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Experiential Education

Winterim Blog 2021

Welcome to the 2021 blog for Dawson's Winterim programs. Posts are added as received, so scroll down to check in on what everyone is up to. Dates are the date posted to the blog, not necessarily the date the activity took place. Note: Some groups send information more frequently than others; keep checking in periodically to see the latest. 

Kindergarten 4.2.21-Morning

The kindergarteners had a great time on the last morning of Winterim going to the climbing gym with Dr. D! The students had so much fun challenging themselves and cheering on classmates.

Kindergarten 4.2.21-Afternoon

The kindergarteners had a blast building and problem solving in the Innovation Center with Mr. K. They made propellers, rockets, parachutes and marshmallow toothpick towers.  They adapted their creations to make them taller, faster or better. They also worked in teams to problem solve together.

1st Grade 4.1.21

First Grade had a blast on the obstacle course bounce house this morning!
- In the afternoon, our class went on an Earth Day themed scavenger hunt around Dawson. They used the clues to figure out where to go next and had a surprise waiting for them at each station. 
- Making bird feeders with Ms. Criswell out of peanut butter and seeds. 
- A delicious treat! Our class got to make dessert cups to represent the layers of the earth. The top was sprinkled with gummy worms! 

Kindergarten 4.1.21

The kindergarteners spent the morning doing an Earth Day scavenger hunt. The kindergarten parents set up stations with recycling games and nature crafts and the students solved riddles to find their way around the campus.  The final clue led them to a treasure chest with Earth Day themed prizes.

The afternoon was spent with Ms. Boyle. The kindergarteners practiced good sportsmanship and taking turns while going through the amazing bouncy obstacle course.

5th Grade 3.31.21

Our Tuesday was split between biking and byting.  Half the grade learned the basics of mountain biking, practicing riding stance, cornering, braking, coming down off drops, and hill climbing.  We were led by Melissa Barker, Coach Paul, and members of the US cyclocross team.  The time on two wheels gave us a new perspective on the lovely Dawson campus--especially on such a lovely spring day!  The other half of the class worked in the Innovation Center, jumping back and forth between Apple and Windows applications to create and print items on the laser engraver.  We learned the basics of Adobe Illustrator to create our designs, and then we sent them to the laser engraver/cutter.  We also worked on SWAPPS, which is a student-oriented 3D drawing (sculpting?) program that allowed us to manipulate shapes in a variety of ways in order to create 3D objects.  In the afternoon the two groups switched so that everyone had a chance to try out these new experiences. 

3rd Grade 3.31.21

3rd Graders tackled Flagstaff Mountain - amazing climbers!

3rd Grade 3.30.21

3rd grade is climbing the walls - literally! The photos are from Warrior playground and the climbing wall is in the aux gym. During the challenge course team building time, students had to refill the volcano/ plug it while staying outside the rim.  They worked together and we heard many kids ask if they could help each other.

4th Grade 3.30.21

4th graders went to The Spot climbing gym in Louisville and worked with instructors from the Colorado Mountain School. Students set individual goals and reflected on their successes throughout the day. We were amazed to see their tenacity and grit as they tackled the challenging obstacles and cheered each other on!

Sports Science 3.19.21

The Sports Science group finished out their fantastic Winterim week by presenting on a topic of their choice. Bryce Fetter kicked us off with describing and detailing how his doctor performed the Brostrom Procedure on his ankle. We all wish him a speedy recovery! Other topics included: hydration, sleep, pre-game meals, sports psychology, physical therapy, yoga, alcohol & drugs affecting performance, concussions, and even the Tom Brady diet (search it, so interesting)! In the afternoon we were able to finish off our trip by attending Ninja Nation and Top Golf. The obstacles were so challenging, exciting and competitive. After a successful week, the students had fun and learned a lot from each other. They all are excited to use these resources and make our Dawson athletic programs even better. Go Mustangs!

Interactive Installations 3.19.21

The Interactive Installations Winterim group made great progress on their two large scale projects this week. While there is still work to be done to complete the projects and prepare them to be put on display, the learning, creativity, collaboration, and problem solving was outstanding and the energy of the group at the end of the week was really positive. The group is excited to find additional opportunities to come together to complete the two projects after Spring Break.

Upcycled Furniture 3.19.21

Some amazing creations from our talented upcyclists! From a wine rack to fun repurposed ski furniture.

Our Liberation 3.19.21

After spending Thursday researching & planning a self-curated walking tour of Denver's Five Points neighborhood, we spent a wonderful day in Denver. Students guided one another through some of the neighborhood's most treasured buildings including Fire Station No. 3, the Rossinian/Baxter Hotel, and Temple Emmanuel, Colorado's oldest synagogue. We were treated to a powerful visit from Brother Jeff who runs a community center in Five Points. And the day was capped off with a delicious lunch from the Welton Street Cafe. 

Colorado Photography 3.19.21

On Thursday, during the day, the Colorado Photography group explored Uncle Benny's building supply and macro photography.  On Thursday evening we explored long exposure photography on campus.  
Check out our photos!

