Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Camp Woodlands

Yesterday I spent my day on a school field trip with Harper. The kindergartner's had the opportunity to learn all about trees and the way they effect our environment. It was an interesting day with lots of learning but it was freezing! We're having some seriously cold weather right now and it was in the mid 30's all day yesterday. I'm glad the sun was shining and there wasn't any rain but it would've been even nicer if the temps had been just slightly higher. Oh well.

I had 7 kids in my group with one other adult to help me. The kids in my group were well behaved but they did need lots of reminders to stay with our group. I was glad I had another adult with us because keeping track of that many kids that I didn't know wasn't easy! (They mixed kids from different classes together so I had never met the kids outside of Harper's class.)

Lucky for us our first station was indoors where it was slightly warmer. We learned about bees and pollination and how trees are helpful to bees in that they build their hives in them. The kids had a small snack, apples with honey, and also got to see a bee hive.

Our next station was outside and I think this was the coldest part of our day. At this station the kids learned how to tell how old a tree was. They measured the tree trunks with their hands and arms. If they could fit one hand around the trunk, it was a baby. Two hands meant it was a child. If it took both of their arms to go around the tree in a hug, it was a parent tree and if it took both of their arms and a friends to meet around the tree, it was a grandparent tree. The kids were given a chart on clip boards and markers and told to go around "measuring" their trees and keep track with their charts. We found lots of babies and children, a few parents and even fewer grandparents. The kids really enjoyed this activity and talked about the ages of other trees throughout the rest of the day. Once they'd finished with their charts they used magnifying glasses to look at the rings of a tree.

Our next stop taught us about tree seeds. We got to see what some seeds might look like and then went on a hunt to find them. We found lots of gum ball seeds (gum tree), a few acorns (oak), a few hickory nuts (hickory tree) and a couple pine cones (pine tree). We looked everywhere for poplar seeds but didn't have any luck. 

We had lunch after our seed hunt. It was about 11:15 at this point and still very cold outside. I'd hoped we'd be eating indoors but no luck. At least our picnic table was in the sunshine and not under the shade like the majority of them! I should add that the kids didn't seem nearly as bothered as the adults! Adults are wimps!

After lunch we headed down to the water for our lesson on how trees help keep the water clean. There was a demonstration where the kids poured water on soil, rocks and dirt and saw how the runoff was a bit dirty whereas when they poured the water on soil that had trees, moss and grass the water was clean. The kids also learned about seining and were able to see what had been caught from the creek earlier that morning. There were tiny shrimp and small fish and they were able to touch them if they wanted. Harper decided to touch them and jumped when one wiggled under his fingers!

The next activity was the one they'd all been looking forward to the most. They got to put on life jackets and take a short ride in a canoe. 

I'm not sure what they learned about out there but they did enjoy being out in the boat despite the frigid weather! 

The final station was one that involved a treasure hunt and they LOVED that! They were read clues and then had to find the tree that was described. Each spot had a small treasure box where the kids could get a gold coin after answering a question about trees. Questions like "what do the roots of tree's do" or "why do tree's have bark"? After getting 8 coins they traded them in for tree expert necklaces. 

As we were doing our treasure hunt one of the guides pointed out two rather large birds sitting in the tree's above us. They were Osprey but the kids refused to believe that and insisted they were eagles!

Despite the cold temperature, we had a good day. We learned a lot about tree's and the kids enjoyed the break from sitting in a class room all day. The bus ride home was pretty quiet as everyone needed to rest from all the walking. I ended up taking Harper home with me after the field trip because the kids were only going to play in centers once back at school. They only had about an hour of their day left anyways and Harper said he'd rather come home to play than play centers there. 

It's weird that he's almost done with kindergarten. That was the final field trip of the year for him and here we are at the beginning of April already...time sure does fly. 

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