Fourth and Fifth graders engage in experiential learning together on an alternating year plan. The experiences enhance the study of American history and delve into environmental science, deepening the knowledge and understanding of classroom curriculum.
On odd years, fourth and fifth graders take their environmental science knowledge and understandings gained in the classroom through STEAM education and travel to an education center for two days, where they participate in a variety of exploratory, discovery, and laboratory experiences. For example, if visiting the Duke Marine Lab, 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. Excursions and opportunities change but remain science focused.
On even years, fourth and fifth graders 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.
Sixth and Seventh graders engage in experiential learning together on an alternating year plan. The experiences shared by the Upper Middle School students encourage personal growth, build community and create lasting memories. Alternating year experiences begin in ODD years with one of the most exciting Middle School traditions at The Oakwood School a 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 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, caving, 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.
In EVEN years, sixth and seventh graders travel together to Camp Hanes, where for two nights, students engage in team building activities led by the camp staff and cultural arts experiences at the Sawtooth Center for Visual Arts where they explore a variety of art activities including options such as large frame printing, metalwork and digital printing. Oakwood strives to develop well-rounded students with strong understandings in all disciplines and in the human instinct to create. The combined objectives of personal growth, community building and immersion into the arts to unlock their creative potential are invaluable experiences for our Upper Middle School students.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------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, exploring the geysers and glaciers of Iceland, and walking in Darwin’s footsteps in the Galapagos Islands.