Board Game Design 3.19.21

Today, we're experimenting with the new games and expansion packs we're creating to see what tweaks to game strategy or mechanics are needed for improvement. We might be the first to play the world's next big board game!

Find Your Path 3.18.21

Thursday was a major moment: Interview Day. Each student led 3 interviews with volunteer professionals that included Dawson families, alums and other high-powered contacts, courtesy of our Winterim co-leader, Lindsay Burr '01. Our thanks go out to all who participated, we could not have done it without you! Later in the day, we met with the photography Winterim to enlist their help in capturing photos for our new LinkedIn profiles. Again, thanks to our photography friends for helping us make that work. On Friday, students will present at 1 PM, sharing themes and connections that came up in the interviews, plus share some action steps that they will take away from our week together. We're looking forward to it!

Snow & Ski 3.18.21

It was a blue sky day at Hidden Valley. We were back for round #2. We donned our skins and the students led as we climbed our way to trail ridge road making observations along the way. We dug snow pits to observe layers and test snow stability. And then for the descent... fresh powder was had by some while negotiating rapidly changing snow conditions due to the warm day. We will all sleep well tonight after back to back days of learning in the snow and earning our turns.

Photos: The group at the top ready to ski down;  Charlotte performing a snow stability test; he group on the way up making observations and decisions about which path to take.

Fly Fishing 3.18.21

The fish didn't bite as hard today, but the sun was shining and we had lots of fun.  Plus we got to play with a goggled puppy named Rio.  We were grateful to our guides from Rocky Mountain Anglers, and we left them with some Dawson hats as a thank you present.

Sleek Spinners 3.18.21

The wind tunnel is finished! The Electric Nine did a great job today assisting each other and analyzing their data sets to improve their designs. It was a great team effort! Tomorrow is when we test out some serious blades. 

Cooking Around the World 3.18.21

Today we cooked food from South America in the morning, and food from Africa in the afternoon. We made Arepa—a traditional breakfast from Venezuela—empanadas, Brazilian cream filled doughnuts, and pollo a la brasa with plantains. In the afternoon, we made falafel, Moroccan lamb, piri piri chicken with couscous, and malva pudding. A favorite dish of the day was the Brazilian cream filled doughnuts, and the sauce for the pollo a la brass was also excellent. Tomorrow we look forward to cooking dishes from Asia, and a whole half day of desserts as well.

SNOW & SKI 3.17.21

Today we took to the snow at Hidden Valley in Estes Park. After meeting our guides and learning about our rented equipment, we learned how to skin. Skins are thin synthetic material that sticks to the bottom of your skis and allows you to walk uphill. We learned how to use our safety equipment - beacon, shovel and probe - and had several simulated avalanche rescue drills. That sure does get the heart rate up! Finally, we skinned up to end the day with a fun ski run.
Photo 1: Olivia, Jack and Nolan in trying to find a buried avalanche beacon during a rescue drill
Photo 2: the group learning about our avalanche beacons

Jurassic Park 3.17.21

We spent the day at the Museum of Nature and Science. The Sue exhibit was the highlight of our day! We learned a lot about museum exhibits and can't wait to make our own tomorrow. 

HOPE for Longmont 3.17.21

On Tuesday, the group spent the day learning about homelessness from a representative who works at HOPE, as well as making menus and shopping lists, and shopping. Then the cooking started: The group made at least 70 meals for the homeless in Longmont today! Chili, burritos, enchiladas, pasta carbonara, lemony chicken and broccoli. It smelled amazing. The warm brownies for our afternoon treat were outstanding!

Colorado Photography 3.17.21

Exciting day for the Colorado Photography Winteirm.  We went to the Aquarium and the Butterfly Pavillion to practice our photo skills. Some student photos from today.

Cooking Around the World 3.17.21

After hours of planning and shopping at the local grocery store, we began our journey of cooking. We found our way to North America and began our exploration in Mexico for appetizers! A homemade sweet and spicy pineapple and mango salsa! This was to be enjoyed with homemade tortilla chips alongside a smoky red salsa. 

Moving to our main course, we decided to head north to Canada! This group made an authentic, unforgettable poutine dish. This dish consisted of homemade fries, gravy, and cheese curds, yum! 

Our second main dish took us to Honduras where we had the delight to consume traditional pork tamales. These corn husks provided us with the satisfaction of indulging in central american cuisine. 

And to finish off our North American adventure, we came back home to America for a sweet yet tangy dish. The dessert on this fine excursion was a gluten-free lemon meringue pie. This pie had the bakers moving around to create this complicated and exquisite dish. 

 After a much needed taste test of all of the yummy morning dishes, we took a break and came back to Europe for a plethora of new flavors! We started with an Italian appetizer. This appetizer was a bruschetta and charcuterie board. There was homemade mozzarella cheese, and artisan quickbread. 
The 1st main course took us to Spain for a family paella recipe. This recipe lacked rabbit and fish, but nonetheless, the chicken was satisfactory. Made in a fancy paella skillet, this sure had authenticity written all over it!
Our second main dish had us travel to England for a typical pub lunch meal of fish and chips. Deep fried fish and homemade fries, oops I mean chips,  was lovely! I sure would fancy some fish and chips right about now! 
And last but certainly not least, to finish our day with dessert from France. This dessert is typically a breakfast, but the sweetness allows for it to be a dessert. Our taste buds were blessed with nutella and fresh fruit crêpes! Au Revoir!

