6s and 7s Outdoor School Fall 2013

by Mrs. Nilsen on October 22nd, 2013

Weekly Science News 10/14 - 10/18 (6th and 7th grade  only) part 2

As promised, here's a real update on our ODS week!  I'm hoping to add more student narrative and comments to the tidbits of information below in the upcoming week.  Keep checking in and ask your child about all the awesome activities they participated in during ODS!

Tuesday, October 15

Camp Magruder Day 1

“Wwwwweeeeee welcome you to Outdoor School; we’re mighty glad you’re here!  Hey! We’ll send the air reverberating with a mighty cheer.  Hey! We’ll sing you in, we’ll sing you out, to you we’ll raise a mighty shout! Hurray!  Hail, hail, the gang’s all here, welcome to Outdoor School! Yeeeehaaa!”

Early Tuesday morning we loaded our things and headed off to Camp Magruder, an Outdoor School site run by the North West Regional Educational School District on the coast.
We were greeted in song by our wonderful group of trained staff and volunteer high school counselors.  From the moment we arrived, to the moment we left, our students were smiling, singing, laughing, and learning.

Tuesday also brought us the clones - the mysterious copies of the teachers -  Willow (Nilsen), and Sea Star (Hood).   We learned all of the camp rules (3 R’s and those nasty 3 S’s), dinning hall procedures, and where to go in case of an emergency.  After getting the low-down of things, students headed out to their first field study with their class.  Over the next couple of days we would hit all four field studies: Water, Animals, Forest, and Earth.

Tuesday evening we experienced our first campfire!  It takes a little bit to get into the routine of camp, but our students settled in well.

Camp Magruder Day 2

Wednesday started early with a flag raising.  Students ate a delicious breakfast and then helped out with some niches (camp jobs).   Students also had a little quite time after lunch and various times to spend with their cabin throughout the day. They quickly got to know their cabin counselors and cabin mates as they worked together in tasks like Kitchen "Party" (clean up), Weather station, and bathroom cleaning or when they sang silly songs and played tons of games (Jonny Jonny, Pinapple, and more) together.  Be sure to ask your student all about the time they spent with their counselor and cabin mates.  

The majority of Day 2 though, involved students participating in their second and third field study.  Here's a quick run down of the four areas and some of the topics covered:
- Couple mile hike
- Looked at Jetty over the horizon and talked about the affect on camp Magruder
- Plant ID
- Looked at the insides of trees and built a "living tree"
- Calculated number of "board feet" in trees using a Biltmore Stick
- Succession of a forest
- Photosynthesis
- We also might have eaten a few plants on the trail!  Seniors, do you remember the name of the one we ate?  Comment below!
- Earthquakes
- Jetty and building our own in the sand to test how it affects the land
- Compost system at Camp Magruder and Compost in general (we also met some Racoon friends who really like the compost too!)
- the "FBI" (Fungi, Bacteria, and Insects)
- Gyre
- Tides
- Oil spils
- Building Oregon geography in the sand
- Orographic lifting
- Insect/fish/salamander scavenger hut
- pH scale
- Dissolved Oxygen!  - we even got to test for it with "dangerous chemicals" muhahaha!
- The Water cycle
- Salmon life cycle and how the dams have affected them
- Pollution
- Permeable and impermeable surfaces
- Lake water vs sea water
- Physical adaptation vs. behavioral adaptation
- Squid dissection and anatomy - working in pairs of two to dissect a squid!  Eww, but fun!
- Looking for signs of animals around Magruder (tracks and scat)
- Food webs and interactions
- Biomagnification
- Camouflage
- Competition 
- night adaptations (covered on the night hike)
In the afternoon we had some "homeroom" time where all the MRA students got to hang out together on the beach.  What fun!
That evening all traversed a night hike.  (As Willow would explain, “a hike….at night!”)  It's one of the coolest experiences - walking around at night without a flashlight, just using your night vision and learning about animals that live their lives in the dark.  Then there was the Ultimate challenge.  What was the ultimate challenge?  Be sure to ask your student and find out!  It wasn't long before we were whisked away to our cabins for slumbering.

