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Exploring Junior Year

“I’ve been thinking about seeing.  There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises.  The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand.  But – and this is the point – who gets excited by a mere penny? …but if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.  It is that simple. What you see is what you get.”
– Annie Dillard

Fall: The Pond Profile


The pond profile is a month-long biological and social investigation of a local pond. Student teams sample 10 ponds in Eagan for water quality, vegetation, and fish/ macroinvertebrates which all give insight into the health of the pond. They analyze and write their data into a report that is presented to the City of Eagan.

Winter: Human and Animal Adaptations

Students creating an Ojibwe Snow Snake snow sculpture

Through study of organisms' adaptations to winter, human adaptations and technologies to brave the cold (old and new), and direct experience interpreting winter outdoors, students come to understand core principles of survival in our northern climate.  This unit culminates in an overnight experience at Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement, staying at a wood-fire heated cabin and cooking a meal over the fire.

Spring: Deciduous Forest - Our Own Biome!

4th grade students on junior's  teaching day

All Juniors plan a 2-hour series of outdoor lesson on the deciduous forest for local District 196 4th graders who come to learn and bond. Lesson plans, activities, and creative play make this a one-of-a-kind way to assess our juniors understanding of the forest.