Wakefield Country Day School students in grades 3 through 5 ventured this past week to the Northern Virginia 4-H Center in Front Royal for an energetic day of team building activities in the great outdoors. In addition to hands-on lessons in natural resources, one goal of the trip was for students to see how every member of a group plays a vital role in decision making, determining the outcome of the challenge at hand.
The 4th and 5th graders tackled a variety of activities on the picturesque grounds in Harmony Hollow. While working in teams to complete fun challenges such as crossing several islands without touching the ground, walking a tightrope, and climbing a rock wall, 4-H program leaders encouraged students to focus on communications skills.
Students also learned safety protocols, such as when they were required to spot their friends during each challenge. In addition to lessons in collaboration, the 3rd grade students enjoyed forest exploration with Laura Harper, a 4-H program leader who led the group in stream sampling, lessons in forest ecology, and an invigorating discovery hike.
In each of the challenges, the adult teachers and volunteers watched the groups work through their obstacles and frustrations, and this provided teachers valuable insight into group dynamics in problem-solving situations.
“This was one of the best trips I’ve experienced,” said 4th grade teacher Amanda Hoffman after watching students work together to solve not only physical challenges but also mental tasks. “One such challenge involved students stacking tires.
“Five tires ranging in size from small to large had to be moved from one pole to another, and there were several rules that needed to be followed. For example, only one tire could be off at a time, and a larger tire could not rest on a smaller tire. Students worked hard for over 45 minutes solving this puzzle. I was quite impressed with their perseverance and great team work.”