Camp Magruder Day 3

Day three brought the fourth filed study (see area overviews above) and perhaps the biggest highlight for most students this week: Life and Death in the Forest!
Students were given roles (herbavore, carnivore, or omnivore) and allowed to roam 5+ acres of forest to find food, shelter, and water.  Ok, they weren't really seeking real food, shelter, or water, but instead the high school counselors who represented those things.  They also had to hide/run from others who might eat them (a carnivore for instance).  There were also the hunters (those scary clones) who could come and take "life bands" away from anyone they wanted if they found them.  It was the most intense, tiring, fun two or more hours of Willow's life.  She loved it!  I sure wish I'd had the chance to play.  The way she tells it, it was pretty amazing!
Thursday afternoon we had some more "homeroom" time.  We took one more trip to the beach and roasted some marshmallows on a rip-roaring fire.  After our snack and play time, it was off to cabins, niches, and some cabin time.
At the end of Day Three, we had our last campfire.  I am so proud of how many MRA students participated throughout the week in various ways - songs, skits, drum circles, and cabin calls!  I think every 6th and 7th grader participated.  It's incredible to watch how students come to campfire the first night a little timid and freaked out.  You can just hear their thoughts: Look at all these adults and high schoolers making fools of themselves.  This is just crazy.  To by the end of the week they're thinking, this is the most fun, amazing, awesome time ever!!  I don't want it to end!  But sadly, the river of life carries us swiftly, and the parting time must come at some point.  

Camp Magruder Day 4

The last day of camp was bittersweet.  Everyone longs for their own bed, their family, and to be back to familiar territory, but there's also this longing to stay, to keep experiencing the community and learning we'd found at ODS.  Campers were awoken even earlier to pack their cabins, clean up, and have everything ready to go before breakfast.  (You never knew they could do so much before 7 am did you?!)  Then it was off to Final Field Study.

Final Field Study was all about taking what we had learned this week - from the four main content field studies, to the games, from the food-waste challenge at dinner, to the "Tip-for-the-Earth announcements - and applying it to our lives.  How can we take all that we have encountered this week and make it mean something.  If we simply go home and do nothing, then yes, the week was cool, but it was also a little pointless.  So, what did we learn?  Really really learn?  How do we take it back with us?

Students began wrestling with those questions during final field study, and are continuing to wrestle with them in class with me this week.  We're talking about everything from our MRA composting program that the Senior Leadership team is trying to start to the amount of trash we make just in my classes.  There's a lot to talk about.  We'll be working on it for the next week or so.
After the Final Field Study, there was a lovely tree planting ceremony that summed up the week.  Students got to have their name tags signed, get a few last minute awards, and say their goodbyes.  As students piled on the bus, it was easy to see the community that had been built.  They were all singing.  And singing.  And singing.  They literally sang the entire way back to Molalla.  It was incredible.  
What I'm basically trying to say is ODS was wonderful!  Parents, thank you so very much for letting us spend the time with your smart, creative, engaged, enthusiastic, fun-loving students.  I'm sure you're hearing lots of stories and memories from them already.  Students, thank you for being so wonderful.  We're all exhausted and somehow still jazzed about the time we spent together.  I think that says a lot about our students and the program itself.  
And because I know you want more, here's a few of the pictures from last week!  Believe it or not, there are more.  I've got to get them from Sea Star this week.  I also have a bunch of videos that I took throughout the week.  I'll try to get some of those uploaded soon.  I thought I'd go ahead and post this instead of keeping you waiting.  So enjoy!
Willow sends her regards to you all.  She already misses you.

 I am so proud of all our hard-working, well-behaved, kind-hearted students.   Let's carry the memories and lessons of ODS with us the rest of our days.

Posted in Science Updates    Tagged with Outdoor school, Memories/Good times, Field trip, Community, Campfire


madison - October 24th, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Cameron Wilson - October 26th, 2013 at 10:43 AM
We ate Salal leaves, and drank water from them.
Madison - November 15th, 2013 at 11:55 AM
Cameron that was so fun wasn't it
Cameron Wilson - December 18th, 2013 at 8:47 PM
Yeah, but that's an understatement...
carla n - February 10th, 2014 at 7:51 PM
Loved this post about Outdoor School. So glad your students got to attend. It's one of the best things Oregon does! The jumping photo was my favorite.
Derek P - April 27th, 2014 at 9:49 PM
I loved outdoor school so much

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