Semester 31: We Think Academics at HMI are Pretty Cool

We Think Academics at HMI Are Pretty Cool…

Academics, perhaps to the surprise of some, are one of the main factors that contribute to us really loving it here at HMI.  One of the main tenants of every class is for everyone to grasp certain cornerstone understandings in each subject area and be able to grow those understandings for future use.  Math at HMI, for example, isn’t focused so much on answers but more on the basic understandings of what and why the operations you’re performing work and on your ability to then use that information in other contexts and situations.  This style of learning hasn’t been easy for everyone, but we’re starting to recognize that it allows us better recall of information and more advanced application later.

Additionally, we really feel like the teachers care about us!  We know that they want us to understand and to succeed.  Teachers are so passionate about what they teach, and it makes classes a ton of fun.   We can tell they’re invested in us because they’re very open and want to share their knowledge with us—it motivates us as students to learn and to do our best work.  Our history teacher, Matt, focuses on the motives of history rather than just on events and timelines.  He tells
us hilarious stories (and uses props) that help us remember a lot more about what went on in United States history, why, and how it contributes to why the United States is the way it is today.  Often, we’re guiding our own learning—discovering as we go along.  It can be challenging, but we know our teachers are there for support.  When we do get it, it feels so much more rewarding!

Lastly, we get to go out and do stuff in classes—especially with Rob in science!  We spend almost every class outside.  Once a week, we have a three-hour lab block where we throw on our hiking boots, grab our possibles bags, load into the vans, and head out to explore new areas around HMI.  Our first unit was on geology, and it is exciting that we can utilize our surroundings to not only identify rocks but also to understand why and when they were formed.  We’ve been living in Leadville and hiking around in the Rocky Mountains during our labs and our expeditions, all while learning about the creation and formation of the rocks and mountains around us.  Rob’s method of hiking and teaching outside helps us stay genuinely interested in what we’re learning and it makes us realize how connected everything is.

We’ve had a really busy week of classes this week—tying up loose ends before heading out on our next expedition.  We’ll report on some of the other things that kept us busy this week before we leave on expedition number two!

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