Middle Township – Middle Township Middle School (MTMS) students recently participated in the 19th Annual Sixth Grade Outdoor Experience in the Belleplain State Forest. Students spent two nights and three days exploring the forest and discovering new things about their environment throughout the historical campgrounds.
Principal Jeff Ortman praises the teachers and staff for all of their hard work and dedication to making this experience happen each and every year.
“Our teachers continue to go above and beyond for our students. I am so thankful for all of the teachers who devoted an endless amount of their free time to the planning and execution of this trip. They spent their days and nights with our students to guarantee a fun and safe adventure for all,” said Ortman.
Students participated in a variety of outdoor activities, including kayaking, fishing, campfire cooking, archery, night hiking and much more. All of the activities included educational components that related back to the classroom and could be used during lessons throughout the rest of the school year.
The field trip allowed students to learn in a different environment and complete activities that they had never done before. MTMS science teachers helped students take water samples directly from a lake and examine the samples under microscopes to see many different microorganisms. They also were able to work with the MTMS woodshop teacher who brought a variety of duck calls and had the students get together to guess which animal the sounds were coming from.
During one of their days spent in the forest, the entire sixth grade participated in a five-station rotation. The different activities included in this event required students to use team work to succeed. The activities had students walking backwards on balance beams, helping each other climb over wooden walls and navigating their way from the ground to a bell at the top of a climbing pole.
Michael Kriger, a MTMS sixth-grader, discussed why he enjoyed this event so much. “My favorite part of the five-station rotation was the monkey bars activity because you didn’t have to do the exercise, but everyone tried it, and everyone was cheering you on as you went across.”
MTMS teacher and organizer of the Sixth Grade Outdoor Experience Dave Farrow was thrilled with this year’s trip and is already looking forward to the next one.
“For some kids this is the first time that they have been exposed to any of this. We really make an effort to encourage the students to try as much as they can, which is a wonderful aspect of the experience. We do things that we talk about in the classroom but can’t do in a classroom. It is very hands-on. Throughout the rest of the school year and for years to come our teachers relate lessons back to this special trip. It makes me so proud to see alumni come back and talk about how much they learned during this experience and how much they would love to do it again,” said Farrow.