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Outdoor Classroom at Northway
Outdoor Classroom at Northway
Doug Richards
Monday, May 06, 2019

The Outdoor Classroom is a reference to the Naturalistic and Interpersonal Intelligence of Northway student body.  Lessons learned through the year are applied in this unique hands-on, experiential learning environment in a an inter-woven cultural aspect of the Outdoor leadership curriculum.  Fun, engaging lessons and programs are designed to stimulate a student's natural curiosity and to provide real world learning in every subject area. From the unique Orienteering lesson to lesson in Native American Cree survival shelters: Birch Bark tinder and healing studies to include Chaga Tea, Birch oils and water; Wilderness survival skills, to include first aid and extreme cold weather survival techniques; Primitive hunting and trapping techniques, Bushcraft tools and techniques, and finally Siberian Log Fire construction and maintenance.  

The outdoor classroom has, weirdly, wi-fi service and a campfire as its main learning center, while both CHAMPS and Blended Learning is applied to each of the stations, stations set up in 3 units of Cree Tipi structures run and operated in the cross-curricular and multi-grade level exercise.

Have lesson plans for Siberian Log Fire, Birch Bark Harvest and usage, Orienteering, Wilderness Survival, Outdoor leadership, Bushcraft Skills, Cree Tipi Construction and History.  

Station 1 miniature Cree Survival Tipi survival structure .

Staton 2

Bark Identification

Birch Bark tree identification and bark gathering for tinder, lesson included identification of unique birch tree users to include birch bark Mellgar Carving, oil, sap and multiple birch bark uses as spoons and canoes

Station 3

Siberian Log Fire Lesson and Bush Craft tool Identification and usage

Station 4

Traditional trapping and hunting tools for harvest.

Along with our “regular” usage, this past week we have had a Artist in Residence working with our students. Mr. Mike Rearden from Homer Ak. came and did some traditional carving with our students. They were carving both spoons and boats and when Mike noticed our outdoor classroom he asked if he could take the students out and use it. After his time with the students he wrote the following:

“Students from Northway school were learning how to carve with traditional crooked knives. They carved spoons and boats at the outdoor classroom in the woods near the school. The knives used are traditionally used to make snowshoes, spoons, bowls and other implements."