Costa Rica: A Virtual Adventure in Science & History

Costa Rica: A Virtual Adventure in Science & History


About this course


Recommended Ages: 7-15 (Class is offered in two levels)

Start Date: June 4. Class runs for 7 weeks. DEADLINE EXTENSION FOR BUSY SUMMER SCHEDULES!! Students have FOUR weeks after the last class is posted to complete the course!! No live classes- do the lesson plans on YOUR schedule.

Price: $60

Space Available: 20% full

This 7 week course will follow your fearless instructor, Mary Middlebrook, during an epic adventure she had while living in Costa Rica during the summer of 2016! A wide variety of topics are presented each week, using an online lesson plan, images, and videos taken on location! The great thing about the Virtual Field Trip format is that it is so easily adaptable to students of any age. For younger (7-11) or more relaxed learners, I recommend Level 1. For gifted or older students (12-15), I recommend Level 2. Homework assignments and hands on projects will be posted each week, allowing the students to get involved with the material and further reinforce what they’ve learned that week. Homework is not required and there is no grade given for this class.

This is meant to be a fun summer class (even though it’s packed with learning!). Younger students 7-11 should usually be placed in Level 1. Students age 12 and up, or younger students who want more of a challenge, should be placed in Level 2. Level 2 students will have more in depth homework.

LESSON PLANS: This is an 7 week class. Students have 3 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION:We offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Material is the same for both levels, it’s the depth of the assignments that is the main difference. Most weeks, students get to choose from a list of exciting and fun hands on projects to let them really dig deep into topics in the lesson plan that interest them the most! The goal is to allow students to explore the topic while allowing their creativity to flow. We encourage out of the box thinking! Generally projects can be submitted in any format of the student’s choosing…written, presentation, poster, stop motion animation, minecraft, song, skit…we’ve seen it all!! Check out our facebook page for examples of student projects. All students receive instructor feedback on submitted work.

QUIZZES: Online quizzes are available each week as a tool for students to see how well they understand the material. Format is generally multiple choice, matching, true/false, and fill in the blank.

GRADES: All students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

LESSON 1: A complete country overview,, including geography, language, national symbols, and travel.

LESSON 2: Learn all about the reptiles and amphibians of Costa Rica, through a biology lesson and virtual fieldtrip to a herptological park (with a behind the scenes tour of the breeding facilities!)

LESSON 3: Learn the history of Costa Rica, with a focus on the indigenous people. Virtual field trip to the only UNESCO cultural site in Costa Rica!

LESSON 4: This was everyone’s favorite lesson last time the class was offered! A virtual field trip deep in the jungle and high up on a mountain to a native Borucan village! Learning all about the culture of the Borucan people, and how they are working to keep that culture alive.

LESSON 5: An amazing wildlife trip down the Sierpe River to study the biodiversity of the rainforest. “See” monkeys (I got a huge surprise!), birds, reptiles, and more. Learn about the river ecosystem, the endangered Scarlet Macaws, and what is being done to save them.

LESSON 6: Learn how kids CAN make a difference! We’ll visit Kids Saving the Rainforest- an animal rehabilitation and rainforest preservation facility started by two 9 year old girls!

LESSON 7: Whales and dolphins! My degree is in marine biology, so this is a great lesson on the biology of these animals. Plus, come along with me in search of Humpback Whales that migrate through this area every year on a fabulous whale watching adventure!


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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