8th Grade Comics 3.17.21

It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through Winterim week!  The 8th Grade Comics Winterim is cruising.  On Tuesday, we opened with a creativity “stretch” – turning random lines and shapes into pictures.  Mr. Hess shared a pop culture-inspired presentation on the hero’s journey, allowing us to draw parallels between various archetypes and characters we know and love from film, TV, literature, and, of course, comics.  Here and there throughout the day, students read from some inspirational comics, including Marvel Origins and Ms. Marvel, and the graphic novel Feathers.
Students then had the cool opportunity of watching a special presentation given by Lonnie MF Allen, local cartoonist.  He taught us how to craft a compelling story with believable characters.  He reminded us that creativity must be practiced, and that the best thing to do as a budding cartoonist is to finish stories, even if you aren’t 100% satisfied with them.  The name of the game is practice!
On Wednesday, we started our day with a bit more reading, folding in passages from Scott McCloud’s brilliant works Understanding Comics and Making Comics, great resources for learning comics theory and practice. 
We then welcomed another respected cartoonist, the author and illustrator of Feathers, Jorge Corona.  Contrasting Lonnie’s talk, which focused on storytelling, Jorge taught us about illustration.  He shared techniques for adding perspective to scenes, drawing and adding detail to characters, and navigating through the creation process from thumbnails to pencil to ink.
So far, it seems our guest speakers have been the favorite part of Winterim for everyone.  Devrim explains, “I enjoyed it because it allowed us to see the views of people who know this stuff and are able to talk about it so seamlessly to people who are just starting out.”
Looking forward to tomorrow!

Board Game Strategy/Design 3.17.21

Today we're focusing on cooperative games, so we started the day with Forbidden Island. We will be headed to an escape room later to practice or teamwork and deductive skills!

Secrets, Spies, Ciphers 3.16.21

We started our first day of winterim off by deciphering a message in pigpen code, during this we learned what the pigpen code was and how to decipher their messages. These messages helped us get into our teams, and then we learned the Caesar cipher. The Caesar cipher is simple; it is just taking the alphabet and moving it over by a certain shift of letters. After that we engaged in a scavenger hunt where at each point we had to decipher messages using Caesar ciphers. In the afternoon, we learned about the Enigma, an incredibly advanced method of encrypting a message that was nearly impossible to decrypt during World War II. Only by using another machine, The Bombe, could they be effectively decrypted. We watched part of a movie called, “The Imitation Game” that was about how the machine to decrypt the Enigma was made at Bletchley Park by the team led by Alan Turing, with some creative liberties of course. We then proceeded to make our own paper Enigmas, which we will use this week to decipher Enigma codes.

Outdoor Adventures & Survival 3.16.21

From 7th grade Winterim group Outdoor Adventures + Survival Skills: Today students learned about wilderness first aid concepts...including treating cuts, identifying different types of burns, and preventing injuries due to lightning. We also learned how to tape a sprained ankle - something students can use even in the front country!


Greetings from Dawson's fossil excavation site! This morning, we discovered 7 different dinosaur skeletons!!! We spent the morning learning about fossils and digging up fossils from our sites. In the afternoon, we analyzed the fossils and built 3D dinosaur replicas while watching Jurassic Park. Tomorrow, we are off to the Museum of Nature and Science to find more dinosaurs and learn more about museum exhibits!


The Electric Nine got an immediate jolt this morning with a panel discussion with design, production, construction, and testing engineers at the internationally renown Wind Turbine Generator (WTG) company, Vestas. The students talked about the regional grid (WECC), Colorado’s consumption of energy, the renewable energy connection, and the materials of construction. They were introduced to terms like nacelles, yaw motors, wind roses, and high transmission power lines. The afternoon discussions centered on proper site location. The students participated in a guided activity on an Oklahoma site with specialists from the Colorado-based company, Apex.  Through the day, the students asked great questions to industry specialists as they started building their wind turbines. The week is off and running! 

Our Liberation 3.16.21

Students dug into the history of the Chicano Movement in Denver/Boulder through personal narratives, a documentary film, poetry, and reflected on their own goals and educational experiences. In the afternoon we were treated to a Zoom session with two social workers from the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN). Students got a crash course in immigration history, law, and the current landscape of policy & practice in the US. They offered insightful questions & observations throughout the day and are excited for a day at the CU campus tomorrow! 

Fly Fishing 3.16.21

Today the fly-fishing winterim group went to Rocky Mountain Anglers.  We learned to tie a few basic flies, got outfitted for boots and waders, got fishing licenses, and practiced casting.  Tomorrow they are taking us to the river. 

