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During the fall of each school year, Middle School students venture off campus for two days to explore various sites around the state. These “Discovery Days” allow students to thoroughly immerse themselves in new environments and unique experiences, and are designed to be fun, fascinating, and always memorable. Here are the highlights from this year’s Middle School Discovery Days:

Sixth Grade

by Bizzy Bowen
Sixth grade students visited the Clark Planetarium. They explored on their own all the exhibits and learned about our galaxy, rockets, rocks, dry ice, and physics here on Earth. We were able to watch an IMAX 3D movie about astronauts from all around the world, what they are researching, and how they live in space. We also had an amazing presentation where we learned about the different planets and moons in our solar system, the relative size of the planets, and how the pulls of gravity keep all the planets and moons in orbit.

Sixth graders also visited Rock Cliff Campground and did water testing from the Upper-Provo River, the Lower-Provo River, and the Jordan River — all of which eventually lead to the Great Salt Lake. We tested for levels of dissolved oxygen, phosphate, nitrate, coliform, and pH. We learned why each chemical is needed to keep the ecosystems healthy, and we learned about the harm that can occur when chemical levels wander out of a certain range. Finally, we enjoyed deep discussions about the importance of water and our watershed for the survival of all life.

Seventh Grade

By Jessica Hunsaker
Seventh graders spent a day at Thanksgiving Point, where we participated in some truly unique activities. First, we created and then tested out our own 3D virtual reality worlds. We were then given the chance to build plastic items of our choice. Tracing patterns with 3D pens, we each designed our product. Dragons and eyeglasses were popular! Then we used a 3D printer to make our designs a reality. We capped off the day by creating arcades using recyclable materials, and then we played the games we all had made.

Seventh graders also spent a day at SpyHop, a digital media education center for youth in Salt Lake City. After an orientation in the digital arts, students chose one digital class to attend for the rest of the day. The options were Animation, Filmmaking; Song Writing; and Special Effects. The hours flew by as students worked on a deadline to produce their finished products. SpyHop then formatted the products and sent them back to WSD for students to enjoy.

Eighth Grade

By Steve Williams
Eighth graders had a great time traveling by bus to Cedar City for the Utah Shakespeare Festival. They saw the tragedy of Othello and a very funny modern play, The Foreigner. In addition to attending orientations prior to each play, they also took part in a literary seminar with a local Shakespeare scholar from Southern Utah University. Students asked and answered questions intelligently and really impressed the scholar with their interest and knowledge of the plays. After a night of quiet sleep in the hotel (no, seriously!), students rallied in the morning to meet for an hour with two actors from the company, asking questions about their lives as actors, how actors learn their lines, what they enjoy most about their careers, and what their goals might be for the future. Before we knew it, we were back on the bus headed for home!