For years, our elementary school did a sixth grade oceanography unit and had a field trip to California, Sea World and the Shedd Aquarium. I was able to chaperone Hallie’s trip and it was a popular excursion. For one reason or another, in between Hallie and Hunter, the school made a shift to 5th grade science camp at a local boy scout camp. (Oddly enough, the price was the same for both experiences.)

Hunter’s class was the last class to attend in early of March 2020 before they shut the camp down due to the pandemic. As Bennett entered 5th grade this year, we were hopeful he would get to have either science camp, or the oceanography trip. But the district came down hard at the beginning of the year and eliminate field trip options. And although an optimistic team would have probably planned a science camp on the assumption that restrictions would be lifted – our team went a different route – a one day “yesteryear” celebration on campus, culminating their western expansion unit. And although this was in no way a good replacement for science camp, Bennett had fun none the less.

They were asked to dress up in pioneer period clothing to participate in their day-long activities. They churned butter and ate it with homemade biscuits. They carved bars of soap. They ground corn. Pulled cotton. Learned how to square dance. Panned for gold. Potato sack races. For one day, they were transported back in time. In addition, they reported on one of their ancestors they researched.

The activity was a success. The kids were happy and willing participants and they really came to appreciate some of our modern-day conveniences. Bennett thought it was fun to use the clothes wringer – but when I reminded him what that would take to wash all of his clothes, he was grateful for our washer and dryer. 🙂

I’m grateful for so many parents and teachers who put so much effort into this activity to bring it to pass. Although, I am hopeful that in 6th grade, Bennett will get some sort of overnight science camp experience. Fingers crossed.