1st Grade 4.2.21-Morning

First Grade had a wonderful last day of Winterim. Our day started in the Innovation Center with Mr. K. There we got to try many different engineering projects. These ranged from coffee filter parachutes, making paper helicopters and ended by making marshmallow structures framed with toothpicks.

1st Grade 4.2.21-Afternoon

In the afternoon, our class took a field trip to The Spot. We were so impressed with their eagerness to climb and it was apparent how much fun they were having. We heard lots of great cheering for their friends the entire time.  

5th Grade 4.1.21

Our Thursday was filled with  challenge course activities and sculpting.  On the Dawson Challenge Course, Chris Schumann and 3 US students led half the class in team building and personal challenge activities.  After plugging the caldera of an active volcano by working together to toss chunks of lava back into the volcano, the group learned the basics of being on belay.  Everyone had a chance to climb on the rock wall, and then they were offered the chance to try out a variety of elements on the high ropes course.  

The other half of the class worked on creating three-dimensional art with two different projects.  Students used the found materials they had brought in (plus elements from Ms. Bell's fabulous stash) to create robots or other constructed figures.  Ms. Deininger, Ms. Smith, and the homeroom teachers worked the hot glue guns to help students join the items they had selected into a finished form.  Students also had a chance to work with Model Magic to create animal sculptures.  They had to consider their figures from all sides, planning their work so that there were no small pieces that could break off during drying or handling. 
After lunch, the groups switched so that everyone had the chance to experience both activities.  By the end of the day, we had a class full of intriguing figures--and happily worn-out students.

3rd Grade 4.1.21

The third graders spent a beautiful day hiking the South Mesa trail.  We enjoyed a day filled with nature finds, journaling, snow and mud.  We played many hilarious games of Poison Dart frog and even got tricky with some Word Ninja.  It was another great day!

2nd Grade 3.31.21

Second Grade had an awesome time tackling the challenge course with Mr. Schumann and Ms. Boyle.  
After lunch, we hopped in the bus and went to Warrior Playground where we spent the afternoon embracing our inner-Ninjas!

Kindergarten 3.31.21

Today Kindergarten enjoyed an Art Experience: Sculpture! We put into practice what we have learned this year about lines creating fun, energetic sculptures. We also created small, lollipop sculptures using modeling clay.

Kindergarten 3.30.21

In Kindergarten in the afternoon students learned how to do magic from magician Braden Carlisle!  Students loved watching a magic show and got time to practice their new magic tricks!  Next week the kindergarten students will perform a magic show for their 4th grade buddies.  Students made invitations to give to their 4th grade buddies on the day of the show next week. 

1st Grade 3.30.21

Ms. Parker read our class a book about magic during the morning. This got the kids excited for their special activity later that day- a magician!
After the read aloud, our class made invitations for their Third Grade Buddies, inviting them to their very own magic show. 

First Grade got to experience a magician, Braden Carlisle. Braden showed the kids many magic tricks and they even got to take home some magic trick supplies to show their families what they learned. 
Due to the cold and snowy weather, First Grade postponed their hike for a sunny day to come in April. Instead, we watched A Bug's Life, and brought the outside in. 

Modern American West 3.19.21

On Friday, the Modern American West group toured the History Colorado center in Downtown Denver and learned more about the Ute people through the museum's current "Written on the Land" exhibit. Students enjoyed wandering through the permanent collections as well, and got to engage with an interactive ski jump, a simulated dynamite detonation (in a model mine), and a Model T Ford! 
From there, the group enjoyed lunch at Sloan's Lake before taking a walking tour of the historic Five Points neighborhood. A beautiful and fun day for all!

Jurassic Park 3.19.21

Today, we went to the Morrison Natural History Museum and Dinosaur Ridge! We helped Paleontologists find and excavate bones at the history museum. We each got to try the tools that a Paleontologist would use. We also got to see baby dinosaurs fossils and prints! After a picnic lunch, we got to hang out with Bob (former geologist and volunteer tour guide at Dinosaur Ridge). He was really cool and taught us about the ridge. We saw lots of foot prints that made that site famous. We also learned about the rock formations in the area. 

Teens & Screens 3.19.21

From the red carpet: Photos from Dawson Film Festival 2021! Students spent the week watching and analyzing movies, and making creations of their own. (Watch for future viewing opportunities!)

Winners of Awards
Best Story- Libby Howenstein for "Under the (tik tok) Influence"
Most Artistic- Jake Amirani and Silas Gillett for "Drug Movie"
Best Film- Anya Chavez for "I Only Have Eyes for You"

8th Grade Comics 3.19.21

Whew! That week certainly flew by! The students finished up their comics today. They turned out great! After checking out everyone's comics, we rounded out the week with a celebratory comics-inspired film -- Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.

Musical Mad Dash 3.19.21

The Mad Dashers spent most of the day on stage polishing the show. Places! Roll cameras!! Now we'll capture this mad-dashed masterpiece!! Show time!!

