Portland Independent School | Field Trips

Geology comes alive as students explore how land meets the ocean.

What does it take to bring learning from the abstract to the concreate? To deeply immerse ourselves in a subject to the point where we feel it and know it?

Take a concept like water, for example.

For field learning Summa staff developed a six week curriculum around it that included science, language arts, geography, geology, and math. For eight weeks we used our Project-Based Learning sessions to create four 6X8’ 3D dioramas depicting water; the water in the Mt. Hood glacier, the rivers which carry this water from Mt. Hood through our city, how the city handles runoff and water treatment, and finally how water gets to the Pacific ocean.

We then developed a two week intensive of in-the-field experiences.

It was a particularly precious experience for Jacob and I and I will treasure the spaciousness, the connection and the beauty of being there. -Julie, Summa mom.

The first week was devoted to day trips. Hike the glacier, explore the waterfalls, visit the electric power station and salmon protection at Bonneville Dam, follow the water in and out of the Mt. Tabor reservoir, hold your nose as you explore the Columbia waste treatment plant, and observe the birds and wildlife at the Columbia slough.

Week two started with a visit to the Tualatin National Wildlife and Bird Refuge on the way to Camp Westwind, a 500 acre U.N. heritage site where the Salmon River meets the Pacific near Lincoln City. Here we spent three nights and four days exploring the estuaries via kayak, observing how the land meets the sea and what happens to water in that process, and studying fresh water vs marine life.

Field Learning is an inclusive two week plunge that crystallizes classroom learning, utilizing Project-Based Learning, and experiential learning. All students participate and so Emotional Intelligence blossoms along with Academic Excellence. Each year there is a different theme for Field Learning, replete with new places to explore and new connections to be discovered.

Summa Academy visits Portland’s Forestry Center to learn about forest ecology.

Emerald students experience inspiration in nature.

Mr. Ley and an Emerald student head out into the field.

Onyx student in the Ape Cave of Washington.