colorado where water is a vital resource to Colorado and beyond.

A unique addition to the program to help fulfill the new climate change standard is a Walking Mountains’ community roundtable discussion, where students can take on the role of community members in Eagle County. This discussion will represent a town hall type meeting that will help students analyze evidence of climate change and take on the role of a community member to discuss how the changing climate is impacting their livelihood. This activity allows students to gain perspective from multiple points of view in the community and use visual evidence such as graphs, pictures, or Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) calculations from their day to support their statements. This activity helps demonstrate the differing perspectives about climate change, and the complexities of discussing it in a hands-on way to our middle school students.

Through this townhall panel we have been able to gather quotes from students about their perspective on climate change. As educators, we are curious to understand the current knowledge level and understanding around climate change. Homestake Peak School sixth graders were first to pilot this community roundtable panel and were asked, “why is it important to be learning about climate change?”. Students replied with some memorable quotes:

“Many perspectives are important when listening to people about climate change. Everyone is impacted differently.”

“Climate change affects all of us”

“It important to have these conversations so that we can help stop it”

“People will keep telling other people, who will tell other people, and eventually everyone will be aware and everything will be okay!”

These important educational opportunities for middle school students do not stop when the school year ends. Walking Mountains Science Center provides summer camp opportunities for middle schoolers, and this year we are excited to also be launching a high school hut trip for students entering 9th or 10th grade. The following camps will be offered to middle and high school students this upcoming summer (ages are based on the grade students are going into in the fall of 2023):

To learn more about these camps or additional camp offerings, check out Walking Mountains Science Center’s Summer Camp page.

2023 summer camp registration opens March 28th at 6pm MST.

We felt like we could not end this blog without a weather pun so here you go…What do you call a bunch of kids who spent all afternoon in the snow?

Written by Kaylyn Murphy and Rachel Juritsch. Kaylyn and Rachel are both Foley Graduate Fellows at Walking Mountains Science Center and are expected to graduate in July of 2023! 

Topics: Environmental Education, School Programs, Staff Spotlight

Walking Mountains

Written by Walking Mountains

Our mission is to awaken a sense of wonder and inspire environmental stewardship and sustainability through natural science education.