Mosaics 3.19.21

And on our final day, the students applied the grout and then did all the finishing touches! Look at these pictures and know that your kids did every single part. Themselves.  Cutting the glass, designing and making tiles, attaching their glass pieces to form the design, grouting and then taking the grout off of the glass, leaving it only in the cracks. Amazing, amazing students!  A very special Thank you to our artist in residence, glass artist, Linda Billet

The wonderful finished product: DNA rendered as a mosaic! This photo does not begin to do it justice, with the level of detail and artistry. Dawson is excited to hang this soon in the Center for Innovation!

6th Grade Winterim 3.19.21

Rockets, rockets and more rockets were launched! Rube Goldberg contraptions were set off to catch mice (often successfully!). The carnival games were creative and the students had a blast! All of this was topped off with an end of the day party! 

6th Grade Winterim 3.18.21

“Mice” began being caught in Rube Goldberg contraptions. Rockets are getting coats of paint and creative designs so they’re ready for launch. Carnival games began being tested. 

Food, Glorious Food 3.18.21

On Thursday, the Food, Glorious Food 8th graders were back at Food Lab in Boulder, this time learning how to cook Japanese cuisine! Meanwhile, back at Dawson the 7th graders competed in a cupcake decorating challenge (judged by the 8th grade on their return to school).

Secrets, Spies, Ciphers 3.18.21

"Today we had so much fun in Winterim! We learned how to message using the Semaphore flag cipher, and we sent each other messages across the quad. We also learned about the Rail Fence and Shadow ciphers. In the afternoon, two amazing speakers from the NSA spoke about ciphers and machines, cybersecurity and the work of the NSA, and also demonstrated an original WWII German Enigma machine, so cool!"

Glassblowing 3.18.21

Glass blowing, we worked on large bowls today. Tomorrow is free choice. Can’t wait to see what everyone decides to make. 

Outdoor Adventures / Survival 3.18.21

Outdoor Adventures and Survival Skills had a busy day at Rabbit Mountain outside of Lyons! We split the entire group into two teams and each team created an "obstacle course" for the other team to follow using mapping technology. Each group was certainly sent on a creative route! There was a lot of bush whacking and off trail travel as everyone tackled some tough hiking today! In the end, everyone learned why designated trails are where they are!

Board Game Design 3.18.21

We're mastering social deduction games this morning - games that rely on players to manipulate information, for instance roles are secret and players may lie about what their goals or powers are - before we start creating our own games, reviews and guides!

Sports Science 3.17.21

The Sports Science group spent their morning at Ironworks Performance in Broomfield. Christian Backes and his staff focus on speed, strength, and explosive power. Their philosophy is that building more power will transition to more speed on the playing field. The students really enjoyed challenging themselves through a variety of weight training activities. The second half of the day was spent in the classroom learning about concussions. Dr. Reitz from the Colorado Concussion Clinic had an engaging and rich discussion with our student-athletes. The return to learning and return to playing sports is so different for every individual who suffers from a concussion. Our students have really enjoyed this experience and look forward to utilizing the best practices to improve themselves as student-athletes at Dawson. Can't wait for Day 3!

Picture Perfect 3.17.21

Picture Perfect Photography students spread their new photography wings at the Butterfly Pavilion this morning, followed by the Colorado Railroad Museum this afternoon. These 7th grade photographers had a blast putting their understanding of new compositional concepts as well as shutterspeed, aperture, and ISO to use today with interesting subject matter and surroundings!

Food, Glorious Food 3.17.21

What a day for our seventh grade chefs!  Under the guidance of Chef Chris at Food Lab, the Dawson crew whipped up fresh pasta and an herbaceous pesto that everyone devoured.  They worked on their knife skills, their pasta rolling and most impressively, their patience in waiting for the pasta to be ready.  Did you know that pasta isn't actually ready when it floats to the top of the boiling water?  Nope, that's a signal that it's close, but as our seventh grade chefs can tell you, only a taste test can truly tell you that your pasta is ready.

Glassblowing 3.17.21

Another cool day of glass blowing. We worked on tall drinking glasses.  After choosing their color, students learned how to blow out their glass and swing the glass to get the length they wanted. They then add a punty (metal rod with hot glass on the end), to their piece, so they could break off their glass from the blow pipe. They then opened the lip and shaped the glass to its final shape. 

Musical Mad Dash 3.17.21

From participant Ryan Orris:
"We started off by brainstorming ideas for our musical. After a while, we decided on a devil and angel going through time on a train. We then proceeded to start deciding on characters and casting. After deciding on characters and doing auditions we started to write a script."

Premise: On a Time Train, you have an Angel, a Devil, and a Chicken. 

Healthy Humans in Motion 3.17.21

Today in Healthy Humans in Motion, students learned about the six flavors of food: sweet, salty, sour, pungent, astringent, and bitter. and how each flavor contributes to our overall nutritional health.  After that, students measured, soaked, and chopped all their own ingredients to make their own Ultimate Rice Bowl.  Learning how to make a "jammy" egg (soft boiled egg) was particularly intriguing. While rice cooked, we made a tangy slaw made up of carrots, radishes, and spices.  After assembly, the kids devoured their bowls!  The day concluded with a relaxing yet challenging yoga class.

