W.I.L.D. Summer School Week 1

This summer I had the chance to participate in an 8-day summer camp for 4th and 5th grade students. I wasn't sure what to expect- I didn't know the kids, I didn't know how to plan activities for elementary students, and I was co-teaching with my own third grade teacher. {Joys of a small school}

It was an experience I needed and highly recommend. Three of the eight days were already planned for us with outdoor activities centered around an actual archaeological dig.

We spent the first two days in the classroom learning about archaeology. I played my universally fun Pong game with vocabulary words. Groups of students had two minutes to study the definitions and then I took them away. I gave them a list of the words only to choose from.

We watched Bill Nye videos and practiced Noticing and Wondering.  We researched ghost towns in Illinois {which occurred mostly due to to railroads and flooding} and then research the actual ghost town we would be digging at- the forgotten town of Progress.

We even made our own fake archaeological dig with layers of soil, sand, and crystals. It was so cute! They used sand toys to dig, toothbrushes to clean, and sharpies and ziplocks to label the 15 artifacts. They even wore gloves.

Day 3 was our first day out and we spent the morning on a high ropes course and....

Ziplining! I did this last year but it was really hard for me to climb a net last year to actually get to the zipline. This year I had to climb straight up a rope ladder which was also terrifying. I didn't think I could do it and I was nervous- but I did it anyway.

Then we did some trust building exercises. Students had to arrange themselves on a log by the order of their animal but all they could do was make animal noises and no talking.

Then we did a blindfold mouse trap exercise. A person guides their blindfolded partner's hand directly over the mouse trap. You count to three and they slam their hand straight down. When they pull it up, the trap is set off without pinching the skin. The first kid that went asked me to be his partner. He said "I trust you". In what classroom experience does a student willingly volunteer that information?

Last we used a hula hoop and students could only stick their pointer fingers out and let the hula hoop rest on their fingers. No pulling or hooking. As a group, they had to lower the hula hoop to the ground- which is harder than it sounds.

After lunch, we hiked 18 minutes into the deep woods to start our archaeological dig. This was a real dig with real archaeologists. We were the first team to ever dig here! And we actually found real artifacts- a Coke bottle, part of a mug, a beer bottle, an arrowhead, a glass bottle, and more in the foundation of an old house.

Day 4 we started out in a cemetery where we copied grave stones and used a sonar machine to look for disturbances/unmarked graves and learn more about the layout of Progress. 

After lunch we made the 18 minute hike again. This time we learned how to use compasses and we picked spots around the perimeter of the house's foundation to dig. Students would dig and then screen the dirt to look for artifacts. We mostly found different colors of glass.

And that was week 1!

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