In-person school programs resume in several states

We’re excited to announce that CaveSim staff and volunteers have received the COVID vaccine, and we have resumed in-person CaveSim programs at school in several states.  Last week, the mobile cave was in Jackson, Mississippi for a 4-day program for 6th and 7th graders at Jackson Academy.  In addition to exploring the mobile cave, students learned about physics on the 12-foot CaveSim tower, practiced teamwork with our Skedco stretcher, learned about bats with high-energy games, and practiced math skills while squeezing through the CaveSim squeezebox.  Students also did numerous hands-on labs, including the flashlight engineering lab and the slime mold biology lab.

We also recently deployed CaveSim to Aurora Hills Middle School for an after school program for low-income students.  The students loved the program, and several students used harnesses and ascending gear to climb the 12-foot ropes tower.

Online educational programs going strong

Over the past six weeks, we’ve done 12 days of online programs for elementary and middle-school students in Colorado and Texas.  We’ve worked with as many as six classes per day, and the online classes are aligned with the curriculum that teachers are covering.  The programs include hands-on labs that students can do with simple household materials, and cover a wide range of science topics, including physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science.  Some of the programs have been conducted in both English and Spanish, and all programs help students with math and language skills.


Live online program for Centennial Elementary School, Harrison School District, Colorado Springs

We were so excited to work with about 40 5th grade students today. The students learned about chemistry through exciting demonstrations with carbide lamps and a hands-on lab with acids and bases. This was the first in a series of 8 lessons for 4th and 5th grade, and is supported by a grant from First Tech Federal Credit Union. We had two classes of students in the classroom, plus quite a few online learners. Thank you to Vinessa at Centennial Elementary for collaborating with us on this program.

Dave Jackson demonstrates a homemade carbide lamp that allows students to see the carbide-water exothermic reaction.


Dave demonstrates a working antique carbide lamp

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers gives award to CaveSim’s Dave Jackson

“I am so honored to have received the 2020 Mayor’s Young Leader Award in the category of Creative Industry for my work with CaveSim. Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners in all six categories! Thank you so much to the amazing staff at the Colorado Springs Mayor’s Office, and to Mayor John Suthers for lifting up our community by highlighting the work that young professionals are doing to make Colorado Springs a exceptional place.” Dave Jackson

A message from Mayor Suthers:

The quality of work presented by this year’s Mayor’s Young Leader Award finalists was exceptional. I am consistently pleased with the young professionals who are serving Colorado Springs across all industries and am grateful for their contributions to strengthening our community. The 2020 winners are fantastic representatives of Olympic City USA, and I look forward to following their future success.

Congratulations to the six winners and all of the finalists!
• David Siegel, Bee Vradenburg Foundation – Community & Economic Impact
• David Jackson, CaveSim – Creative Industry
• Dr. Carole Frye, Colorado Springs School District 11 – Education
• Tech. Sgt. Jeremy Parks, U.S. Air Force – Military Leader
• Timothy Corner, Man 2 Machine – Sports & Wellness
• Rodney Gullatte Jr., Firma IT Solutions and Services – Technology & Sustainability

7th grade chemistry lessons for Grove Middle School, Grove, OK

We did 4 1-hour lessons for 7th grade students in Mrs. Hampton’s class today. The students had a great time with hands-on chemistry experiments involving safe household acids and bases. We also used carbide to teach the students about exothermic reactions, conservation of matter, states of matter, and the ideal gas law. We were able to seamlessly work though internet connectivity issues by utilizing our recorded lessons for one of the four classes. The students are learning about the metric system, so we used our gram balance to help students get familiar with metric mass measurements.

Eagle Valley Elementary 4th grade online program, Eagle, CO

4th grades in Ms. Espinosa’s class learned how caves form with exciting hands-on geology labs. We worked with this great school last semester, and we’re excited to be invited back for a series of classes for 4th and 5th grade.

2nd Live Distance Learning Program for Girl Scouts in Virginia

This was our 2nd hour-long program for the Adventure Caravan Virtual Camp in Virginia. Girl Scouts in grades 6-8 (plus a few in elementary school) learned about geology, groundwater conservation, and cave biology. The girls got to do a variety of hands-on activities with simple materials that they gathered at home.

Two Live Distance Learning Sessions for Pinnacle Charter School, Denver, CO

Pinnacle Charter School had so many 4th & 5th grade students enrolled in their summer program that we did two back-to-back 90 minute classes! The students learned about the physics of vertical caving (with hands-on at-home experiments as well as demonstrations on our 12′ caving tower).  We also did combustion experiments with carbide lamps to demonstrate numerous chemistry concepts, including exothermic reactions, conservation of mass, and states of matter.  The students also learned about waves and energy, and got to make their own simple phones.

Live Distance Learning Program for Girl Scouts in Virginia

This was our first hour-long program for the Adventure Caravan Virtual Camp in Virginia. Girl Scouts in grades 6-8 (plus a few in elementary school) learned about the physics of vertical caving with demonstrations on our 12′ vertical caving tower. The girls got to do a variety of hands-on activities with simple materials from home.

Live Distance Learning Program for Park Elementary School, Durango, CO

During our live online class, a 4th grader asked, “Why are you so cool?” Dave’s reply: “I haven’t always been cool. I used to sit behind a desk all day. But I figured out that if you do what you love then you’ll love working. When you’re excited about what you do, other people get excited. You can do that too.”

2nd Live Distance Learning Session for Queen Palmer Elementary, Colorado Springs

During this live online class, students created their own karst topography (cave landforms) and added water to their models to produce sinkholes in real time. The class was originally scheduled for 50 minutes, but we extended it to 90 minutes to ensure that all of the students successfully completed their projects despite limited materials. Queen Palmer is a Title I school, and many students don’t have access to even the most basic materials (including paper cups, string, and tape). But these students are very creative, and made our labs work with the materials that they do have at home.

Cub Scout program, Edmond, OK

This was a fun 1-hour program for about 50 Cub Scouts at Cross Timbers Elementary School.  Thanks to our friend Scott Hall for organizing the program.