Middle School Trip: Day 3

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It’s been a warm few days here at Nature’s Classroom Institute (held at the CYJ camp in Wimberley) but our students have done a good job keeping hydrated and participating in all of the outdoor activities. During meals, we’ve been measuring our food waste, called ort. There’s an ort song and dance that you might notice your kids singing at home – it already gets stuck in my head! We started the week at over 4 lbs of food waste, and today at lunch we got it down to 1/4 lb! I’m seeing a lot more student awareness about the amount that is left on their plate at the end of the meal.

All the groups have had a chance to spend some time in the new garden. They worked on weeding and preparing a new bed. Several students were able to catch some ladybugs – see the pictures below!
















We’ve had a lots of break time to enjoy the basketball court, take a quick nap, or play on the playground.





Yesterday’s classes included Outbreak (a zombie apocalypse game outside involving the spreading of disease), Afternoon at the Improv (a drama class), and Green Builders. I sat in on the building class where students talked about their dream house and energy sources and then build a green house using cardboard.





Right now the students are either in the Funky Farming class, Earth Sculptures, or Mission Possible. (where students complete missions after being given a challenging scenario).

Last night the students participated in an Ellis Island simulation. They were given characters and background stories and then had to go through the immigration process. They started by boarded a “boat” – the rope below. I have to admit, it was amusing to see them coordinate as they walked across the field to the new world.





At Ellis Island, they went through a simulated medical and psychological screening. The simulation will be a great experience for them to draw on during their humanity discussions about the immigrant experience throughout America’s history and the 8th grade trip to New York City.









During this morning’s “positive sharings” before breakfast, almost all of the students mentioned the experience from last night. This trip has really been a great way to start the year and help the middle school bond, and the program staff here at NCI has been fabulous. One more night together and then you can hear about your child’s experience first hand!