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Last month, University of Arizona College of Education Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies instructors and Cooper Center for Environmental Learning (Camp Cooper) partnered to lead elementary education undergraduates on a field trip up Mount Lemmon. This field trip provided an outdoor experiential science-learning opportunity to students enrolled in TLS 308 (Science Concepts and Practices in the Elementary and Middle School Curriculum) this year.
During this one-day trip, we made stops at several locations along the Catalina Highway (Molino Basin, Middle Bear, Windy Point, Inspiration Rock) to observe and experience the different life zones on the mountain. Cooper Center staff lead participants in an Earth Walk and also Magic Spot activities. Rebecca Lipson, Undergraduate Research Coordinator in the UA Office of Societal Impact, engaged the participants in exploring their own research question as we traveled up the mountain. TLS students designed their own inquiry questions, collected and analyzed their data, and then at the end of the day presented to each other about their findings. The Cooper Center was able to provide vans, lunches, and stipends for the TLS students from a specific donation they received from the Davis Family for working with teachers. All of the students who participated were enthusiastic and engaged, learning science and teaching science related to understanding our environment in a place-based, inquiry-oriented approach.