How Do Beavers Prepare A Lodge For Winter

All fall Beaver’s cut Aspen, Willow and Alder trees and make a huge food pile underwater.  Beavers will do this until the pond becomes completely iced over.  

After learning about all the different components that make up a beaver lodge the students get to work recreating one out of sticks.

After learning about all the different components that make up a beaver lodge the students get to work recreating one out of sticks.

A student in the Rivers Class shows off his final diagram of a Beaver’s Lodge.

A student in the Rivers Class shows off his final diagram of a Beaver’s Lodge.

All winter beavers continue to live in their lodge.  Their lodge has two underwater entrances that they use all year long.  To construct their lodge beavers pile up cut branches, debris and aquatic vegetation and then coat the structure with mud except for the peak which is left open as an air vent. The structure has two levels: one underwater and one above water which they use as a feeding ledge.


IMG_0770.jpg

Students look for sign of beaver activity down near the river. The students found this fallen tree which was an invitation to climb!





Mountain River School
What Does Happiness Mean To You?
Students in the Forest Class ask members of the community what it means to be happy!

Students in the Forest Class ask members of the community what it means to be happy!

Our study on happiness continued this past week. We took a look at how others perceive happiness. This portion of the project was quite special, as I saw all the girls engaged in such a meaningful topic. To start the week, we created survey questions, three of which were quantifiable. We then spent time interviewing members of our school community and citizens throughout our local community of Stowe. It was amazing to see how well composed all the girls were when we went out into the town and I was so thrilled to watch them in action! On Friday we began creating graphs based on the results and will be reflecting on those results at the beginning of this week. 

IMG_3996.jpg
IMG_5510.jpg
Mountain River School
Learning to Look
IMG_9934.JPG

People learn more than half of what they know from visual information. We are excited that Mountain River school has a weekly program in place  to teach children how to develop visual literacy. Often. the work viewed has interdisciplinary  connections that intertwine with Mountain River School’s project based learning.

In his 1997 article ,Thoughts on Visual Literacy, Philip Yenawine describes visual literacy as: “…the ability to find meaning in imagery. It involves a set of skills ranging from simple identification (naming what one sees) to complex interpretation on contextual, metaphoric and philosophical levels. Many aspects of cognition are called upon, such as personal association, questioning, speculating, analyzing, fact-finding, and categorizing. Objective understanding is the premise of much of this literacy, but subjective and effective aspects of knowing are equally important.”

Students develop their visual thinking skills by participating in group discussions based on works of art. Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) begins by asking three questions of  students: What’s going on in this picture? What do you see that makes you say that? What more can we find?.

“VTS is a way to facilitate discussions of works of art that develops a set of thinking skills and behaviors that transfer to oral, written, and cognitive skills in other fields. It builds on evidence-based reasoning to examine aesthetic work.”( https://vtshome.org/)

Having the opportunity each week to discuss works of art with children is a pure pleasure, they have opened my eyes to their multiple perspectives and I am amazed at the depth of discussions due to the improvements in their development of their visual literacy skills.



Mountain River School
Forest Food Study

In the coming weeks the Forest (4-6 grade) students will be conducting research based on the driving question, "can food increase mood?". Parents and students have graciously volunteered to participate in a study revolving around this. This week the students created a survey of questions that will be asked for all the participants in the study. They also created the food diary for those that will be adding foods to their diet. An initial baseline survey has been e-mailed out, which we will ask to be filled out three times throughout the first week. The Forest students put a lot of effort into considering time constraints in regards to participants' schedules. They did a wonderful job creating surveys and a food diary that can be completed quickly. We also began researching foods that contain one of 10 nutrients that are said to increase mood. These foods will be compiled into a list that test participants following the "diet" will be able to choose from to incorporate into their daily meals and snacks.


IMG_1572.JPG
Mountain River School