What did you learn over the summer?

One of the things that we did this summer was go up to northern Nevada, up to Baker, NV, in the middle of the Great Basin National Park.

In June, my family went on a little trip to The Great Basin National Park for a weekend field trip and star party. Steve has a nice sized telescope and we've been to star parties before, but never at one of the darkest places in the country. We're also went to Lehman Caves and to see the Upper Pictograph Caves. There is really a lot to see and do up there and the National forest website even has some curriculum that we went over before the trip. And the boys thought they were off for the summer! HA!

What's really great about the National Park system is that they have some great curriculum downloads for teachers and homeschoolers to use for their trip to the parks. For all the different activities to do and places to visit in the area, there are worksheets, study guides, and lesson plans to use. I've downloaded all of them to go through before and after the trip. There were lots of interesting things for the boys to do, though some of the activities were for younger kids.

On our drive home on Sunday we stopped by the pictographs, pictured above. These were amazing and I got to take some great pictures of my own... and the boys did as well.

From the National Park Website

The pictographs at Upper Pictograph Cave are believed to have been painted by the Fremont Indians, a farming and hunting group that lived in the Snake Valley from about 1000 to 1300 A.D. The Fremont built several villages, including one near present-day Baker, Nevada, called Baker Village. What little is known about this culture has been deduced from artifacts and rock art found in their villages and throughout the region.

Saturday night was when the star party took place. A star party is a gathering of mostly amatuer astronomists to a dark place where they can view the night sky together. We've been to a couple here in Las Vegas, and several in Southern California and they've been a lot of fun and the views are gorgeous! My two favorite things to do are to watch for sattelites to pass through the sky and to just stare at Saturn for as long as I can. What's unique about this star party is that the Great Basin is one of the darkest places on the earth. So this night we were able to see a lot more stars, including being able to see the Milky Way, which I haven't seen as much of since I was a kid! The boys had a ton of fun too. There were all sorts of telescopes pointed in all different directions and each of the owners were giving mini lessons about whatever it was pointed at. It was also unbelievable cool... temperature wise. Below 50 degrees at night. It was wonderful!

On our way back home from Northern Nevada, we stopped through St. George & Cedar City Utah. We got to see several places that we hadn't been to before and found some great places to visit again. We had a lot of fun during this trip and plan on going back to do what we weren't able to do this trip and more.

This was our trip for the summer. What did you do over summer vacation? What did you learn? Please share!