Welcome to the 2023 Dawson Winterim Blog!

Each spring at Dawson, students of every age engage in hands-on learning. They do this by diving deeper into an area of study, learning a new culture, developing a new passion, and exploring our world. 

This blog is meant to give you a taste of the fun-filled days that our students get to experience.

During the three weeks of various K-12 Winterims, our communications department will add stories as they are received.

*The featured dates are the dates of the blog submission, not always when the activity occurred. 

Winterim Week

On day one of Lower School Winterim, all students K-5 worked on a hands-on, collaborative activity called Project Spaceship. The kids were given various upcycled materials and asked to design/build an imaginative spacecraft. 

After that, they were given a menu of extension activities ranging from creating an iMovie or Stop Motion film to building auxiliary stomp rockets. Finally, the day culminated with a "show-and-tell" activity in the Lower School music room where students could share their work with others.

 It was a fun, creative, and engaging first day. Next are field trips to the CU Museum of Natural History and the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Day 2
Today the Green, Purple, and Orange teams went to the CU Museum of Natural History to learn about Colorado's past. It was a great experience with a variety of cool activities. The students learned about fossils found in the local area, did some excavating of their own, and learned about the first humans in our region and how they lived.
The Yellow, Blue, and Red teams went to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, where they watched a Dome Show called CAPCOM GO: The Apollo Story and explored the Museum Gallery.  
Both trips got double thumbs up from teachers and students alike. Tomorrow we'll swap trips to see what the others learned.

Day 3
Today the Yellow, Blue, and Red teams went to the CU Museum of Natural History to learn about Colorado's past, while the Green, Purple, and Orange teams braved a "Wintry Mix" on their way to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery where they watched a Dome Show called CAPCOM GO: The Apollo Story and explored the Museum Gallery.  Both trips once again got rave reviews.

Final Day
The Lower School ended our Winterim week with two fantastic performances from the Arvada Center.  We also watched the "traditional" movie selected by our Town Council Representatives: Space Jam.  It was a fantastic week all around.  

March 17, 2023

The Carlsbad Caving Winterim
The Carlsbad Caving Winterim group has had a wonderful first two days learning about cave restoration, conservation, and bat habitats. We spent our first day meeting over Zoom with a local expert who will be working with us in Carlsbad.

He introduced us to his extensive work in the field of cave restoration. We then turned our afternoon towards constructing bat houses which we hope will eventually find permanent homes on Dawson's campus. Students cut and stained the components and will be assembling them on Friday.

Today, Thursday, we traveled to Cave of the Winds in Manitou Springs. We toured many cave rooms, getting close to stalactites, stalagmites, and other amazing features. It was a fantastic primer for the incredible wonders we will see next week in New Mexico.

Day 2
The Carlsbad Caving Winterim had a fun final day on campus. The morning was spent assembling our bat houses with students using drills and caulking guns. We then transitioned to the Dawson Challenge Course, where faculty member Chris Schuhmann taught the students how to self-rescue from a cave. Luckily we won't find ourselves in such a situation in the field, but they learned some useful knots and got a good workout in pulling themselves up the ropes. The afternoon consisted of a documentary film, The Ario Dream, about cave divers connecting some of Europe's deepest caves. We then rounded out the day with logistics for packing, our travel day, and answering final questions.
We look forward to hitting the road on Monday! 

Sports Science for All Abilities Winterim
Elizabeth Aslin, Northeast Regional Manager for Special Olympics Colorado, introduced us to their athletic programs. Special Olympics has provided competitive opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities for over 40 years.

One such athlete, Jeff, spoke to us about how the program improved his sports skills, fitness level, confidence, and leadership abilities. After lunch, Jeff and Carlton, another Special Olympics athlete, joined us on the pickleball court.

We closed the day with a conversation with Sage’s head chef, Helen, who explained how we could use Sage’s Spotlight symbols to choose healthy eating and improve sports performance.
EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Winterim
EGOT is off and running. Students have begun learning Tony-Winning Dances and filming scenes from Oscar-winning movies. 
New Orleans Winterim
On Thursday, the New Orleans Winterim went to The Cooking School in Fort Collins to learn about and make cajun cuisine. We made gumbo, cajun cake, maque chux, and cheese grits. 

We spent our last on-campus day learning about jazz's influence on New Orleans! We are excited to see some live shows next week. We also learned about Mardi Gras and made shoebox Mardi Gras floats and ate beignets!
We are looking forward to being in New Orleans on Monday. 

NOLA 3/20
We made it to New Orleans! After a day of travel, we explored the French Quarter. We went to the voodoo museum and learned about the voodoo culture. We also explored Jackson Park and the beautiful cathedral. After a last-minute switch, we had dinner and ended the first night at Cafe du Monde! 

MARCH 16, 2023

Where Does Your Food Come From Winterim 

After setting some norms and establishing some goals for our winterim, we watched most of a documentary to learn how food in the U.S. gets to our grocery stores. 

After lunch, we got our hands dirty in the Dawson garden. We took a shopping trip to Lowe's to buy some equipment and finished our day by visiting McConnell & Son's Garden Center to learn what it takes to plant and grow some of the food we hope to cultivate in the Dawson garden. 

