About RTL


About Reading The Landscape

Reading The Landscape professional development workshops and class field trips provide teachers and classes with the opportunity to explore cross-curricular project based learning units based on field-based methods that develope student understanding of content and skills. Students engage in a variety of field observation and data recording methods, use characteristic charts, field guides, dichotomous keys and maps for the analysis and interpretation of fieldwork. Participants explore the function of field journals as a means of developing content through note-taking, learning reflections, peer exchanges, and formative assessments.

With Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia, right in our backyard, we have a great view of the landscape that provides both resource and recreational opportunities to much of the eastern United States.  Students who visit our Spruce Knob Mountain Center (SKMC) are able to stand along the eastern continental divide and explore the landscapes of both the Potomac watershed and Ohio River basin.

The diversity of life and lansdcape around the Spuce Knob Mountain Center provide a rich opportunity for teachers to develop curriculum related to earth science, the environment, nature and cultural studies. Field instruction at The Mountain Institute demonstrates a positive model of student-centered, field-based inquiry learning.  Students are prompted to think critically and develop sound scientific reasoning skills. They can explore why the west side of Spruce Mountain gets more rainfall than the east side. They learn to recognize signs of natural events and human interactions that can still be understood hundreds and millions of  years later. In short, they learn to 'read' the landscape

Why PBL In Mountain Environments

RTL PBL Field Site Images