Bridge and lake in autumn
NJSOC Articles

John Adams Elementary School Provides Outdoor Experience for Fifth Graders

Posted in: NJSOC Announcements

Students challenge themselves on the Climbing Wall.
Students challenge themselves on the Climbing Wall. Photo courtesy of Leighann Tota


The John Adams School visited the School of Conservation at Stokes State Forest at the beginning of April, enjoying the spring weather for three days packed with outdoor activities. During the day, the students of John Adams’ fifth-grade class participated in outdoor pursuits, social sciences, and environmental sciences classes. In the evenings, the group enjoyed a nature show, dance, and a campfire. The students even braved the dark for a night hike around Stokes State Forest.


To begin their field trip, the group started with ASE, a teambuilding activity that stands for Action Socialization Experience. The students were split into groups that rotated throughout stations in the woods designed to test their communication and teamwork skills. The stations were challenging, but the groups did an amazing job learning to work and communicate with each other. By the end of the session, everyone had greatly improved their teambuilding skills.


The students were excited to participate in Woodworking, a class that gave the group hands-on experience in learning woodworking skills and crafting their own masterpiece. At the beginning of class, the students learned about how early American settlers crafted wood before the Industrial Revolution, from felling the tree all the way to using a shaving horse to smooth the wood. The students trained with tools such as the two-person crosscut saw and a fro and fro mallet before taking the rest of the class to make their own woodworking craft to take home.


In Stream Geo-Ecology, the students learned all about watersheds and how pollution affects our water quality at every part of our watershed. They took a hike through Stokes State Forest on the beautiful Blue Mountain Trail, observing how the Flat Brook has shaped the land over thousands of years. The group even had a chance to search for macroinvertebrates in the water, turning over rocks and using nets to find the tiny creatures living in our stream.


Over the course of the three-day field trip, John Adams was able to participate in a number of fun outdoor classes. At the Climbing Wall and the Confidence Course, the students learned to challenge themselves and cheer on their classmates as they balanced and climbed through our Challenge Course. In Questing, the groups went on a treasure hunt through the woods, learning about forest life as they explored, and in Survival, the groups learned handy survival skills as they took a hike through Stokes State Forest. The students learned about the early American settlers in Pioneer Life and played a simulation of the food web in our Web of Life class.


Everyone at the School of Conservation was delighted to work with the John Adams students, teachers, and chaperones during their visit. It was a fun and exciting three days, and the fifth graders brought enthusiasm to all of their classes. The teaching staff at the School of Conservation would like to thank everyone at John Adams for making the trip possible—we look forward to hosting next year’s field trip!

Article written by Leighann Tota