Well before Brigadoon 5th graders presented about how to survive in the wilderness without technology, there was plenty of excitement in the building. 

The front office staff was eager to come see what the students had been working on as they signed in visitors while a student in Mrs. Monte Calvo’s class eagerly reported to Brigadoon’s transformation coach Dr. Bryant that his water filter worked.

Students in Mrs. Monte Calvo and Mrs. Bockoras’ classes had plenty of preparation. This particular wilderness survival project cycle was developed months before at Summer Institute. 

For months, students read books on survival and had multiple visitors come teach them about topics like navigation and building a fire [the lesson on building a fire came from one of TAF’s Development Officers and former girl scout, Adelaide Leroy, using marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and coconut shavings]. Even their trip to the Pacific Science Center in November (check our social media for pictures!) helped them think about how weather and climate change affect wilderness survival.

Yet, as excited as they were to show all of their learning to their parents, younger students, and school and TAF staff, there were also nerves about presenting in front of other people.

When the time finally arrived, groups of two to four students set up their trifold poster boards on top of their desks and invited visitors to step up and learn how to survive in the wilderness. 

Groups were able to choose their wilderness survival topic. Both classrooms had a group covering how to build a fire, a group on how to build a shelter, and a group covering how to filter dirty water. There were also projects on what to bring on a camping trip, first aid, tools, and navigation. 

Each group had brochures for visitors to read and took the time to consider how the time of year affected their topic. In music class, they also considered how they could build instruments in the wilderness, like drums or a banjo, as a form of entertainment. Many groups even designed an interactive element such as a game to play.

So, come take a look and a listen.

💧Water Filtration💧

If you are in the wilderness without technology, you will definitely need clean water. So, pack some cotton balls before you head out, pull the charcoal out of your fire, and grab some gravel, sand, and big rocks. 

Don’t forget to boil the water!

🗺️🧭Navigation 🧭🗺️

“”How does it do that?” a fourth grader asked. 

“North has a magnetic force.” The presenting student continued. 

That’s why you can navigate using a bowl of water, a pin, a piece of foam, and a small magnet.

🎒What to Pack🎒

The Backpack Game!

Students made cards with pictures of items you might potentially take on a hike.

To play the game, you put the cards either in the backpack or in the trash, depending on if you thought it was necessary to pack while camping or hiking. High scorers could make the leaderboard!

Here are the essentials versus what to leave at home:

Did you make the leaderboard? 🏅

TAF staff did! 

Instructional coach Dr. Nina Markham (not pictured), TAF@Saghalie Director Essence Russ, and Grant Writer Sarah Wilkes know how to pack to head into the wilderness.

Other Highlights

Shelter Game

One of the shelter groups had a game where players had a limited amount of time to fill their shelter with the essentials by drawing on a whiteboard.

First Aid

The first aid group gave away first aid kit supplies to people who asked them good questions.

🥁 Entertainment 🥁

One of the groups on water filtration explained how to make a drum using animal skin, shoelaces, and wood.

They called it “Drummy Boy.”

🔥🔥Building a Fire🔥🔥

Though PE teacher Mr. Kauffman really wanted to build a real fire, one of the fire building groups did allow him to make a fake one.

It still needed a ring of stones around it to keep it contained.

🤝 Teamwork 🤝

This group was so nervous about presenting their project and later was so happy that they did well.

“That’s how we roll” was their answer to why wanted to hover their hands instead of high fiving.

Brigadoon’s 5th graders hope you learned something that will keep you safe the next time you head into the wilderness!