Cross-Generational Connections On The Rocks

For first grade and one of its teachers in particular, a unit on rocks in science class turned into an amazing opportunity to establish and reestablish cross-generational connections.

Moses Brown School first graders had been learning about the rock cycle and had practiced identifying different rocks and minerals using various tests, explained Lower School science teacher Elizabeth Grumbach. The unit delved into specific topics such as erosion, weathering, and the movement of rocks by glaciers.

Evaluating rocks with science teacher Elizabeth Grumbach

Serendipitously, an ongoing close connection of first grade teacher Julia Strickler ’13 with one of her Moses Brown classmates, Sarah Bucknam ’13, led to a plan to have the students experience bouldering, a form of free rock climbing, at Lincoln Woods park. It seemed like a great way to reinforce their learning about rocks in class. Sarah works for the Boston Bouldering Project, and she and a partner at the project teamed to work with MB students.

“I’m not sure we would have arrived at the idea for this trip if Sarah and I weren’t friends. It was an absolute blast to share our work with each other – mine in first grade and hers in rock climbing,” shares Julia. “Aside from having a fantastic trip and learning how to boulder, students were also able to see our friendship and how it’s possible for them all to still be friends 10 to 20 years in the future.”

It wasn’t just great friends who had a chance to reconnect. Attending the trip was MB’s Lower School Admissions Director and a former teacher Jeff d’Entremont, who also was Sarah’s first grade teacher.

“Throughout my time as a professional rock climbing coach, I have worked with students of many different ages and experience levels, but there was something very special about getting to work with Julia’s first grade class,” Sarah shares. “Having my own first grade teacher, Jeff, as one of the chaperones was really a full circle moment!”

Sarah, Julia, and Jeff

“It was awesome to show how our friendship, formed in the Lower School at MB, could have such a positive impact on our adult lives,” Sarah adds.

In fact, Sarah did her MB senior project researching the positive impact rock climbing has on students, so this experience was something of a dream come true for her.

“It made me so happy to see each student’s eyes light up as they were able to push themselves to climb further than they thought possible.”