On Monday, September 16, Upper Elementary students packed up the buses and headed off on their annual trip to Nature's Classroom, this year in Becket, Mass. Field trips are an integral part of the Upper Elementary curriculum, and this year Nature's Classroom served as their inaugural trip.
Throughout the week, students explored the natural world around them on the 1,000 acres of land at Nature’s Classroom. An overnight experience, fourth graders spent two nights in the cabins while fifth and sixth graders stayed for four nights. “It was really fun staying for a week this year,” said fifth grader Angela Tarantino, a second-year veteran of the Nature’s Classroom trip. Sixth grader Avery Clowes echoed Angela’s enthusiasm, “Even though it was my third Nature’s Classroom trip, I think it was a lot more interesting this year and the best part is that we didn’t do the same things as last year, so everything was new and fun.”
At Nature’s Classroom, students enjoyed lessons and team-building exercises alike. “We played a game called ‘the blob’ and we all had to move together as a group to capture our Nature’s Classroom leader, Salty Dog,” said fourth grader Rehan Samaratunga. “It was hard because we had to go up hills and around trees as one large group, but we were finally able to catch up to him.”
“I learned a lot this year,” Avery said. “I learned about rhodopsin, a chemical in the eye that helps me see in the dark. And I felt like we really grew as a team. I have actually reminded myself of the ways we worked together and brought those ideas to my Lego team outside of school.” Angela, too, felt the trip was a great learning experience, recalling the group’s reenactment of the Underground Railroad. “We learned about slavery and what the slaves had to go through to pass through the towns overnight.” Rehan enjoyed his lessons in Geometry, “I made a top and a polyhedron, and then we had a marble contest to see who could build the fastest marble tracks,” he said. “Our first loop worked, but we when tried to get bigger, the marbles fell.”
All three agreed that Nature’s Classroom was a perfect way to start off the year. “I’m sure we’ll remember the lessons we learned as we go through our year,” Avery said. “It definitely worked as a team-builder, too.”