Most importantly, we found our mascot for the winterim:  Roger the Frog!

Bread, Cheese, and Chocolate Winterim 

The Upper School Bread, Cheese, and Chocolate Winterim spent the morning with Miche Bacher making toffee, ganache, and praline. Half the students learned how to dip and enrobe chocolate in the afternoon.

They also made their chocolate bars. Then the rest of the students traveled to peace, love, and chocolate to make chocolate lava cakes.
Upper School Bahamas Winterim Preparation

Day 1
The Bahamas Winterim went to the Denver aquarium to study biodiversity and to acquaint ourselves with some of the life forms we are likely to see in the mangroves and coral reefs of the Bahamas.
Backcountry Ski Winterim

Day 1

The Backcountry Ski group had three main goals: introduce the team to each other, establish the importance of communication and tuning in to the environment and team needs, and familiarize everyone with the basics of avalanche safety and awareness in the backcountry. What better way to get to know each other than working through increasingly more difficult challenges on Dawson's super skis? This year's group made fast work of the task, establishing effective methods of communication and getting a sense of what it feels like to be in rhythm with a group. In one scenario, the team thought they could do it faster if given another chance and ultimately cut their time nearly in half!
To explore the many ways snow can accumulate and the diverse conditions that can lead to slides, the group simulated avalanches on our homemade avy boards. With the ability to adjust the incline angle, our team recreated dry-loose, wet-loose, and slab avalanches using combinations of granulated sugar, powdered sugar, flour, and cornmeal. In addition, they may or may not have invented a new dough recipe for a very unhealthy "bread" that will be submitted to the "Bread, Cheese, and Chocolate" winterim.

In between it all, games were played, laughs were shared, and a lot of excitement was built, looking ahead to our shared time in the huts of the San Juan Mountains. So join us in hoping for welcoming conditions!  

Adventure Leader Winterim Training

Upper School Adventure Leaders began their leadership training and got to know their 6th-grade buddies.

Students worked with Mr. Schuhmann on team building, played kickball and soccer with 6th-grade students, and observed middle school classes to learn about different teaching and behavior management strategies.

The day concluded with a closing circle with Ms. Medler that included a lot of laughter!

Today, the 6th grade and the Upper School Adventure Leaders left for their Cal-Wood adventure. The day included a short hike, learning how to do chores, and a collaborative group game before bed. The Adventure Leaders used activities they learned from Mr. Schuhmann and did an excellent job managing a group of excited middle schoolers! The teachers are very proud of everyone! 
Fabulous Fabrics and Fibers Winterim 

We started with some cross-stitch basics on Wednesday, and students got to design their own projects. Then, in the afternoon, we went to the Longmont Yarn Shoppe for our first crochet lesson - we started a pair of wristwarmers!

Thursday, we began our day with a visit from Izzi Hillam, who shared her knitting machines with us and helped us create stuffed gnomes that we think are absolutely adorable.

Day 2
Today we went down to the Denver Art Museum. We started with a guided tour of the Rugged Beauty exhibit about textiles from Asia, then had an artists' workshop where we got to experiment with different materials on individual projects of our own. We ended with some time to explore the Indigenous Art exhibit where we saw even more examples of weaving. It was a great day!

March 14, 2023

MS Scuba Certification Winterim 

Our students have taken their first breaths underwater! Our very-experienced instructors led us, and after several classroom sessions, we put on the scuba tanks and began to explore.

Our group was magnificent! We learned about buoyancy, controlling our breathing, what to do if some water seeps into our masks, and how to propel ourselves smoothly through the water. In addition, we had time to explore the deep end of the pool.

Some students did underwater backflips, while others tried to get their faces as close to a target as possible without touching it. Everyone made a lot of bubbles, and there were smiles all around as we surfaced.

We look forward to returning under the waves as we continue working towards our SSI Open Water certification. But ultimately, we will head to Utah to certify that we are excellent scuba divers!

Today has been a fantastic day! All of our students took and passed their SSI Open Water exams. They have been working for two months to understand the material. I am so happy for them! After the exam, we had an opportunity to improve our skills as Scuba divers. We worked on our buoyancy control and practiced some emergency response procedures. We completely removed our BCs underwater and put them back on correctly. We practiced what to do if your dive buddy signals that they are out of air. We even practiced guiding divers to a destination without being able to see. The students were calm and confident in the water. The instructors were pleased with them! All in all, this was a fantastic day!

March 13, 2023

Fifth Grade at Keystone Science School

We had quite an adventurous first day at Keystone Science School! We arrived around noon, ate lunch, then immediately got fitted for our skis and boots and learned how to cross-country ski.

We practiced on the KSS campus for a few hours, even trying downhill moments and jumps! We look forward to taking our skis onto the trails tomorrow to learn about snow science and complete some science journals and activities.

After our first skiing experience, students had some flex time, some choosing to practice even more skiing, others learning how to make friendship bracelets, playing basketball, and getting settled in their rooms. Our hoppers learned how to set the table at dinner, deliver dinner orders to the kitchen, and clean up after themselves.

Our evening activities included building towers from slippers and sunglasses, creating stories about various items and creatures, and an impressive fashion show! We look forward to all the fun and learning tomorrow has in store!