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Getting Smart Podcast

Oct 3, 2018

Today, Tom and Emily are taking you on a virtual field trip to Murie Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. Over the last year and a half, you may have seen a ton of blogs (from the Getting Smart website) on place-based education. The Getting Smart team is extremely passionate about this topic — so passionate in fact, that they’re currently writing a field guide to place-based learning, and they’re doing it with experts in the field at Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming.


Tom and Emily take you to Jackson, to speak with Nate McClennon, VP of Education and Innovation at Teton Science Schools and Cristen Girard, the host at the Murie Ranch in Grand Teton National Park. Together, they dive into the six aspects of place-based education at Teton Science Schools and discuss the guidebook they’re writing. They also explain their hopes for the impact that Murie Ranch will have on students, what all educators should know about place-based learning, what exactly defines “place” education and all the reasons why place-based education is so powerful, impactful, and relevant today.


Key Takeaways:

[:14] All about today’s episode.

[1:08] Cristen introduces herself and explains what the Murie Ranch is.

[2:43] The famous people that have spent time at the Robin’s Nest cabin at Murie Ranch.

[3:38] Cris explains what happens the kind of learning that happens at the ranch.

[4:38] What Cris hopes for the impact that the Murie Ranch will have.

[6:00] What should all educators know about place-based learning?

[7:14] Is place-based learning worth all the extra effort?

[9:36] Nate describes place-based education.

[10:11] The community impact that place-based education has.

[10:45] The three components Teton Science Schools defines “place” as.

[11:16] Emily explains how place-based education relates to high-quality project-based learning.

[13:18] Nate runs through the six design principles of Teton Science Schools, starting with the first: that the community should be viewed as the classroom.

[16:36] Nate explains the second of the six design principles: learner-centered.

[18:06] The third design principle: inquiry-based.

[20:35] Emily explains the fourth design principle: local to global.

[24:10] The fifth design principle: design thinking.

[25:28] Teton Science Schools’ view on design thinking.

[27:32] The sixth, and last, design principle: an interdisciplinary approach.

[28:46] How to get involved with Tom and Emily’s guidebook that they’re writing on place-based education.

[29:42] Where to learn more about Teton Science Schools.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Teton Science Schools

Murie Ranch in Grand Teton National Park

Big Picture Learning

Getting Smart Episode: “Whats Up With All the Design-Focused Schools?”


For More on the Topic of Place-Based Education, Check Out:

Season 2, Episode 16: Experiencing Place-Based Education at Teton Science Schools


Get Involved:

Check out the blog at

Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review and subscribe.


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