Friday, November 13, 2015

Houstai Park

Houstai Park

            Seeing as this is Mongolia, the time to get field trips in is in the beginning of the school year before the weather gets cold.  Ah field trips the love of students everywhere and potentially the bane of teachers depending on how much work you actually have to do to set it up.  So yeah that pretty much explains why I haven’t taken my classes on to many field trips.  Oh and the lack of places to take them to and the occasional block from administration.

            Anyway none of those were the case here in Mongolia as I worked with another teacher to arrange a trip to Houstai Park in the Mongolian countryside to see the wild horses of Mongolia.  Don’t worry it wasn’t all fun and games as the students had to do some site sampling to determine the biodiversity of the park.

Warning Science Content

            If you don’t know what site sampling is, here is the short hand version.  Yes I know that there are many ways to do it, but this is what I had my students do.

1- Mark off a 1 square meter area

2- Count up the number of different species of living things in the sampling site, and how many of each species are present.
3- Compare the results to a site sampling done at the school to determine which area has more biodiversity
            Hint- the more species there are the more biodiversity there is

            Not to worry I didn’t make it quite that easy for my little darlings, they had to take pictures, do sketches, record the local conditions, etc.  One more thing my ninth graders had to walk the sixth graders through the whole process.

Science content over

            The day got off to a bit of an auspicious start with snow, not completely uncommon for Mongolia at this time of year.  While this might have caused some pause for a school trip in the states not here in Mongolia and we were soon off to the races.

And finally the countryside

Arrival…… I think

            It seems getting to the park is not the same as it is in the States, because one you get there you’re not really there.

Time for some off-roading and cows

Woohoo buildings

            It only took about 2.5 hours to get to this point, but it’s not time for any hiking yet.  There was another 30min or so before the hiking started.  The students were very good sports about all of this, and didn’t give me any trouble at all.  I think it’s because they were just happy to have a day off from being in the classroom.

Ok time for some hiking, but sadly no horses.

Yes this is Mongolia and not Scotland

Something unexpected and interesting

            It’s a hike in the countryside, so it should be lots of pretty scenery animals and all the rest of nature.  This of course includes rocks.

            Um ok, that’s a little odd.  Rocks don’t just randomly end up in a circle like that.  Well I guess technically they can, it’s just one of those one is one billion things right.

            Again those look a little to organized, so being the inquisitive person that I am on occasion, I asked our guide.
            Oh that, it’s just the remains of a Buddhist Monastery that used to be here a couple hundred years ago.
            Well shit, it looks like the students get to learn a little history on a science field trip.

            In the end the students got to enjoy a day hiking in the countryside and I got to see some more of Mongolia at the same time.  Oh and their Biodiversity investigations went off without a hitch.