The Great Outdoors? Yes! Cell Phones? Nope. This past week, the students of DBA journeyed to Lake Somerville State Park for our Outdoor Learning Experience. This adventure was filled with unique learning activities, valuable life skills, meaningful personal reflection, and a whole lot of fun!
The learning began weeks ago as students took an active role in planning the trip. Class meetings developed the list of supplies and created the meal plans. The preparations culminated in a grocery store visit focused on maximizing the value of our food purchases.
On Tuesday, the students and chaperones loaded up the cars and headed up to Somerville. The kids got to work immediately pitching tents and setting up the campsites. The afternoon offered the chance to survey the area with an instructed nature hike and independent explorations by the students themselves. At dinnertime, they lent a hand in preparing their own burgers and veggies. Of course, no camping trip would be complete without some time around the fire with s’mores!
On Wednesday, students spent additional time getting better acquainted with the natural surroundings. An extensive morning hike was physically demanding, but featured picturesque scenery and diverse wildlife in forest, meadow, and wetland areas. The afternoon provided time for team building exercises and a fun scavenger hunt. The students also took advantage of free time to play unique games in the outdoor setting. For dinner, students learned how to shuck corn before cooking their own hot dogs. Although cloud cover prevented the planned stargazing at night, the group did take a scenic evening stroll along the lake.
Thursday brought an end to the trip with some different concluding activities. Some severe weather overnight significantly extended the time necessary to break camp, but it did provide some valuable outdoor skills training. Unfortunately, it also cancelled the planned kayaking on the lake, but the students took comfort in cooking a pancake breakfast instead. Before departing, the students spent some time reflecting on the lessons from the time spent together in nature.
Overall, DBA’s first ever outdoor learning trip was a huge success that reflected our core values as a community. Students used Teamwork to come together for learning, Imagination to be resourceful in unusual situations, and Courage to overcome the challenges faced. We are already excited about the opportunities next year will bring as we continue to explore the world beyond our classroom. For more information about our extraordinary middle school, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and continue to explore the rest of our website here at dbahouston.org!