During the summer of 2015, Alaska Geographic hosted a brand new training that invited Denali Borough School District teachers to discover inquiry-based learning during a week of intensive exploration in Denali National Park and Preserve. Teachers were given the opportunity to learn about Denali by being out in the park while discovering techniques to incorporate inquiry-based learning into their classrooms.
The teachers did everything from meeting with park researchers and discovering current science happening in the park to spending time hiking and enjoying the natural wonders that surrounded them. After the experience teachers had nothing but positive comments for the program.
Local teacher, Paul Homan, had this to say about the program,
“As a teacher, I want to encourage my students to be curious and ask questions. I don’t want to just “pour knowledge” into their heads for them to figure out. I want them to investigate and explore on their own to discover answers and information for themselves. This is sometimes difficult to accomplish when I forget that learning doesn’t only have to happen within my classroom walls. After this retreat, I have a rejuvenated vision of how to increase my student’s eagerness to learn by using the tools and components of the inquiry mindset that were introduced, defined, and put into action. This class was very inspiring and engaging. It was great to be the learner again! “