6th Grade Winterim 3.17.21

The building continues!  Carnival games are being made, dominos are falling as students test their Rube Goldberg machines, and rockets are one day closer to being ready to launch. 

GET ACTIVE: Fencing 3.17.21

“Get Active” Winterim students spent this afternoon session fencing at Northern Colorado Fencers. Untested the tutelage of two CU Boulder students, we learned how to use the equipment, en garde, advance, attack, lunge, and parry. 
After a day of Ninja and Fencing training, we will all sleep well tonight!

Food, Glorious Food 3.16.21

The 8th-grade Food, Glorious Food group made Vietnamese food at Food Lab in Boulder!


The following are pictures from the 8th grade students in the Healthy Humans in Motion winterim laughing and learning their way through a 1-hour fitness class with fitness expert Tara Laferrara. They participated in cardio relay races, ladder agility drills, wall sits, band exercises and so much more. 

MOSAICS 3.16.21

The students are making a three feet by ten feet glass mosaic of a DNA strand to be displayed in the Dawson Center for Innovation! They are learning the glass today with accomplished glass artist, Linda Billet.

Upcycled Furniture 3.16.21

Before you can upcycle the skis into furniture, you have dig them out from under the snow!

Interactive Installations 3.16.21

The Interactive Installations Winterim group has spent the last month or so brainstorming possible project ideas and today two ideas emerged as the projects that the students wanted to pursue and begin to prototype. We are keeping the actual project names and descriptions under wraps for now, but stay tuned for updates over the course of the week!

Picture Perfect Photography 3.16.21

Students in the Picture Perfect photography Winterim spent the day learning the basics of using their DSLR cameras, and then were sent around campus on a photo scavenger hunt. Work below by Bennett Gould, William Dorman, Emmy Hostelley, Bella Scarpero, Noah Harris.

5th Grade 4.2.21

The fifth graders practiced flexibility Friday today from start to finish! When we arrived at Ninja Nation we found we had to make alternative plans due to a glitch in the Ninja Nation scheduling system. The students (and teachers!) adjusted accordingly and we had a lovely day, walking and running around Waneka Lake, having a picnic in the park, playing on the playground, and stopping at Dairy Queen for a sweet treat on the way back to campus. In the afternoon the students learned about Middle School from a panel of 6th and 8th graders. We finished by practicing flexibility in a yoga session with Mrs. Vinson. Our ninja day will be rescheduled for another date in April using the new and improved Ninja Nation scheduling system!

2nd Grade 4.1.21

What a great day!
We had SO much fun exploring the trails up Flagstaff Mountain and climbing rock walls at the Crown Rock Trailhead!  
A big thank you to Dr. D for prepping us in the morning with a fun reading of: "How to Solve A Problem" and mindfully setting goals for our day. 
Thanks to the Colorado Mountain School for keeping us safe.  
Second graders are total ROCKstars!

1st Grade 3.31.21

Today First Grade enjoyed an Art Experience: Sculpture! Artists had fun with their first experience with papier-mâché. Our second sculpture experience focused on the American artist, Alexander Calder. Using wire and beads we created bright fish for our class “school”.

First Grade had an amazing morning with Ms. Bell and Ms. Deininger doing a special art project. Their first art project was to create a ginormous pencil using a toilet paper roll and cone shaped paper for the lead tip. They then got to paper mache plaster over their framework with gloves on. Eventually, they will have the opportunity to paint their pencil to look real-life in their next art class. Their second project was creating fish shaped mobiles out of pipe cleaners, beads, and copper wire. These will be hung in our classroom on display for the next couple of weeks.  

In the afternoon, First Grade got to ride around with the Avid4 Adventure crew. They had a blast riding on the gravel trail around Dawson and some even tried the obstacle course which had jumps. Ms. Nagpal and Ms. Thostenson even joined in on the bike riding fun! 

5th Grade 3.30.21

Fifth grade braved the snow and the cold temps to hike Rattlesnake Gulch Trail in Eldorado Canyon.  The trail was slick in spots and certainly muddy, but the students (and teachers!) persevered with plenty of laughter and no complaints!  Students practiced taking field notes and making observations in science journals along the way.  We stopped for lunch at the ruins of the Crags Hotel near the top of the trail, where each 5th grader wrote a story about how they think the Hotel burned down in the early 1900s (from dragon's fire to exploding unicorn lasers to lightning strikes). At the Continental Divide Overlook we stopped to take in the breathtaking views, took a few photo ops, and turned around to catch the bus back to Dawson.  What a fantastic start to our Winterim week!

2nd Grade 3.30.21

Second graders enjoyed learning magic tricks this morning with magician Braden Carlisle.  
This afternoon, we got to spend some time outside with the Avid team riding bikes around a challenge course.  

