Over the second half of the school year, I participated in a grant called America on the World Stage: Teaching American History. It is a grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, for teachers k-12 that teach all or some aspect of American history. After putting in long hours of researching and creating an "instructional kit" (I won't even go into the details of the bajillion things that had to be included in the kit), my project was accepted and published. Check out all of the kits here (the kits from the module I was in have not been posted as of 7/1/2011; however, check out past ones! They are great!) Reward: free trip to Colorado.
Now, this trip was not a vacation. I accidentally called it a vacay when we were there (anything that gets me out of my house is a vacay to me) and boy, did I get the evil eye... ;) But really, it was a professional development opportunity in which we explored the western perspective of westward movement and industrialization. We learned the impact that mining and toursim had on the West. We hiked 5, sometimes grueling, miles in the Rockies. We explored the Aspen Historical Society (while simultaneously keeping an eye out for celebs). We went 1,000 feet underground into a goldmine. And, we rode a train through deserted "ghost towns." I learned so many new things about the West on this trip; my eyes were truly opened to a different perspective of what we perceive to be "the West" and the impacts this area has had on the rest of our country. Below are pictures of some highlights from the trip.
Molly Kathleen Gold Mine. We explored the mine with a guide, learning how the mining process worked.