At the start of Nature’s Classroom, I really didn’t want to go. I said goodbye to my mom and boarded the bus, thinking that this trip would last forever. It was a long trip because we left late due to the snow. We also got stuck behind a plow for one hour, but that is beside the point. When we finally arrived (around 4:30 p.m.), we unpacked and began to eat dinner. And that is where the adventure of Nature’s Classroom started.
I remember, to my surprise, that I had a lot of fun that first night. We did a station rotation in groups. My favorite station was getting a marble in a bucket using pipes. All was going well at Nature’s Classroom, until it was time to fall asleep. After a long day, I was tired and got into bed early. We were allowed to stay up until 10 p.m., but all of the people were talking. Normally this would not be a problem, but there was no sound proofing in the building and there were 25 kids talking. Eventually, I fell asleep.
Day two started with breakfast. Since I am a vegetarian, I was concerned that there wouldn’t be good food options for my diet. But to my surprise, there were many options for vegetarians and for people who are gluten-free. I did the field group, which is like a small group hike. In the afternoon, I did “Oil Wars.” In this exercise, we used oil, water and money. Since oil isn’t renewable, it was the most valuable resource. Once it is gone, it is gone. I liked this exercise because it made me think about how these resources impact people’s lives and the decisions that governments make. I also took a class where a small group had to build a geodome. It required us to use geometry and made us think about the structural integrity of our build.
On day three, we had breakfast and we did my favorite activity. We went on a simulation of the Oregon Trail. In the simulation, we learned about buying a wagon, managing our resources and money and working as a group. The camp counselors played the role of people on the trail, including robbers. I really enjoyed the simulation and thought that it was very educational. I learned that one out of 10 people died that went on the trail. My team did very well on this exercise. In the evening, I took a class called, “Back to Basics.” In this class, we learned how to start a fire using a bow drill and using flint and steel. Both methods are harder than they look on TV. We finished the day with “Wednesday Night Live.” Each field group did their own skit and the teachers also did a skit. The teachers did a great job.
On our last day there, we played a game called predator versus prey. There were several animals and they had to eat each other. I was a frog, but I was eaten by an animal that was higher up on the food chain. The bus ride home seemed to take forever, even though it was shorter than the trip there. It was great to see my parents and I was glad that I got to sleep in my own bed that night.
Overall, I really enjoyed the classes that were part of Nature’s Classroom. I think all the teachers were very nice. I am glad that Shirley, Emma, Jake and Malorie joined us. I like that PDS allows us to do unique experiences like Nature’s Classroom.