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  • Writer's pictureTeri Marx

Challenge Accepted

In 2022, I set out to complete the 52 Hike Challenge to help me get back into nature, meet new people, and spend some quality time with my pup Cali. For those unfamiliar with the challenge, the premise is simple: "One hike, every week for one year." To start 2023, I will be sharing key takeaways from the challenge as they relate to teaching and learning, starting with the topic of accessibility.

Accessibility by Design

The 52 Hike Challenge is not about preparing to climb Kilimanjaro or Everest; rather, it's designed with the beginner in mind. A hike is defined as "getting outdoors" for a "minimum of 1 mile each hike." There are participation options for individuals with physical limitations or mobility needs. And, the founders expect more from experienced hikers - more miles, more strenuous hikes. There are also opportunities to participate in an Adventure Series (includes objectives like hiking at sunrise/sunset, near bodies of water, or at a National Park) or an Explorer Series (52 hikes on 52 different trails). These options promote variation in how the challenge is completed; but no matter a person's ability or experience, the end goal is the same: complete 52 hikes.

Students with a range of abilities will enter your classroom. To ensure access, start by identifying the end goal for all learners. Then - as a foundation - put in place the supports, scaffolds, and accommodations that will benefit your most struggling learners and build from there. Rather than modifying or adjusting expectations, promote high expectations for all learners and vary how students engage in learning and demonstrate their success.

Below are a few pictures from various hikes I completed in my 52 hike challenge. Stay tuned for more posts with additional reflections and connections to teaching and learning!


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