Technology, treasure hunts and experiential learning
Tying technology and mapping skills to a treasure hunt, learning about butterflies and that banana leaves can be used to make Banana Dolls were part of the fun and learning at a recent Bermuda National Trust AXIS Education Spring Camp.
Children ages eight to 11 enjoyed a week of fun with crafts and experiential learning.
At the beginning of the week the group set off on a walk along the trails at Spittal Pond. Guided by Education Officer Dörte Horsfield, they caught a few Mosquito Fish and Water Boatmen to have a closer look at these creatures that live and multiply in the pond.
Campers learned that the fish are able to live in the pond despite the varying levels of salinity in the water. The group experienced other parts of the Spittal Pond Nature Reserve, such as the rocky intertidal shoreline and tide pools. Year 5 BHS student Athena Marsh commented: Seeing the tide pools and an Indian Top Shell at Spittal Pond was cool.
The next day the group worked in teams at the Botanical Gardens and each set off with a map of the site in hand, reading a clue that would take them to different areas with other clues, collecting small objects that had been placed along the way.
At the end of the hunt the group used a hand-held GPS, which showed the coordinates to lead them to the spot of a Geo Cache in the garden. Following the rules of Geo Caching each camper took something from the small cache container and replaced their treasure with another item.
Nine-year-old Somersfield Academy student Alessio Dane-Pinardi said: This is my first time at the camp. I liked the Treasure Hunt at the Botanical Gardens and learning about Geo Caching.
Campers learned that butterflies are attracted to certain flowers and planted Milkweed in small pots that they painted beforehand. The learning continued with the creation of large hanging butterfly mobiles. Other plant pots took on a whole new look as campers stacked and glued small pots together, adding pipe cleaners for hair and using their artistic talents to include painted facial features.
Each creation had its own individual style. Later in the week, campers visited the historic town of St Georges and enjoyed visiting National Trust historic properties Tucker House and the Bermuda National Trust Museum at the Globe Hotel. In the Tucker House basement, campers used a trowel to dig for artifacts in a simulated dig box.
They learned how items that are found beneath the ground can tell us about the people that lived long ago. The final camp activity entailed experimenting with different baking ingredients to make chocolate chip banana cookies. Two teams produced equally delicious batches that were enjoyed by the children and National Trust staff.
Jude Snelling, a Warwick Academy Year 5 student, said: Everyone was friendly and fun to play with. We learned some cool things about Bermuda that I didnt even know about.
Cindy Corday is director of education for the Bermuda National Trust.