Vantage

Sixth grade soaks up the sun in Vantage

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The sixth grade traveled to Vantage in central Washington for a week of camping, climbing, hiking and studying of geology. The students had the opportunity to visit Dry Falls as well as Lake Lenore Caves.

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Students climbed a variety of routes on basalt rock formations in Vantage and had the opportunity to rappel as a final culminating challenge.

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Each evening the trail groups would meet to reflect on and savor their new experiences. The educational focus of the trip was studying the mega floods of the ice ages that carved the landscape during several catastrophic flood events.

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Student spent the week looking for evidence of the floods, such as hanging valleys and erratic boulders.

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Everyone on the trip returned to Westside sun kissed, full of energy and new memories and feeling closer as a community.  

Sixth grade bravely climbed, rappelled, and explored!

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Last week, the sixth grade traveled to central Washington with the YMCA and Westside School faculty Lauren, Glyn, Jason, and Colleen. The group explored and adventured around Dry Falls, Lenora Caves, Vantage, Frenchman’s Coulee and Ginkgo Petrified Forest. Students were able to witness and experience a unique desert landscape created by the Ice Age Missoula Floods, all the while pushing their limits and comfort zones while camping and climbing!
Brave and strong sixth grade students advanced their knowledge of climbing and belaying, and learned to rappel!

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The community, responsibility, and enthusiasm shown at the climbing wall transferred to camp life as well, where students helped to cook each meal, and practiced the principles of Leave No Trace.
In their down time, students hiked to caves, sand dunes and waterfalls, played games, and relaxed by the Columbia River. A wonderful week was had by all!

Sixth grade scientists study earthquake technology

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Over the past few week in science students in sixth grade have been working on the Plate Tectonics unit. They have been studying geologic time, the layers of the earth, volcanoes and earthquakes. This is preparing them for thier study of geology and the evidence of great floods from the ice age in Vantage.

In the pictures students are learning about earthquakes and the technology used to track them by building their own seismographs.

From dizzying heights to a hungry marmot: sixth grade spring trip!

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Sixth grade students recently braved gale-force winds, dizzying heights, rattlesnakes, mosquitoes, dry heat, sprinklers going off in the middle of the night, and a hungry marmot during their spring rock-climbing trip to Vantage. They also developed a deeper sense of place and awe for nature as they watched the full moon rise, explored and imagined living in caves, sat silently and observed the landscape and climbed the basalt columns they have been studying in STEM.
Led by the intrepid team of Lauren, Mike, Michelle, and Glyn, the students experienced several exciting and challenging adventures in the Scablands of Central Washington. The first two days was spent visiting the expansive Dry Falls (over three miles wide), and the Lake Lenore Caves before heading off for three nights of camping in Vantage. The students had several “aha” moments as they observed the evidence of the Great Floods that shaped this vast landscape during the last Ice Age.
The trip was supported by a team of guides from the YMCA, who helped the students develop skills they learned on the fall trip to Mazama. For the trip leaders, their growth was awe-inspiring as they watched the students overcome their fears to scale 60 foot rock faces, and rappel off cliffs. Each evening, the trail groups debriefed the day in a courage circle. The students shared their successes, challenges and fears and even supported each other through each person’s individual adversity, whether it be a fear of heights or homesickness. The last night the group had a beautiful campfire under a star-filled sky. Students ate S’mores and celebrated the week.
The trip was rounded off with a visit to the Gingko Petrified Forest, during the drive home on Friday. The group arrived back at school tired, grubby, and totally exhilarated from their five day adventure!

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