This was an amazing 3-day program for over 600 students, preschool through 5th grade. We even had another school (Sanchez Elementary) bring their students over to Ryan Elementary so that they could benefit from the program without having to pay for transportation of the cave system. A huge thanks to PE teacher Beth Buchanan for bringing us in, and to Patricia Malone and all the parent volunteers for working with the students.
Students eagerly listen as Dave explains how CaveSim works.
Students eagerly peer at a bat skeleton encased in glass.
Pre-school children try the cave rescue stretcher.
Dave demonstrates a working carbide lamp. Photos above are by Beth Buchanan and other Ryan Elementary staff.
This was a fun, completely free weekend caving trip with a group of highly-capable high school students from The University School. Kudos to Cole Paris, who is the outdoor leadership teacher at The University School. A big thanks to trip leader Todd Warren for co-leading this great trip!
The amazing photos above are by Sam Glass, 6th grade student in Mr. Roger’s class at Arrowwood Elementary School.
The fantastic photos above are by Nick Bennett, 6th grader in Mr. Roger’s class at Arrowwood Elementary School.
During this 2-day program, 235 students in preschool through 4th grade experienced CaveSim and three of our other educational stations, including our 12′ ropes tower. A big thanks to Sam Hinkle and Jackson Fulcher for helping with this great program. We could write lots more words, but we’ll let someone else do the talking from here:
STEAM teacher Dana Palmer wrote to us after the program, “I wanted to thank you for our CaveSim experience- it exceeded our expectations- We found your program was the perfect combination of innovation, responsibility, preservation and education. In addition to being hands-on there was a great deal of knowledge passed on to our students in a very tangible and relatable way. You and your crew are extremely knowledgeable and the delivery was on par with seasoned educators. We were truly impressed with how smoothly everything went- every detail planned perfectly, simply amazing.”
Some other great feedback written by parents, teachers, and students:
“I am so glad I volunteered at this event. It was great to see kids so engaged and active. This is what learning is all about” –parent volunteer
“I can not wait to get older and follow my passion and invent cool things like Mr. Dave” –3rd grader
“We had to extend writing time by 30 minutes because the students were so excited and inspired by CaveSim they wanted to just keep writing in their journals” –2nd grade teacher
“My students are not easily challenged and they came to me after CaveSim eager to investigate caves and pulleys” –Gifted and Talented coordinator
“My students rarely write more than a sentence in their journals, but today they wrote entire paragraphs on what it means to be an inventor like Dave with the Cave” –Resource teacher who works with struggling students
Despite snow flurries, the students and their PE teacher were eager to explore CaveSim.
CaveSim isn’t just for kids! This classroom teacher had a great time exploring.
Our Austin High School program was really well received. Students even came back to learn more during their break time (Flexible Instruction Time, or FIT).
Above, exploring inside CaveSim while looking for cave biota, artifacts, and cool formations.
Above left, emerging from a fun trip through the cave. Above right, students lift a football-player classmate up the 12′ CaveSim tower using the mechanical advantage afforded by pulleys.
Students and their teacher (Elise Gonzalez) gathered outside the CaveSim trailer.
Our elementary school programs were a big hit as well…
Above left: Students at Brentwood Elementary School have fun while learning about pulleys and mechanical advantage on the CaveSim vertical caving tower. Above right: Brentwood students practice their teamwork and communication skills by working together to carry a classmate in our Skedco stretcher. Photos by Theresa Wood, teacher.
We were so pleased to make the most of our trip to Austin by doing programs for Baranoff, Houston, Blanton, and Brentwood Elementary schools, and Austin High School. A very big thank-you to everyone who helped, especially Mike and Donna Frazier, Rich Zarria, and Robin.
Teacher Pat Jones at Houston Elementary wrote, “CaveSim was amazing. I had students come up to me the next day, give me a big hug and say ‘Thank you Ms. Jones for having the cave at our school. It was so fun.’
The students were able to understand cave formations, organisms and cave safety. You and the other cave experts were fantastic. You were able to share important content related to earth science and life science. Each part of the presentation was aligned to our science standards. They particularly loved climbing through the cave and the ‘tower’. Mike was great.
