Generating Hydropower: Up Close

By | Academic Excellence, IB, Middle School | No Comments

Last week, the entire Grade 9 physics class toured the inner workings of the Lucky Peak Power Generation Station. This hydropower generation plant has 3 enormous generators that can produce up to 100 Megawatts (Mega – million) of power. The class walked all floors of the plant and actually could touch one of the turning turbine shafts that powers an electrical generator! The maintenance staff at the plant were impressed that the students knew so much about the generation of electricity. No student was surprised when the tour guides mentioned that the generator can become a motor if they don’t take precautions when a generator is shut off!

Thanks to the staff of the Lucky Peak Power Station and Physics teacher, Mark Anderson, for making this field trip possible.

Snow Caves, Snow Balls, Snowshoes and Snow Storms

By | Academic Excellence, IB, Outdoor Education | No Comments
It feels like Spring here in the valley, but last week the Grade 8 class headed to the mountains for one last Winter fix….and got what they bargained for!  Treated to sunny skies on Tuesday and Thursday for their hikes to and from Banner Ridge and Elkhorn Yurts, Wednesday was full of snow!  Snow caves, snow balls, snowshoes, and snow storms!

From their base at nearly 6,500 ft, students spent time measuring layers within the snowpack, calculating how much water was in the snowpack (the Snow Water Equivalent is ~26cm if you’re curious) and measuring and identifying tracks in the snow.  Some ambitious students also built and then slept in snow caves!  Everyone was surprised to learn that, when built correctly, snow caves are capable of supporting up to 12 students on top!  Other activities included story-time (Jack London’s classic To Build a Fire) and winter risk assessment.

With this trip under their belts, Grade 8 students are primed for their first point-to-point trip this spring when they tackle 25 miles in Hell’s Canyon!

Grade 7 Soaks Up History in Washington, D.C.

By | Academic Excellence, IB, Leadership by Example | No Comments

Another entry from Andy Johnson to Grade 7 parents!

“Day Four, 5 June 2012 was a day that we went a little slower than we had in the previous two days.  We visited the Georgetown University bookstore for souvenirs and then headed downtown to visit the Newseum.  The Newseum is not part of the Smithsonian, but is a private, not-for-profit museum sponsored, in part, by major news organizations.  Its purpose is to highlight the importance of our First Amendment rights.  We began our visit by participating in a pre-arranged lesson on the press and the Civil Rights Movement.  One of the teachers from the museum’s education staff led the lesson.  It was a fantastic introduction to the Civil Rights movement and the rights enshrined in the First Amendment. 

Another exhibit of note was:  eight sections of the Berlin Wall AND an entire East German guard tower from East Berlin!  It was an incredible exhibit.  Having been a young soldier in West Germany in the mid 80s it was cool for me to remember that time.  Many of our kids were as interested as I was.  Another exhibit that was especially interesting for the kids was the exhibit on the FBI’s use of media exploitation to fight the “Global War on Terror.”  The museum was incredibly worthwhile.

Today we are visiting the White House, the Capitol and the National Archives.  Mr. O, Robyn and I are planning a “National Treasure” style scavenger hunt for an evening activity to complement our viewing of the Declaration and the Constitution.”

Andy, Aaron, and Robyn

Costa Rican Adventures Without Leaving Home

By | Academic Excellence, International Understanding | No Comments

During Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, four Grade 8 students worked on a Costa Rica themed project in English and Humanities. Abby Grafft and Andy Johnson facilitated and resourced this activity, but the results were those of these students. They did some basic research on Costa Rican rivers and riverine flora and fauna. They took this information and created a “Costa Rican river” mural into which they injected themselves. As you can see in the photos, they are surrounded by the thick forests of Costa Rica while paddling along a river with Class IV rapids. Toucans, alligators and sloths are all part of the scene. While participating in this type of activity is no substitute for travel to Costa Rica, it is an excellent way to share in some of the excitement and to learn a little about the country.

Snowshoes and Yurts

By | IB, Middle School, Outdoor Education | No Comments

Grade 8 students left last Monday for their three-day trip to yurts in the Mores Creek Summit area (past Idaho City on Highway 21) as part of the Winter Outdoor Program curriculum. This trip exposes students to the winter environment and enables them to develop their winter self-care skills. Students carried their backpacks and gear while snowshoeing into the yurts 1.5 to 2 miles.

After arriving at the yurts, students spent time exploring the winter landscape, performing various
journaling and science activities, analyzing the snowpack, and building igloos and “quinzhee huts,”
shelters that they will be expected to sleep in as they progress through the High School winter

A particularly important aspect of all Riverstone trips is a continual development of self-care skills. During the Fall backpacking trips, students become more proficient at staying warm and dry in a backcountry environment. During the winter trips, they will be expected to draw upon their experiences in order to stay safe and comfortable in the snow. There will be some cold hands and toes, but with a warm yurt nearby, these will be emphasized as learning experiences.

These pictures show final preparations for students as they discussed safety and divided the food for the trip between their packs. Check back for photos from the trip itself!

Alex Ide appointed new Head of Science

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We are delighted to announce that Alex Ide has been appointed to the position of whole school, Head of Science.

Alex has been with Riverstone since 2004, previously teaching at Centennial High School, Northwest Middle School, BSU and the University of Utah. Alex also has an extensive background in research, specializing in genetics and breast cancer.

Alex and the rest of the science faculty have already started work on a new Middle School science curriculum that emphasizes the ‘scientific method’ through a hands-on, problem solving approach.

Watch out for a new science club and the Science Olympiad with John Pederson….coming soon


Andrew Derry

Official MYP Authorization

By | IB, International Understanding | No Comments

Dear Friends


We are delighted to announce that Riverstone International School is now officially authorized to offer the International Baccalaureate MYP program.


We received the official notification letter from the International Baccalaureate Organization earlier this week, which follows our final inspection visit in November 2008.


Riverstone is also in the final stages of its Primary Years Program (PYP) authorization and is well on track to become the only school west of the Mississippi officially authorized to offer all three IB programs, and one of only a hand full of IB World Schools in the USA, authorized for all IB programs.



This comes in addition to Riverstone being accepted as an official member of the Council of International Schools earlier this year.



Our gratitude goes to Chad Carlson and his Middle School team for all their hard work making Riverstone such an internationally renowned success.