Overnight trip to the Outdoor Lab
Often one of the most memorable field trips for Arlington students is the fifth grade overnight. Students spend two full school days exploring and discovering the natural world of the Outdoor Lab.
Tent set-up and take-down: Students learn how to set up and take down the Outdoor Lab-provided tents they sleep in.
Meals: Students bring their own bag lunch on the first day. The Outdoor Lab provides dinner on the first evening, and breakfast and a cook-out lunch on the second day.
Activity Rotation: Students are split up into smaller groups and rotate through activities, which could include:
- Classification in the Animal Lab: Students learn about classification using the captive native animal collection and natural history specimens, with an emphasis on the domains and kingdoms, especially the five vertebrate groups within the Animal Kingdom.
- Stream Study: Students catch aquatic animals and assess the water quality of the Outdoor Lab stream.
- Rocks: Students use hammers to sample and investigate native rock and learn about the rock cycle, including the three basic rock types.
- Weather: Through demonstration experiments students learn how the sun’s energy drives weather.
- Orienteering: Students learn how to navigate using a map and compass.
Day Hike: Lab staff members lead groups of students on a nature hike. Covered topics vary depending on the season, but usually include local flora and fauna, vascular vs. non-vascular plants, and decomposition by fungi, bacteria, and invertebrates.
Free Time: Students are typically given at least one block of free time. Free time options might include fishing in the pond, paddling a boat, playing tetherball, or exploring the natural world around them.
Night Hike: One of the most unforgettable experiences on the fifth grade overnight is the night hike. The hike begins with a lesson about nocturnal animals and our sensory responses to the dark, particularly sight. Along the way we might listen for animal sounds, observe the night sky, or try experiments using our night vision. The night hike usually ends with a campfire before kids head to bed.
NOTE: Modifications to the schedule are made depending on group size, time of year, teacher/student needs, and weather conditions.