Examples of courses offered:

Science and the Environment: In this foundational science course, freshmen learn the building blocks of scientific study through the lens of the natural world. Students use the CES as their indoor classroom, and the Living Lab as their outdoor classroom. In the Living Lab students gain experience with hands-on, outdoor science labs that mimic scientific field research. For example, freshmen add to our ongoing forestry study by measuring trees in the Lab, and monitor the growth of a marigold from seed, and learn how to test water quality “in the field” using our Living Lab pond.

Spiritual Ecology: This elective course for upperclassmen provides students with both a conceptual and applied understanding of spiritual ecology. Through theological reflection, experiential place-based learning in the Living Lab, and anthropological study, students study different religious and cultural notions of environmental stewardship and (in)justice. The studies and activities in this course will call on students to work regularly in nature, and to develop tangible pathways to put kinship with creation into daily practice. Furthermore, the course invites students to work personally and collectively as catalysts for bringing forward an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet.

Examples of individual lessons in other courses:

Advanced Placement Human Geography examines the ways patterns of migration, politics, culture, urbanization and industrialization impact environmental and social sustainability at various scales.

“During our study of agricultural and rural land use, students zoom in to the local level by learning about sustainable approaches to farming and animal husbandry through hands-on lessons run by our Living Lab educators,” -Sarah Bremer, Social Studies Teacher

English classes use the Living Lab is the perfect space for Expository Writing students to practice incorporating imagery in their descriptive writing.

“Being dislocated from their routine helps them see and experience things in a different way and be more in tune to what they want to present to their audience as writers. Tasting tomatoes off the vine, watching fish swim in the pond, and listening to the rustle of leave in the trees brings the subject matter to light in a way that being within the four walls of classroom can’t.” -Jessica Murach, English Teacher

Geometry students look for geometric themes in nature, such as parallel lines in tree trunks, angle relationships among branches, and the golden spiral in flowers.

“Conducting class in the Living Lab helped the students to see how geometric themes are all around us, and how nature expresses geometry. Our time in the Living Lab helps students appreciate geometry as a way to interface with and appreciate the beauty of God’s creation,” -Willie Van Doren, Mathematics Teacher

Recognition

Thanks to the opportunities and discoveries provided through CES, Living Lab, and curricular integration, our students and staff have been recognized for their innovative and inspiring passion for the natural world. Read below for some recent examples:

Where Learning Happens in the Living Lab

(Click to enlarge)

Diagram of where learning happens in the Living Lab