Category Archives: Overnight Field Trip

Place-based Education: Outdoor Explorations

By: Science Program Coordinator, Kelsey Vollmer & Meridian’s Third, Fourth & Fifth Graders

This fall was busy with one of the highlights of Meridian’s Place-Based Program.  Third, Fourth, and Fifth grades all went on overnights in the Pacific Northwest Region to explore and experience the environment around them and make connections to what they have been learning in the classroom.

Third grade concluded their study of ecosystems with their visit to Camp Seymour in the southern Puget Sound area.  Here, they made connections between what they were learning in the classroom, science lab, and Meridian Park to a Pacific Northwest Forest.  Students studies decomposers under microscopes, recreated the life of a salmon, and investigated sea anemone reactions at the tide pool touch tank.

Fourth grade journeyed to Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, spotting Orca whales and discussing the watershed of the Salish Sea along the way.  At camp students were led through a series of team building activities to challenge their understanding of how to work with one another.  We also ventured out on an afternoon hike near Mountain Lake where students spent some time quietly taking in the environment around them and documented their experience in their Meridian nature journals.

Fifth grade connected their study of Lewis and Clark to their place as we headed down to Astoria, Oregon to retrace the footsteps of the expedition.  Students studied and drew the plants Lewis and Clark wrote about in their journals, looked out over the Columbia River and its surrounding watershed at the Astoria Column, and kayaked on Steamboat Slough and the Columbia River around Price Island.

By: Meridian 3rd Graders

We had a blast at Camp Seymour. Every lesson was information-packed, yet none of it was the slightest bit boring. It felt so much more engaging to be there learning in person. There was lots to learn and lots to do, and we were able to make some choices. We not only learned through games but also through observing different aspects of the forest, particularly the undergrowth. There were different activities like hiking to explore levels of the forest from the canopy, as well as learning about insects and marine life by interacting with the animals in a touch tank (it was a little scary). One of the reasons that we love Camp Seymour is the staff. They are nice and helpful, and make learning so interactive and fun! Even the recreational activities we did were mostly educational. Overall we had a wonderful adventure.

By: Meridian 4th Graders

Kelsey joined us at Camp Orkila and taught us a about salmon and their life cycle. Later this year we will have the opportunity to raise salmon, so we are excited to continue learning more. We loved Camp Orkila. It was a good mix of free time, team-building activities and science. We feel lucky to be able to have field trips that are engaging, it makes learning about our environment a lot more impactful.

By: Meridian 5th Graders

The fifth grade trip to Fort Clatsop was really awesome! It’s strange being there because we learn all about it in history books, but it is really something else to be there in person. We’re grateful we get to engage with history in an up close and personal manner. We got to see and experience things (in a more modern way of course) that Lewis and Clark did, and it gave us more context for what we were learning in the classroom. These types of field trips really expand our learning because we can relate back to those experiences and it makes us curious to learn more!

NatureBridge Overnight Trip

By Meridian 5th Graders

NatureBridge is a field trip that all of the fifth graders go on at the end of the year. It’s an environmental science camp, and we were there for a whole school week! We went on lots of hikes and we went kayaking on Lake Crescent. We learned  about  forests, watersheds, tidepools, the Elwha River, and water tables in general. There were fun activities with water to cool us off! We played games and stayed up really late (which made getting up in the morning harder). Another school was there there too so we had opportunities to make new friends. This was definitely the longest overnight trip we’ve had, and it was even more fun than we expected!

This trip helped us feel really connected to nature. It’s a science field trip so it is educational, as well as a time to be together as a group one last time before graduation. It makes sense that we would end the year with it because it’s a really big part of our place-based education! Some of our favorite parts of the trip were just being in nature together and talking into the night in our cabins. Everyone was kind of sad because we  are all leaving Meridian soon, and some of us are going to different schools, but it’s also happy and exciting that we’re moving on to a new part of our lives. It’s bittersweet.

For incoming fifth graders, we want to make sure you know that this trip is amazing and so much fun!

Don’t be surprised if everyone starts crying at the last campfire. It’s a little bit emotional. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of our favorite experiences at Meridian!

First Grade Overnight at the Woodland Park Zoo

First grade once again had a blast with our annual “First Grade Overnight at Woodland Park Zoo!”

As always, one of the major highlights for our first graders was getting a behind-the-scenes look at the zoo both after it’s closed in the evening and again in the morning before it opens to the public. Not only were a number of the animals more visible in their exhibits, but the first graders had multiple opportunities to interact with zookeepers that taught us all sorts of things about the exhibits that we wouldn’t normally get to learn on a regular zoo trip.

