Ninety-One School students spend three days exploring southern Oregon

Ninety-One School students got to enjoy a tour of the Oregon Vortex and other spots in southern Oregon.Looking for a unique learning experience for students, four teachers at Ninety-One School turned their gaze to the south – Southern Oregon, to be specific.

With a little financial help and some willing chaperones, that gaze turned into reality for the school’s entire seventh- and eighth-grade student body – 103 students. A three-day trip to the state’s southern region offered plenty to learn for everyone. For many, it would be their first time in that part of the state.

English teacher Lynda Robert, who first proposed the trip at Ninety-One School, said “I have now done this trip three times and would do it again in a heartbeat. Field learning hooks all students into learning, not just the ones who are good at the books.“

Joining her on the project were teachers Stan Oyer (social studies), Sandy Kahut (math) and Todd Hornseth (science).

Students did fundraising, while support from the school’s Parent Teacher Organization and a grant from the Canby Education Foundation ensured that every student was able to participate. Teachers selected stops and activities to support the curriculum and prepped students before the trip to prepare them for targeted lessons on Oregon history, manufacturing math, cave geology and Shakespeare’s work, “The Tempest.”

From May 20-22, students had a chance to explore and experience just those kinds of things as buses headed south. First, a stop at Oregon State University for a campus visit, and then down I-5 to the Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery.

Students got a first-hand look at the visual phenomena and the theories surrounding the vortex and house.

From there, a visit to historic Jacksonville, one of Oregon’s oldest towns, provided a glimpse into its historic buildings, the 1850s gold rush and the colorful past of the area.

Day two was spent in Medford and Ashland, with guided tours of Harry and David and its start- to-finish process for packaging fruit. Ashland offered a look at the city’s rich theater history and a look at “The Tempest,” it background, characters and themes – then saw the original production for themselves.

Day three featured a trip to the Oregon Caves where small groups of students explored the underground world of marble caves that were formed by rainwater seeping into the marble. It was a chance for students to see the geologic processes and formations they had studied previously in class. They also hiked the old growth forests, saw waterfalls and sweeping southern Oregon vistas. The final stop was at Wildlife Safari in Winston, which featured a guided tour and encounters with wildebeest, giraffes and emus.

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