Who says classrooms need to have walls?

During the third week of April, 5th graders from Avenues traveled about two hours out of the city to Black Rock Forest for an overnight educational and recreational trip. According to the Black Rock Forest Consortium, the forest is a “living laboratory for field-based research and education, encompassing native terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems that are increasingly rare in the region.”

BRF has hosted Avenues students for years, as it provides an excellent environment in which to enjoy and learn from nature and to practice our values of welcome, safety and respect outside of school.

Students took the time to enjoy their beautiful surroundings.

Students took the time to enjoy their beautiful surroundings.

Students engaged in science activities while at BRF.

Students engaged in science activities while at BRF.

While at BRF students engaged in science activities such as water quality testing, eel fish population monitoring, outdoor scavenger hunts, mapping migration routes using math and habitat observations while hiking. All kids took part in some sort of chore for the cabin such as meal preparation and clean up. Fifth graders engaged in community bonding activities, told jokes and played indoor games such as cards and outdoor games like soccer. They also shared quiet time in nature.

Testing water quality.

Testing water quality.

Mapping migration routes.

Mapping migration routes.

Reflecting on our time at Black Rock with my students, it was clear the trip had been a fun opportunity for them to bond with their peers, as well as a meaningful learning experience. Ele learned to watch where you are stepping while exploring nature. Garrick learned how to measure the pH of the water and make sure the animals have the resources they need to survive. Zenchang liked all the physical activities during the trip. Anahita made new friends from other fifth grade classes. Mya said she went out of her comfort zone and did things she had never done before, like sleeping on the top bunk.

The trip included a lot of physical activities.

The trip included a lot of physical activities.

The 5th graders were able to get to know one another better.

The 5th graders were able to get to know one another better.

As a teacher, I learned the importance of emphasizing that the world is a classroom and teaching my students that learning doesn’t only take place inside the four walls of our school building. I hope this is a lesson my students will take with them into their summer breaks and beyond.

Making new friends!

Making new friends!