Snow & Ski 3.19.21

Today we were back on campus to cap off our Winterim week. We had two more professionals join us by zoom, Ethan Burns an Ecohydroligist at CU who helped us understand the relationship between snow, water and vegetation and Joel Grantz, the founder of Open Snow, a meteorologist who explained all the work that goes into weather and snow forecasting. If you want to know when there will be fresh snow to ski, visit Open Snow!
We also spend time reflecting on lessons learned while out in the snow and how we can bring this new learning back to our daily life. Our culminating activity asked the students to "guide" a backcountry ski trip. Each group was given a location, such as Red Mountain Pass or Rabbit Ears Pass, and they had to plan their outing. Students used their learning from the week to make complete avalanche and weather forecasts, list key safety gear, describe the route,  access slope angles and potential terrain traps along the route, and determine potential for skiing along the route.

Fly Fishing 3.19.21

Today we fished (unsuccessfully) in the St. Vrain.  The City of Lyons has done a lot of work to restore their riparian corridors after the 2013 flood and we met with Jessie Olson from the Lefthand Watershed Center who told us about the science behind the work.  Then we visited the Boulder Rod Club's "secret" fish hatchery where volunteers grow trout to stock the Boulder Creek Children's Fishing Pond.  Finally, we came back to campus, where we reflected on our week, cooked some trout on the Dawson grill (and ate it!), and celebrated Vikesh's 18th birthday with cupcakes.  It was a fun week, full of good friends and positive attitudes.


The Electric Crew came into competition day with lots of ideas! Wow! These students are amazing!

Outdoor Adventures & Survival 3.19.21

Outdoor Adventures and Survival Skills spent their day at Rocky Mountain National Park. Students went snowshoeing from Beak Lake to Dream Lake using trails generated by the mapping technology that they’ve practiced with all week. Students enjoyed beautiful views during lunch and perfect conditions for exploring the area!

Picture Perfect 3.19.21

Middle school student photographers at the Denver Zoo and Botanic Gardens.

Cooking Around the World 3.19.21

Today we made Asian cuisine and made some desserts from different countries. One group made chicken tikka masala with naan bread. It was all very good and looked amazing. This morning we made churros that were easy to make and tasted amazing. We had some surprise guests who loved the churros. In the afternoon we made some beignet and cafe ole. The coffee was great and the beignets were spectacular. Once the cooking was done, we celebrated with a full stomach and some fun conversation. 

Picture Perfect 3.19.21

Some gorgeous handiwork from the Picture Perfect photography crew.

Sports Science 3.18.21

The Sports Science group had a fantastic day with Dr. Matt Smith at REVO Physiotherapy and Sports Performance in Boulder. The company motto, "YOU HAVE ONE BODY. TAKE CARE OF IT.", sums up all the great Winterim opportunities this week! REVO engaged the students in many experiences like: videotaping and learning about proper knee angles when jumping, managing our center of mass, balance & core strength, and executing simple, not easy, exercises. The group was tired out after the fitness workout but deeply appreciated all the time and energy of the REVO staff. When we settled back into the classroom, the students enjoyed a rich discussion reflecting on this week and comparing the many experiences. Our first presentation of a Sports Science topic was presented by Tanner Simpson on concussions. His first hand experiences of playing hockey, lacrosse, and learning from the concussion specialist and research, made this subject a perfect choice for him. We're all looking forward to the rest of the presentations and learning more together on Friday!

Modern American West 3.18.21

Students in the Modern American West Winterim spent the day touring the Argo Mine and Mill in Idaho Springs! While there we not only learned about historical mining practices across the front range, but also about the environmental impact that mining has had on nearby towns and the environment ("Clear Creek" wasn't always so clear!). After fitting us with hard hats, our awesome guide Zach led us into the main tunnel of the Argo Mine and told us all about the mythical "Tommyknocker" and the dangers faced by Argo mine workers in the 20th century. To round out our tour, we got to try our hand at panning for gold!

HOPE for Longmont 3.18.21

Cooking to benefit the homeless population in Longmont. Today's menu: beef stew, jambalaya, shepherd's pie, fried rice, and hot wings!

MOSAICS 3.18.21

ALMOST FINISHED: All the glass is in place! Tomorrow we will apply the grout and finishing touches to this amazing mosaic rendering of DNA. We can’t wait to see it displayed in the Dawson Center for Innovation when we come back from break!

8th Grade Comics 3.18.21

The Comics Crew is really focused on making their original comics today.  Students shared their ideas with the class, which spanned apocalyptic wastelands to Soviet conflict to invisible powers and more!  With a wealth of knowledge on comics theory and practice accumulated on Tuesday and Wednesday, stories are starting to take shape and pen is meeting paper.  We even set up a lightbox allowing students to trace perspective grids onto their comics panels.  We'll continue to work on comics for the rest of the day, pausing here and there for comics-related activities, like Kahoot trivia!

Fly Fishing 3.17.21

Today the Fly Fishing Winterim tried out our new skills by fishing the Big Thompson River below Lake Estes.  Everyone caught at least one fish, thanks in part to our great guides from Rocky Mountain Anglers.  It was snowy, but not too cold, thanks to sunshine and good gear.  

