The LivingLAB is a place-based program that creates a foundation for academic learning by developing a relationship with and understanding of the place where we live. Toward this end, students frequently visit the Willamette River (just a few blocks from school) during LivingLAB class time. Some recent highlights include:


For their US History class, grade 10 recently completed a canoe trek down the Willamette River from Oregon City, the first incorporated settlement west of the Rocky Mountains.  Students experienced the river as the nineteenth century settlers did, learning about the spiritual importance of the river for native tribes as well as the role it played in trade and transportation for the pioneers that followed the Oregon Trail.


Grade 2 brought the dry tinder bundles they made in math class (10 sticks/bundle) to the fire pit above the Willamette River and had a small bonfire, around which they sang the seasonal songs they have been learning from many traditions. Afterwards, the class sat on the dock and then, while exploring the beach, a sea lion and 3 seagulls put on a show trying to steal each other’s fish!


Grade 1 journeys to the river a couple times each month during their weekly nature walk. This week the students saw a bald eagle fly overhead as they explored the beach. When we returned to the school, a male Anna’s hummingbird was eating from the remaining persimmons. This nature walk revealed one of the largest birds in our region as well as one of the smallest.