Applied Geography: from Source to City

A cross-curricular adventure.

Summer Camp for our ninth-graders at the end of August 2018 meant five days on an investigative journey. The mission was to explore life along the Rhine from its source, high up in the alps, all the way back to Basel. Two teachers and 19 students travelled above the river, on the river, below the river, next to the river - and sometimes even fully submerged in it.

The group hiked to the source of the Rhine; had a close encounter with a 117 meters high dam; explored some of the deepest gorges in the alps on ropes and in rafts; went underground to see how electricity is produced from water; learned about the power of the wind; spoke to experts on how to protect people from flooding; visited a nuclear power station; and discovered why so many people’s lives depend on the Rhine and its floodplain.

The excursion covered over 400 kilometers and required 18 trains, entry into three countries, sleeping in three different locations, eating in six different restaurants, making sandwiches, enjoying a BBQ, lots of outdoors time, and carrying bags up some rather steep hills!

Time and time again, our students impressed the people they encountered. Otti, the mountain guide, commended the students on their ability to conquer their fears to climb over the edge of the dam wall.

The teachers and the other raft guides were pleased with how well the students followed instructions, and the staff at the nuclear power station were highly complimentary of the way the students engaged with them.

Whether it was making lunches, clearing up from breakfast, hiking up hills, descending dam walls or filling in work sheets, the students rose to the task. At some point, everyone found themselves outside of their comfort zone, and whenever this happened, they overcame their personal challenges with enthusiasm, teamwork and humor. It was an exciting, challenging, educational and memorable excursion!

Rhein Source to City Rhein Source to City