Seventh Graders “Survive” a Day of Learning and Adventure

Some of the best lessons are learned outdoors as seventh grade students discovered during Survival Day on Thursday, October 7.

The daylong experiential learning event is part of the seventh grade’s Journeys Past and Present course taught by middle school teachers Mary Chapell and Paul Friedman. Chappell said that the day “began with challenges in class that tested the students’ resilience and perseverance.” Students were also assigned “digital quests” where they had to go online and find facts about space, science and survival skills in the wilderness.

Added Friedman, “Some students did well, and others were frustrated” by the challenges. “That is part of the learning experience and also a means of self-discovery.”
As they moved outside, hands-on learning opportunities, including a scavenger hunt, allowed the students to work on problem-solving and team-building skills. Students were also tested during field game challenges that simulated problems such as overcoming a lack of water and carefully crossing a makeshift “acid swamp.”

Harvey Peña ’27 enjoyed working together with friends, explaining that “we had to collaborate and think before we acted.” Katharine Benson ’27 found it was “an educational way to have fun and at the same time learn something new."

Later, the classes trekked into the woods behind Clarke Field to work on more individual and group activities. Friedman said the students had a great time “exploring and being challenged to build shelters, fires, and search for evidence of living organisms.”

Chappell looks forward to seeing “the students working together using newly learned collaboration skills” and notes “the activities are designed to be challenging.”

Rory Greenfield ’27 and Luke Jaeger ’27 both appreciated the opportunity to further their teamwork skills; Jaeger noted that “It was much harder working in a group than working by yourself.” Sam Haas ’27 said it was “great to learn about the outdoors” and Josie Friedman ’27 described it as “a tricky but rewarding experience."

The day after Survival Day, students shared the lessons they learned. Chappell said the best part is “hearing the students reflect and honestly share their insights into what they learned about themselves throughout the week of activities.”

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