Secrets, Spies, Ciphers 3.17.21

We spent most of today at The Clue Room in Centennial.  Each student was able to play two full games from: Spy Ops, Shadow Gallery, Spy Chamber, and Nautilus. We competed in our teams but, unfortunately, none of us were able to escape during round 1, but all of us escaped during round 2! It was fun to explore and pick up some ideas for our team builds on Friday, and to use some of the ciphers we learned yesterday.  

Sleek Spinners 3.17.21

The Electric Nine were really going for it today! We started off the day with a virtual 300 foot tower climb to a nacelle in Illinois where we listened in on a conversation between an engineer and the control center in Charlottesville VA. The discussion was about the volts generated by the windmill and their transition to alternating current for the trip beyond the substation. We followed that up with some construction of our own. We built towers and blades and connected them to generators and resistors. We even began to test them to see their capabilities. The students are fired up to create even more efficient blades tomorrow!

MOSAICS 3.17.21

After firing the students’ hand made tiles, they began cutting and positioning the glass and the adhering it to the mosaic surface. By the end of the day - progress!

Upcycled Furniture 3.17.21

The Upcycled Furniture Winterim group put in a full day! The crew removed ski bindings, sawed through skis, and built wooden frames for their ski chairs and benches. Seriously strong progress today!  Their projects are really starting to take shape! Tune in for more spectacular designs tomorrow.

Our Liberation 3.17.21

Students in the Our Liberation: The BIPOC Experience Winterim had a powerful and fulfilling day exploring the history of Los Seis de Boulder. We began the day with a Zoom call with artist & activist Jasmine Baetz who led a public art project honoring Los Seis while she was an MFA student at CU Boulder. Baetz shared with our students the process of coalition-building, working with the university and facilitating a permanent public art project. We then visited two memorials to Los Seis, the first at Chautauqua Park and the second on the CU campus. Our two Student Leaders also led us in a guided discussion entitled Hidden in Plain Sight inspired by their work at the SDLC (Student Diversity Leadership Conference). 

Outdoor Adventures & Survival 3.17.21

Today, students learned how to use the CalTopo online resource to build topographical maps of areas around us. Students then imported maps onto their smartphones using the Avenza app. The app allowed students to track their progress along trails they had created online. After students learned the technique, they spent the afternoon in two groups building maps on the CalTopo website that the other group will follow tomorrow in a nearby open space.

Find Your Path 3.17.21

Today in the Find Your Path Winterim, we had our second panel discussion with 3 different wonderful volunteers, then a 'draft' of available people to interview 1 on 1 on Thursday. We learned how to reach out, ask for an interview, and to schedule and confirm it. We also are creating our own LinkedIn pages and professional resumes this afternoon. How do you know what to ask? How do you ask good follow up questions? We are digging in deep on these questions!

We talked about the Myers Briggs personality assessment, and people got results from their taking it yesterday. Now, we are examining what the different pairs mean, how to understand your type. Extrovert - Introvert, Sensate - Intuitive, Thinking - Feeling, Judging - Perceiving.
As we move forward, we are planning for tomorrow's panel and Thursday's interviews.

GET ACTIVE: Ninja Nation 3.17.21

Students from the Get Active Winterim (7th and 8th grade) spent the morning training and competing in events at Ninja Nation in Lafayette. Get Active participants are exploring non-traditional sports all week, including obstacle course racing, fencing, dance, and rock climbing. 

Upcycled Furniture 3.16.21

After completing  their rigorous safety training, Rory Matheson, Henry Heathwood, and Jonas Ricke dig out skis and snowboards in preparation for making benches and chairs as part of the Upcycled Furniture Winterim. We are looking forward to seeing the builds begin tomorrow!

Snow Science 3.16.21

The Snow Winterim got right in the new snow today! We dug snow pits to examine layers, snow temperature variation and assess snow hardness. We also used wooden avalanche models to explore how slope angle affects an avalanche with different "ingredients." Students used granulated sugar, cornmeal and flour to simulate different types and layers of snow. 

Sports Science 3.16.21

The Sports Science Winterim had a blast learning from some Dawson professionals! Athletic Trainer, Sydney Baumgartner, taught the students how to tape ankles and preventative exercises to strengthen their feet. Dawson’s own, Anna Vinson, taught a yoga class and challenged students to increase their flexibility, mobility and core strength. Finally, SAGE Dining’s own, Chef Ashley, discussed easy nutrition guidance during Dawson lunches and how their Spotlight color will help students build their plate based on on their personal and dietary preferences. Next time you eat in the Dining Hall, look for the green, yellow and red dots. Eat a variety of Green, strike a balance with Yellow, and enjoy Red in moderation!

6th Grade Winterim 3.16.21

We kicked off the day with delicious cinnamon rolls thanks to Sage. Students learned about probability and began planning their own carnival games. They got an idea about what Rube Goldberg contraptions are and were began tinkering. Also, they got started with rocket building! In between all that we had fun with a snowperson building competition judges on cutest, biggest, and most symmetrical. 

Glassblowing 3.16.21

A wonderful day of glass blowing. Students  learned how to twist and turn the hot glass into the shape they wanted for their paper weights. Tomorrow we begin blowing tall drinking glasses.