MAP AND COMPASS
Students learn about map symbols, directions, and how to read a map. Eventually students use a map to follow a short course as a group, and finally follow a longer course on their own. The compass is introduced as a tool to use with the map. Older students may try Orienteering, which involves the use of the map and compass together to navigate through the woods on an unfamiliar course. Students may also be introduced to GPS and navigate routes using this technology.
Second graders can go back in time to learn about Native American culture or Pilgrims establishing themselves in the New World. They can also learn about local history while using maps. Pioneering is reserved for third graders; this area includes candle dipping, leather branding, rope making, fire starting with flint and steel, and pioneering tools, and there is a lesson on the Settlement of Illinois. Fourth graders can learn about Illinois History or the Underground Railroad. Fifth graders enjoy learning about the French Fur Trade with the Voyageurs and Trappers. They may also opt for lessons on the American Revolution or the journey of Lewis and Clark. Fifth graders can also engage in lessons on Native Americans.
These lessons are unique to each group. Offerings are dependent on the time of year, designed to be age appropriate, and related to what is being studied back at school. Lessons cover topics, such as Ecosystems, Habitat studies (wetlands, woodlands, prairies, fields, etc), Animals (homes and behaviors), Insect Studies, Plant Studies (seeds, wildflowers, life-cycles), Traits, Soil and Water, Scientific Method, Weather and Climate, and more.
Through simple games and initiatives, students learn about cooperation, communication, problem solving, and trust. The level of challenge increases with the age of the students. Younger students will experience group games and initiative problems. Older students will engage on the Teams Challenge Course, a series of physical obstacles. Each facilitator works with a group of 12 to 15 students.