Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Field Trip to Agape Center for Environmental Education

I just wanted to share a short note first on our event last night at Duke.  It was awesome!  What an amazing group of people and we had a wonderful time.  I have a lot to share - but no pictures yet.  I'm hoping to get some from one of the staff there and then I'll post more details about our evening.  Thank you for praying.  It was an incredible opportunity!


Last week we went on another really fun field trip to the Agape Center for Environmental Education.  Our group was split into 4 smaller groups.  The youngest children had 4 "classes" and the oldest 3 groups learned about survival skills. 

Eliana and I went with Daniel and the youngest group of children.  We first went on a sensory hike in the woods.  What a fun thing to talk about the specific ways to experience nature using your 5 senses. 

It was a beautiful day and a lovely wooded area in which to take a hike.  We stopped by a pond and used our sense of sight to observe a variety of colors.  The instructor would name a specific color and then have the children look for the color. 

Next, they used their sense of hearing to listen to all the sounds they could hear in just 30 seconds.  They were blindfolded so that they would depend more on their sense of hearing.

The next activity involved the sense of smell.  The children were told that someone special was coming and they were to make a fragrant mixture to honor this person.  They were each given a small scoop and with a buddy went to find things to put into their scoop which they thought smelled nice.  They were also given the opportunity to name their creation.  We passed them around and looked and smelled the various collections.

We discussed the sense of taste and how you should not taste anything in found in the woods unless you are with a grown-up that lets you know it is safe to do so. 

Finally, the sense of touch.  Each child was asked to gather something from the woods and to keep it hidden.  They then took turns taking their object and rubbing it across the back of another child's hand.  That child (with their eyes closed) would then try to guess what the object was just from feeling it.

The younger children learned about weather and the various instruments used to measure weather.  We also visited the nature center which has a lot of neat hands-on activities!  The hit was a little corner which they had made into a bat cave.  There was special lighting in it that enabled you to see as a bat would see.  Also a hit was the secret door (small door cut into the wall) in the cave at the other side of the room.  All of the children left the building through this neat door!

We also learned about birds and migration in a very neat and hands-on way.  This was an idea that I could see being adapted for many different topics so that children are up and involved in their learning!

They were divided into 3 groups -  each a different kind of bird.  There was a path with many signs on the path.  Each with something to read and/or do.  They first rolled a large die and then counted out the number of signs to begin the game.  We would read the sign and follow the instructions.  Each telling you something about the dangers that birds faced while migrating or obstacles or success. 

This is a group shot of most of the younger ones. 

The older kids were split into three groups based on age and each had a class on survival skills.  They talked specifically about fires, various types of fires, how to build them and what they were used for.  Lighting them was a big hit!

They also talked about the order of importance of survival based on 3s.  You can go 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without warmth, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.  This was to let them know in what order they needed to focus their efforts if they were trying to survive. 

They also built debris shelters.  They worked hard and the shelters they build looked awesome!!!  I wish I had  pictures of all of them.  Here are a couple of them. 

The youngest kids were invited to look at the shelters made by the oldest kids before they took them down.  I was able to get a few pictures before my camera died.

All in all, it was a fabulous trip.  The instructors were kind, energetic and helpful.  The site is beautiful and the classes fun and informative.  I highly recommend this site for those of you in North Carolina!