Camp S.O.L.E.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monday and Tuesday, we took the fifth grade on our first study trip of the year to Camp S.O.L.E.  So, what IS Camp SOLE?  It stands for Science Outdoor Learning Experience, and boy is it!  At Camp, we teach the kids different science related information through a series of activity stations.  The kids cycle through Leaf and Tree Identification, Pond Water Study, Star Lab, Orienteering, and Initiative games stations in a two day (yes, that means overnight) camp experience.  The stations cover a ton of information and meet most of our science standards for the year (although we DO continue to teach science).  

Here are the basics of each station:

Leaf and Tree ID – the kids learn about organization systems and hierarchical charts to identify trees native to Indiana.  They also learn how to identify poisonous and edible plants

Pond Water Study – The kids use microscopes to find microscopic life in pond water samples.  They identify the organisms and do drawings of their findings.

Star Lab – This is a portable planetarium that we use to teach the kids the different constellations that are visible during this time of the year.  This was my station, and I had a blast teaching about the constellations and their stories.  We talked about the Native American mythology and the Greek mythology behind the constellations.

Orienteering – The kids learn how to use compasses and then use them to navigate a scavenger hunt.  
Initiative Games – This is the only non-science activity.  In this station, the kids play different team building games to work on their communication and team work skills.  I taught this for several years and it was always fun to see the kids work together to accomplish a task.  The usual leaders pop out of the group immediately, but it’s the quiet leaders that are often discovered during this time.

On the afternoon of the first day, we also have a recreation time, during which, the kids canoe, kayak, and play kickball and volleyball.  Then, during the evening, we have a story teller come in and the kids’ groups all do short skits before it’s time for bed.  

It makes for an exhausting two days, but the kids love it and learn a ton.  It also provides a great topic for their first long writing assignment: a 10 paragraph essay about Camp S.O.L.E.  We started writing today and the kids are amazed at how easy it is to write a long paper when you have a lot of material to write about!


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