Why Value Outdoor Education?
The Eco Camp Bickell outdoor education program runs between May and June and is designed for up to 60 students to enjoy two and a half days of outdoor experience. Typically, the first group of students arrive on Monday morning and leave on Wednesday at 11:30 pm. Simultaneously another group of students arrive, have lunch and begin their adventure, leaving Friday afternoon to catch their school bus.
The study of living things in grade 6 focuses on the use of classification systems as ways of learning about the great diversity of species and as ways of organizing the study of species. To acquire first-hand experience in studying the diversity of living things, the intricate life in a pond is explored with students using nets and magnifiers to search for pond life.
Another highlight of the program is survival skills. Students learn the technique of starting a fire with a bow drill (rubbing two sticks together) and where to find and how to collect water if stranded in the bush. They build a debris hut that is capable of keeping them warm to -10 celsius without a fire or sleeping bag. Students also learn how to use a compass and complete a challenging compass course. Trees, plants and critters of the area are studied during a nature hike. Where and how to collect plants for food, and how to capture small animals is also included in this unit.
The bulk of the curriculum expectations come from the grade 6 Diversity of Life science unit. The outdoor education program not only allows the students to experience the curriculum in a hands-on manner, but also allows the unit to be taught in a shorter amount of time. This will help teachers cover the required five strands of the science document and will help make up some of the time lost to the grade 6 testing.
The eco camp will also cover and reinforce a significant number of expectations in the physical education (active participation) curriculum. Several art, mathematics and social studies expectations have been included as well.