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What is SAS?

Science Adventure School is an adventure-based, outdoor science school dedicated to empowering and educating West Virginia’s youth. We integrate adventure sports-driven STEM curriculum with a hands-on, engaging environmental curriculum at four exciting sites: Summit Bechtel Reserve, Jackson's Mill, Heritage Farm Museum and Village, and WVU's Outdoor Education Center. With a distinct focus on student development through experiential education, Science Adventure School offers high quality instruction and meaningful experiences to inspire inquiry, instill confidence, and empower the leaders of tomorrow.

Our Program Design

SAS integrates three innovative programs that actively engage youth by providing opportunities that instill confidence though experience, inspire scientific inquiry, foster new relationships, and reaffirm connections to nature. Our program design features: 

  • WVU Science Behind the Sport - This is a series of educational programs that demonstrate the fundamental principles of STEM in the context of adventure activities like rock climbing, zip lining, cycling, and archery. Students learn bite-size pieces of STEM curriculum through hands-on engagement and put those lessons to use immediately through the adventure activity. 
    • Although we aim for better and deeper understanding of STEM principles through this curriculum, our secondary goal here is to help students realize they are more than capable of learning STEM concepts and empower the learner! 
  • Originally inspired by curriculum written by West Virginia Water Research Institute, our Environmental Education units focus on student-led inquiry. Depending on the site, students will engage in units around freshwater ecosystems, forest services, wildlife, soils, and others. 
    • Through exploring the natural environment and encouraging students to ask the questions, we are able to awaken students' innate senses of curious and wonder. We often hear that student return to the classroom asking not just more, but much better and more thoughtful questions - we believe this is thanks to our inquiry-based environmental education units. 
  • Our Positive Youth Development Curriculum is designed to help students as they transition into middle school and emerge from our orientation program as confident, motivated, and united. The roots lie in Experiential Education concepts and theories. The curriculum is designed to create deeper meaning and draw relevance from the activities and lessons within the other two units. It also combats some of the issues our students are facing now and will face throughout their educational and personal journeys. This is the backbone of our program. 

Example Day

Science Adventure School is a 4-day, 3-night educational experience. An example days looks like:

  • Wake up and greet the day with a nutritious breakfast together.
  • Science Behind the Sport adventure activity, such as zip lining or archery. Participants enjoy the thrill of physical activity while learning engineering and physics concepts, totally hands and feet-on!
  • Healthy lunches served in a group setting on-location.
  • Environmental Education lesson & activity in an outdoor field setting. Learn about freshwater ecology while searching for wetland insects or go bird-watching while discovering nature's seasonal cues, courtesy of the WV Water Research Institute.
  • Enjoy a delicious meal in the Summit Bechtel Reserve's new dining hall.
  • Evening group activities that will inspire future explorations & friendships: learn about the stars and constellations, discover how to call an owl, or tell memorable stories around the campfire.

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