Science Teachers – PD in Costa Rica
– Observing the environment using all senses
– Insects as model organisms for scientific exploration, investigation, and curiosity
– Rainforest tree investigation
– Lesson development, exploration and implementation
– Agroforestry: designing and planting orchards
– Permaculture: Learning to produce food, build shelters and manufacture fuel while living responsibly
– Indigenous skills: learning about trapping, forest shelters and basketweaving in the rainforest
– Beach Day and a surf lesson!
– Zip lining in the Costa Rica jungle
As part of this program we will be using and developing lessons that can be used anywhere, not just Costa Rica. All of our lessons and workshops will be inquiry based and grounded in experiences outside in the natural world.
Costa Rica may not look like a typical classroom, but this country is a more than ideal setting to learn about environmental science and biology. While interacting with locals and exploring the unique flora and fauna around the country, teachers will develop fundamental knowledge and skills that will not only help them enhance their students science experience, but also gain a new perspective on learning outside the classroom. From environmental changes and how they relate to society, to sustainable agriculture and forestry.
Costa Rica is known for its progressive environmental policies, and is the only country to meet all five criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. On top of that, it is set to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021. These two reasons alone make Costa Rica the top choice to learn about environmental science.
Participants will bring everything they learn to life in the warm climate, including tree-planting, starting a local garden initiative, visiting local water and waste treatment plants, designing and building eco-structures. You won’t even realize you’re in a PD course while having the time of your life swimming, eating amazing local food, and hiking up the mountains for that one-of-a-kind sunset picture.
Jim lives and teaches high school in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. He teaches Biology, Environmental Science and an engineering course called Biomimicry and Modeling. He is a Senior Fellow of the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation and the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding New Biology Teacher of the Year from the National Association of Biology Teachers. Jim is an active outdoorsman, engaging in all manner of outdoor activities throughout the year.
Isaac is a biology teacher at a small, rural high school in Central Illinois where he uses his passion and training in entomology to help students understand the complexities of life. He has a passion for seeing the world, and has been fortunate to have research opportunities that have taken him in search of bumble bees all over the U.S. and beyond.
Day 1 - Travel to Costa Rica
Teachers from all over the USA and Canada will be joining us on this trip. We will all meet at SJO Juan Santamaria International Airport. After our last teacher arrives we will transfer to our Eco-Lodge.
Day 2 - Nature in the Classroom - Costa Rica
In the morning we will participate in a Ranch Tour and Orientation. The tour will particularly focus on the local rainforest and tropical ecology to prepare us for the days ahead. The eco lodge is an ideal setting to study and learn about biology, ecology, and human-environmental relations in a real (and beautiful) setting.
Over the next few days we will be focusing on the following:
- Introductions, logistics and expectations (How is this going to be different from other types of professional development?)
- Observing the environment using all the senses. The importance of observation in the development of curiosity and questioning.
- Mini-bio-blitz- What did you observe? What senses? What questions? Emotions?
- Introduce Sit Spot and observational journaling
- Insects as model organisms for scientific exploration, investigation, and curiosity.
- Play-dough caterpillar investigation
- Tree Investigation
- Basic tree ID (Leaf ID, Taxonomic Keys/field guides, and local expertise, “its okay to not be the expert”)
- Tree Ring Analysis leading to Ice Core Analysis (bringing the local experience into the global context)
- Lesson development, exploration and implementation (we showed you what we do and how we do it, now create it in your own context)
- Lesson share out, reflection and then celebration
- Next Steps… How do you actually make sure this happen… What happens in Costa Rica must NOT stay in Costa Rica.
Days 3 - 5 - Complementing Activities
Afternoons and some half days will be spend learning about sustainability and better living practices. Some of these activities will include the following:
Agroforestry: Designing and planting orchards in the tropics with the goal of producing food while building
Permaculture: Learning to produce food, build shelters and manufacture fuel while responsibly living in the tropics
Indigenous Skills: Learning about trapping, forest shelters and basketweaving in the rainforest
Natural Building: Learning to build with earth, bamboo and wood in the tropics
Biogas and Composting Toilets: Learning how to responsibly manage human waste in the tropics while recovering amazing resources (biogas, effluent, worm castings) from these systems
Homesteading Skills: Learning about a variety of invaluable skills to successfully live in the tropics
Please note that these activities will be led by our Eco-Lodge and Evolve Tours Staff.
Day 6 - Beach Time - Hermosa Beach
Today we make our way to the Beautiful Pacific Coast! We will start the day with a chance to do some zip lining and some surfing in the afternoon. No experience necessary for surfing! In the evening we will have our farewell dinner in the town of Jaco at one of our favourite Fish Taco spots!
Day 7 - Return Home
Begin our journey home after an inspirational and educationally inspiring trip to Costa Rica. We will have some time in San Jose to purchase some local artifacts and gifts for our colleagues back home.
Airfare IncludedIncludes return coach airfare from various States and Provinces
Ground TransportationAll ground transportation is provided by coach bus or van
Eco-LodgeStay with a clear mind at a locally run eco-lodge.
HotelBeach side hotel for a night
From the staple of black beans and rice (called pinto), to the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables: Costa Rican cuisine never disappoints. Banana’s bigger cousin, the plantain, is often fried up and served with breakfast, or put into soups and stews for the rest of the day.
Tres leche is the drool-worthy national dessert of Costa Rica, and consists of three layers of custard flan.
Don’t worry about refreshment, either, because refrescos (blended fresh fruit and ice) are sold on every corner.
* Organic meals while at the lodge. Vegetarian options available.
Costa Rica aims to be carbon neutral by 2021.
Places You’ll Visit
Eco-Lodge Costa Rica
Sustainable living, professional development and mind expansion in a beautiful setting
SJO International Airport
Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Spend a day surfing, zip lining and catching Pura vida