It’s been a quiet yet fast-moving initiative at the Academy to integrate more Montana into our curriculum. Two years ago the Academy introduced WCA Horsemanship, and soon after a dedicated Nature Studies Program was launched in our younger grades. The intention behind those programs has been to get our students outside, to touch and feel and see beyond the textbook. After all, science class should stir a certain awe and wonder within us, and that is especially so here in our Last Best Place.
And science should be fun. There enters Ms. Bond, the Academy’s lead Nature Studies Teacher, and there enters Hooked on Montana, a local outfitting company that partners with schools to connect students to fishing and the outdoors.
Ms. Bond and Hooked on Montana have orchestrated a uniquely Montanan course of study. Through seven in-depth classes our 4th grade students will learn the ins and outs of one of Montana’s richest pastimes – fishing – and do so with the skills of scientific observation and inquiry they’ve developed thus far in Nature Studies.
Captains Kirk and Clay of Hooked on Montana taught their first Academy sessions in October and November, during which our 4th graders learned about Fish Identification and Fishing Regulations. Next up is a session on Lures and Knots, which will be followed by an off-campus Ice Fishing excursion in February.
The course of study then culminates with an Open Water Field Trip in late May. By that time the aim is that our students have become comfortable anglers, and that they’ve come to love life and sport on Montanan water.