Thanks for all that you do. We would love to see you back next year.”
Students at Brentwood Elementary carry the Skedco stretcher.
We are honored to have attended this fun public event for the first year. The event was free and well attended, despite the cold weather. And what an awesome video put together by Jessica Gordon and the other event organizers!
Thanks to Rich, Aimee, Geoff, Alice, and so many others for helping with this program.
Teacher Becky Balkenbush told Tracy that, “I’ve never seen our students so engaged before!” 46 students participated, and got to experience a brand new part of our program: our mechanical systems lab. Students got hands-on experience with pulleys and mechanical advantage on our 12′ rappelling tower. They also loved learning to solder while doing our waterproof flashlight lab. A big thank-you to Tracy Jackson, Jackson Fulcher, Cole Claton, and Floyd Fernandez for helping to run this great program.
Students learn to solder with a helping hand from Dave.
Students plan and build their waterproof caving flashlights, which they then tested in the big bucket of water in the background. Photos by Tracy Jackson. Photo waivers on file.
Thanks to Tracy Jackson for helping with this fun program!
Working with high school students is so rewarding! I had the honor of teaching young men and women about vertical caving, but more importantly about leadership, teamwork, and self reliance during a mock rescue in the CaveSim system at CityRock. We had search teams, comms team, medic, and evac team. There were bumps in the road, but the students learned a lot and so did I. A big thank-you to teacher Cole Paris of The University School for being the patient in the mock rescue, and for co-teaching with me.
At CityRock, our caving camps are about much more than just having fun. Our participants learn the conservation ethic, and sometimes get to put what they’ve learned into practice. During a recent real caving trip, our participants took the time to clean up some terrible vandalism done by thoughtless people. Here are some pictures of the vandalized area before and after the cleanup:
It’s sad that thoughtless people feel the need to leave their mark on beautiful natural areas, but it’s encouraging that we get to teach young people both to not wreck an area and also to help clean up after others.
Art has it’s place, but that place isn’t on a cave wall covered in delicate crystals! This is what our caving campers took the initiative to clean up. Photos by Khylin Verplank.
After the cleanup, no evidence is left of the mud sculptures on the delicate wall. Photo by Gabe Wright.
Our campers also learned about calcium carbide during this fun demo:
Ever wonder what grade levels can do CaveSim? During this awesome program for The University School, we worked with every grade from pre-K through high school. Because we have such a breadth of program capability, each grade level loved our program and we successfully worked with about 200 students from 9AM-5PM. The staff is already scheduling more programs with us for January 2018!
A huge thank-you to Chuck Bitting, Jim Goodbar (BLM), and Jim Kennedy for working with us to bring CaveSim to this excellent scientific conference.
A huge thanks to caver Rachel McArthur for working with us to set up this great program at her daughter Brooklyn’s school. Students in grades K-5 learned geology, cave rescue, safe caving, conservation, and more.
Left, Dave helps with helmets while answering questions about caves. Right, students practice teamwork with a cave rescue stretcher. Photos by Rachel McArthur.
Kids love exploring CaveSim, and are sometimes awestruck. Photos by Rachel McArthur.
CaveSim is about learning and having fun at the same time. Left, students learn speleology (the study of how caves form) and, right, some basic measurement skills with the squeezebox. Photos by Rachel McArthur.
A big thanks to STEM Lab teacher Katie Stiers for helping us coordinate this event! About 150 5th grade students participated in our three-station program (bats, squeezebox/sked, and CaveSim). A big thanks to Gill Gilliland for helping with this program.
5th grade students have fun while learning all about caves, geology, chemistry, math, biology, and leadership. Photos by Katie Stiers.
What a great event! We’ve been attending since 2011, and we’re honored to participate again this year. Since the trailer was on the East Coast, we had our vertical caving tower at the CoolScience Carnival, plus our squeezebox, carbide lamp demos, Skedco stretcher, and cave rescue phones. A huge thanks to Jackson F, Dan S, Gabe W, Lydia G, and Hadley B for staffing this great event from 10AM-4:30PM!