In addition to our time seeing the animals, we also had the opportunity to learn more about Woodland Park Zoo’s dedication to conservation. Thanks to our first graders’ work with our Global Studies curriculum this year (where we made frequent connections to the idea that where you live affects how you live), they were able to make a number of rich connections that helped reinforce the idea that it takes *everyone* working together to keep our environment healthy and happy!

By Meridian 1st Graders

We just got back from the Woodland Park Zoo today! The trip was based on animals and looking at their different habitats. Most of us stayed overnight so we had a night tour of the zoo, and a day tour this morning! The night tour was really fun because not everyone gets to see the animals at night. There was an interesting camera that takes pictures of all the animals, even at night! You can leave the camera and it takes pictures that people wouldn’t be able to see. We really liked that. The funny thing is that the bats were awake in the morning, and bats don’t normally move around in the daytime because that is when they sleep! There were lots of baby kangaroos, and we got to see them at night which made it seem extra special. We also had pizza for dinner and got to play in the Zoonasium (where there are play structures, and a huge tree we could climb).

The zoo trip was very exciting. It was crowded but we could still get around. It was fun to be around our classmates overnight because it’s not something we do very often. We think that the first graders next year should look forward to it because of how cool it is (even though we are really sleepy after staying up late, but it was worth it!)

Museum of Flight

By: Meridian 2nd Graders

img_20161201_204615We had a blast at the Museum of Flight! We did a lot of activities while we were there, but our favorite was when we all got Eggstronauts (egg astronauts) and we made rockets to launch them in the air. One of the rockets blew up, so the egg went flying into the concrete and it burst! The rockets were made from a plastic bag, a garbage bag, 2 cups of cement, string, duct tape, and a 2 liter bottle. Building the rockets was so much fun. Everyone built it differently, but many of us shared our ideas!

There was a big room with the fastest plane in the world. We didn’t go inside the plane because it is very delicate and special. We went to an exhibit with real
and model planes, and there were a bunch of image4games that we could play. There were rides that we
went on, too! There was also flying gizmo show, with remote control flying machines. Some of them went so high, and one of them did a loop around everyone. It was awesome to see all the different types of things that can fly, from dragonflies to rocketships.

We learned about the race to the moon, space, and how to build rockets. It’s so much easier, and more fun, to learn with live examples!

Camp Seymour Overnight

By: Meridian 3rd Graders

3rd-grade-camp-seymourWe had loads of fun on our trip to Camp Seymour. It wasn’t was even that far away! There was a lot to do, and even though we were there for only one night, we filled up all of our time. There was a reptile house, a forest and wildlife ecology session, marine biology and an interesting outdoor hike. The hike wasn’t very hard, but we learned a lot on it and we played some educational games. One of the games was a rock, paper, scissor game that taught us about the canopy and the understory, which are layers of the forest, and another taught us about different animals around the area. We were surprised by how much we learned by just playing games.

img_4085While we were there, we didn’t just learn by playing games, but also through observing different aspects of the forest. We discovered a bunch of different insects and levels of the forest from the canopy all the way to the underground sections! There’s a lot to see in a few inches of the forest floor. We examined a small square of the ground with a handscope, and it was really eye opening! We saw so much more than we expected. We also got to learn about animals that lived in the water. We didn’t just see the animals, we got to interact with them, too! It was funny to see a hermit crab steal a piece of food off of an anemone. That was our favorite part!

Lewis & Clark Overnight

By: Meridian 5th Graders

class_taraclarkphotographyIt was really fun making our way to Oregon! It was great to step in to our history books and to dig deeper into Lewis and Clark’s discoveries.

We were surprised by how close together the historical places were–when we read about them in class they seemed scattered around, so seeing them in person was eye opening! Our hands-on experience made the locations come to life. Learning new information was even more engaging because we could see and imagine how Lewis and Clark felt when they were discovering the area. We were all pretty surprised to find out that they celebrated Christmas, with a full ceremony and gift giving!

During our trip, we went kayaking on the Columbia River, visited Fort Clatsop and Fort Stevens, and went to the Maritime Museum and the Astoria Column. One group even got to play on the sand dunes and see the Peter Iredale (an old shipwreck on the beach).

lc_taraclarkphotographyThere were a lot of challenges on the trip, some of us had never kayaked before and almost fell over! But it was definitely worth it. Some advice that we’d give to 5th graders next year is to bring a raincoat, a sweater and a hairbrush. It will be colder and wetter than you think it will be. In general, wear more layers than you think you will need, because there’s no harm in being extra prepared. When you’re kayaking, don’t be afraid of tipping. The tenser you are, the more likely it’ll happen. Lastly, the trip might not be what you expect, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be awesome!