The rite of passage activity for the 4th graders at my school is an overnight field trip to Seward, AK. It takes A LOT to get organized. There are arrangements with places to be made, permission slips and money to collect, food to buy and prepare to serve, and then actually be willing to spend almost 36 hours straight with our students. CRAZY! The days before the field trip are busy, busy and the kids are super excited. There are a few times that I think "I'm crazy. I can't do this." but it always works out well and everyone has a lifetime experience! That is why we do it. That is why we stress ourselves out and even corner some parents to get them to sign the permission slip. For some of these kids, this the only time they will ever be able to experience anything like this.
Our first stop is the playground/pavilion. The kids get to run around after being on the bus for 3 1/2 hours. This year, they actually were on a bus longer because their first bus started overheating so they had to get a new one. (I drove my own car because my little family was able to come with. You'll also see my daughter in some pictures instead of students because I don't have to blur out her face.)
They were able to see a sea otter and a couple of sea lions from the shore by the playground!
Our next stop was the Alaska Sea Life Center. It is a great place that focuses on Alaska marine animals. It is also a rehabilitation center for some animals. The kids were divided into small groups and sent with a chaperone and a scavenger hunt. This was a must. If the students don't have something specific to be looking at/for, they tend to just wander through without paying much attention to the information.
Enjoying the Touch Tank!
Sugar, the female sea lion, putting on a show for they kids. Woody, the male sea lion, was in a back area. He is huge though! He weights 1,700 lbs!
We walked past this little cafe and one of my students pointed out that if they took out the Z then it would be my cafe. I couldn't resist a picture after that.
Playing a little bit of football with an awesome dad!
We stayed the night in the gym of the local elementary school. The next morning we were up and at 'em and headed to the boat. We participated in the Kenai Fjord Marine Science Workshops.
Heading out into Resurrection Bay
Kids pulling in some plankton to look at under microscopes. They had to identify zooplankton and phytoplankton.
Checking out animals that are decomposers, consumers, and scavengers after a prevention from a park ranger.
Pulling in some water to determine the salinity.
Sea lions! They did have a class on marine mammals and sea birds and their adaptations for the arctic.
We were able to see many different animals. On the shore, we saw mountain goats and sea lions. Out in the water, we saw a North Pacific Humpback whale, Dall's porpoise, many sea birds, sea otter, and a small pod of orcas!
One even decided to come check out our boat! That was really exciting!
The field trip wouldn't be the same without an awesome team that coordinates their jackets without talking!