7th Graders Participate in Mountain Man Rendezvous

By Rillene Nielsen; Pictures by Lois Terry

Seventh-grade students state wide study Utah history for social studies.  Sevies at Spanish Fork Junior High are especially lucky to have two great teachers, Lois Terry and Shea Harmer, who go the extra mile to make learning fun and authentic.

For example, this past term Ms. Terry’s students have been collecting “supplies” as they work their way through the units on early Utah history.  Students earned these “supplies” as a consequence of positive behaviors and showing mastery on the skills needed to complete the units.  These units have culminated in a Mountain Man unit that includes a Mountain Man Rendezvous activity.

According to Ms. Terry, students use the supplies they’ve collected to trade for the supplies needed to survive as a mountain man. “They barter those things for things they think they might need for the upcoming trapping season.  Students learned about what the mountain men needed to survive and made decisions about what they would need to survive.  Then they bartered for those supplies from each other and from me (the supply company).”

Now that they were supplied, students were able to see if their preparations really could help them endure the lonely life of a trapper/mountain man.

“We then read a story where they needed certain things to make it to the next step in their journey,” explained Ms. Terry, “with the most prepared mountain man making through the trapping season and the winter and back to rendezvous.” 

As you can imagine, students gained a greater appreciation for the hardships of life in the wild.  Thanks to the innovative thinking of teacher like Ms. Terry, students at SFJH are learning that through thorough preparation, they can be successful.