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At Colorado's Durango High School, Students Explore Rivers from Many Angles

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    Alexis Margolin

Recently, students in Ryan Montgomery's sophomore class at Durango High School in Durango, CO enjoyed the rare opportunity to engage, in person, with the author of a book that is a major component of their current, river-oriented learning expedition. 

Kevin Fedarko's The Emerald Mile tells the story of three men who set the "human-powered" record for covering the length of the Grand Canyon's Colorado River. The book presented a perfect launching point for the students' river-oriented expedition. During Fedarko's visit, students took full advantage of the chance to discuss the book, as well as its connections to science, history, environmental studies, and voacbulary, with the author.

By the end of the semester in May, five sections – about 130 students – in teacher Ryan Montgomery’s sophomore English class will have learned water hydraulics on a classroom water table, visited the hydroelectric plant at Tacoma on the Animas River north of Durango, rafted on the Animas River and spent three days at Glen Canyon Dam, Antelope Canyon and the Powell Museum in Page, Arizona.

As the students work their way through the book, Fedarko spent two days with them last week, meeting separately with each class. Fedarko didn’t lecture, but took a Socratic approach to draw reaction from the young minds.

Read the full Durango Herald article here