The second week of school, we took our 5th graders on our first field trip of the year to Harris Forest Preserve. What? Seriously? Yes, it’s true! As a connection to our first science unit, Ecosystems, we used the field trip as the unit kick-off since we had not really begun teaching . I have to admit, I was less than thrilled at this trip being so early in the year; however, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise!
The weather that day was beautiful, considering it had rained heavily the two days prior to the trip. My class was excited and eager for the day to begin. We had two great parent chaperones, Mrs. Bryant and Mrs. Kuhn, and our awesome Teaching Assistant, Miss Carol, joined us for the day! We went on a nature hike where we learned a great deal about our local ecosystem. Something all the kids enjoyed learning was what poison ivy looks like. They also enjoyed seeing if they could spot it on their own, which they did!
Another fun experience we had was our prairie exploration time. The kids had a great time catching, releasing, and identifying dragonflies, butterflies, bugs, and other prairie critters. Katie found the inchworm very fascinating…she likes inchworms a lot!!!
We ended the day at the pond, looking for signs of a healthy ecosystem. We found evidence that the pond was healthy. There were nymphs, tadpoles, and other signs of growing and returning pond life. It was especially muddy around the pond, so the students had to be very cautious so they didn’t fall in or step in a soggy spot. Unfortunately, Chris didn’t realize his foot had sunk into the mucky mud until it was too late. The muck swallowed his shoe! Mrs. Bryant and I had to dig into the muck to find Chris’s shoe (we couldn’t see it). Once we felt it we had to pull until it suctioned itself free of the gripping muck…SSHHLLOOOOOOOPPP! Success!
Our class thoroughly enjoyed this field trip and learned so much from the events of the day. We also benefitted greatly because the trip helped bring us closer as a class. It was a terrific opportunity to get to know each other better! Although I was not excited about the trip being so early, it truly turned out to be a blessing for our class!