Experiential Education

Fourth graders study American history and travel to Jamestown and Williamsburg, Virginia for two days where they participate in many hands-on activities. Highlights in Jamestown include watching and listening to the cannon blast at James Fort, going aboard the Susan Constance, seeing the Native American hunting and fishing tools, learning to clean a deer skin, and hollowing out a log to make a canoe. Highlights in Williamsburg include visiting the wig shop, blacksmith shop, artillery magazine, tin man’s shop, joiner’s shop, and the palace and capitol. Participating in African dances, being the jury for a trial, training as a regiment, staying in cabins, and eating at Shield’s Tavern are also highlights.

Fifth graders take their environmental science and marine biology knowledge and understandings gained in the classroom through STEAM education and travel to Beaufort, NC staying at Duke Marine Lab for two days, where they participate in a variety of exploratory, discovery, and laboratory experiences. Some of the activities included in this adventure are trawling or seining for wildlife samples, observing plankton under microscopes, dissecting sea urchins and/or fish, building and testing their own model sea creatures, exploring a marine ecosystem on land, and/or exploring the Intercostal Waterway on a marine vessel. Due to the seasonal nature of the excursions, the trip changes every year, adding to the excitement of being a fifth grader and getting to go on the next Duke Marine Lab adventure.

Sixth graders enjoy cultural arts experiences while lodging for two nights at Camp Caraway in Sophia, North Carolina. During camp time, students engage in team building activities led by the camp staff. Their cultural experiences begin at Sawtooth Center for Visual Arts where they explore a variety of art activities including options such as large frame printing, metalwork and digital printing. The third day, they engage in a docent led tour of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh on the return trip back to Oakwood. Oakwood strives to develop well-rounded students with strong understandings in all disciplines and in the human instinct to create. The sixth grade trip immerses students in important arts and humanities learning experiences and is invaluable in this endeavor.

One of the most exciting Middle School traditions at The Oakwood School is the seventh grade class trip to Camp Cheerio, where for three nights, students enjoy the spectacular beauty and thrilling adventures that the North Carolina mountains have to offer. The trip is designed to build class community, allow students to challenge themselves, and foster an appreciation for the natural world. Every year, Camp Cheerio staff plans an exciting stay for our group. Students take part in outdoor challenge activities, which may include canoeing, hiking, zip lining, and a ropes course with low and high elements. Students always return with meaningful, personal stories from this adventure that they are certain to remember for a lifetime.

Additional experiential learning for Middle School students includes optional opportunities to travel abroad during Spring Break. These opportunities are possible due to the initiative of Middle School staff who share their love for travel and thirst for knowledge about areas far and wide. Recent educational travel has included study of the tropical climates of Costa Rica and the ancient Mayan cultures at Machu Picchu in Peru. For Spring Break 2018, students will have the opportunity to join his adventurous group in exploring the geysers and glaciers of Iceland!