Our 7th graders had a good night sleep and enjoyed their breakfast very much after a very precise archery lesson yesterday afternoon!
The two groups then headed to their morning activities : crime scene investigation and team building !
Before having Sloppy Joes for lunch, one group went to the Nature Center to discover more about amphibians and reptiles. The other group used their great imaginations to create wonderful nature art in the forest…
On October 9, SDFAS had the opportunity to welcome a French scientist, Jean-François Briand, who is doing research on genetic mutations and rare diseases — work which is supported by a joint MLF – Telethon project. He was in town for the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society conference and, as part of the “1,000 chercheurs dans les écoles” project in France, offered to give a presentation to our 8th graders.
While the topics are complex, Mr. Briand adapted his presentation to our very attentive 8th graders and included video and other visuals to illustrate the concepts. Mr. Briand’s presentation comes at a very fortuitous time, given that our 8th graders are currently studying genetics in Science with Ms. Jacoway, and also participating in a cross-curricular project with Mr. G., wherein they will debate the ethical questions surrounding genetic manipulation.
Following the debate, the 8th graders will have the opportunity to learn from another guest speaker and longtime member of the SDFAS community, Dr. Diego Miralles. Dr. Miralles will focus his talk on the ethics of genetic therapy and engineering, and will introduce a new perspective to the students, which will inspire continuous dialogue and learning even after their unit has concluded!
All is well in Joshua Tree. The children had a good night overall and we woke up at 6:30 this morning. Then one group helped make breakfast — banana pancakes and fruit — then we cleaned up, packed sandwiches, and we are off in two groups for a canyon hike and exploring in the park. More news at the end of day! We will try to send pictures but the connection is very weak.
P.S. We have access to very clean, individual pit toilets, with hand-washing stations with soap and foot-pumped water.
Students went on an afternoon walk around camp and did some scrambling on steep rocks. At the end of the hike, we had a Geology class with instructor Kyle, who is a specialist in the field. Granite formations abound in Joshua Tree National Park! Next, students took part in a discussion on the relationship between minerals and plants. Last, we had free time for journal-writing at 5pm then dinner (pasta) at 6:30. Everyone is doing well and enjoying the trip!
Our students are enjoying their first lunch in Pali, and the boys get to go on the new soccer field.
Later in the afternoon, they will have orienteering, and balloon rescue.
Dear 6th and 7th Grade Parents,
I just received word that our 6th graders have arrived safely at Joshua Tree and our 7th graders have arrived safely at Pali. I will continue to post updates as I receive them.
Mr. Jarlov reports from Joshua Tree: All is well and this afternoon we will get to know the area with a hike. But first, we will set up camp, pitch the tents, and have lunch. The temperature is nice – about 77ºF / 25ºC. Our first class today is about safety — staying hydrated, do’s and don’ts for the desert and on the rocks. We have three instructors – two men and one woman, in addition to our two chaperones.