5th Grade Ghost Ranch Learning Experience

IMG_5188At the beginning of the 5th grade, the final year of the Primary Years Programme, students participate in a 3-day field research trip to Ghost Ranch, near Abiquiu, NM. This interdisciplinary study includes explorations in NM History, anthropology, geology, ecology, paleontology, and visual and literary arts.  The students learn team work skills as they explore the environment through hikes and facilitated teamwork exercises.  They form the bonds of friendship and collaboration having fun and working together.  The learning community that develops supports them through the end of the year in the Primary Years Programme culminating experience, the Exhibition.

IMG_5842Through our inquiry into Ghost Ranch‘s history, students examined how the geographic circumstances influenced the lifestyles of early New Mexico peoples. They also made connections to how perceptions, adaptations, and choices shape our understanding of what it means to be human.

Some of the NM Social Studies performance standards covered include:

  1. describe the characteristics of early societies, including the development of tools and adaptation to environments
  2. describe human and natural characteristics of places
  3. explain how the four provinces of New Mexico’s land surface (plains, mountains, plateau, basin and range) support life.
  4. understand how resources impact daily life.

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dining hallThe Ghost Ranch Education and Retreat Center provides an all-inclusive location for the trip.  Students and chaperones stay in cabins of 6-8 people surrounding a community girls in cabingathering campfire area and with nearby bathrooms and showers.  Within a short walk, students eat in the dining hall and use the “long house” for indoor meeting space when needed.  Ghost Ranch has two museums, several archeological sites a miles of hiking trails to explore.  Learn more about Ghost Ranch on the web.