Outdoor School

  • To Grade or Not To Grade

    Creating opportunities that spark intrinsic motivation. Leaders in the field of education have spent lots of time addressing the question of annual assessment in the form of standardized testing and fashioning report cards. At Voyagers’ Community School, in Monmouth County, New Jersey, we understand this is short-sighted. Instead, we dedicate time to discussing intrinsic motivation. What makes students want to do their very best? Can we teach intrinsic motivation? Are there ways in which we stifle this? Inevitably assessment, in the form of grades and rankings, weaves its way into the conversation. In schools across America, most often student work boils down to one thing, a grade, which represents everything about the child’s experience in a single class and, collectively, in a school year. Most people say, “So what, shouldn’t the best student be rewarded for being the best?” “How else are we going to know how a student is […]

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  • Stream Report

    As the Outdoor Program continues it’s Weather Unit in Science, student’s have begun writing their own weather reports. After looking at a fishing report from the Gunpowder River in Maryland, students decided that they could write their own daily report for the Husky Brook Stream Report (http://www.backwaterangler.com/category/fishing-report/). During a discussion students brainstormed all the parameters of the Husky Brook that could be measured and included in their report. They came up with water temperature, air temperature, flow rate and a fish and wildlife report. In order to gauge the students’ abilities and to set a standard for individual student stream reports, they were placed in groups of 5 or 6 and assigned a section of the stream. In their groups, students worked together to write a stream report. The group with the best stream report would be the first to have a report on our CHIRP! page of our website […]

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  • Weather Experiments

    in the Outdoor Program have been experimenting with various aspects of the weather. Upon returning to school after the holiday break, they began studying the weather, both indoors and out. We have been discussing the out of the ordinary weather that the east coast has been experiencing this winter. Students have many theories as to why it is so warm, so windy, suddenly very cold and then warm again. Some say El Nino is responsible. Others say cold air is not being brought to New Jersey because of some kind of Canadian blockade. The Outdoor Program teachers have been listening closely to their students ideas and, in doing so, have planned the next day’s lessons based on what they hear. Here are a few weather experiments we have done in the classroom to test our student’s theories or confusions. Sea Surface Temperature A few of our students have been vocal […]

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  • ​Would You Drop the Bomb?

    Students in Global Studies class recently completed a study of World War II, perhaps the most turbulent and violent time in world history. While most social studies classes focus on Hitler and the war against Germany, Voyagers’ students learned that it was Japan that the United States initially declared war on (after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941) and that it was also Japan that remained in the war until August 15, 1945, months after Germany surrendered. Moreover, students learned that while the atomic bomb — the most destructive weapon ever envisioned up to that point — while it was initially intended for Germany, was, in fact, used twice against Japan. The casualties were in the hundreds of thousands, and two major cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were destroyed. Students walked through a model “ground zero,” which included photos of the carnage as well as quotes from the […]

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  • Temperatures

    We are back in the outdoors and it is cold. But, it’s supposed to be cold in January, right? Well, then why was it so warm during the holiday break? Students in our class examined this question first thing upon returning back to school after our holiday break. They were asked if they experienced any funny weather during the break. Some students said there were days when it was hot. However, our first day back at school and back outside with the Outdoor Program was very cold. So, what is causing this funny weather and these crazy temperatures? Here are some of our student’s thoughts: It’s because of El Nino The Earth is a mystery Cold air from Canada is being blocked from moving into the U.S. The sun is not strong enough, the usual tilt of the Earth’s axis is somehow off this year After a discussion about the […]

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