At the end of April the fourth grade students at ACS participated in an overnight adventure to Laklouk, led by the teachers and administration. Lower School Principal Ms. Diann Osterlund said “it was an excellent opportunity for kids to extend their social studies and science curriculum beyond the classrooms” by participating in many hands on activities and observing firsthand the world around them.
The trip started off with a visit to Byblos, where the students had the chance to learn about the ancient ruins and the history that surrounds that beautiful place. Later, they learned from an expert how fossils are made and how the species of sea creatures have evolved here in Lebanon. The students then had the opportunity to search for their own fossils by chiseling and breaking apart ancient stones and each child was given a small packaged fossil to keep. Ms. Hania’s student John Ziyadeh loved the activities but for him, the fossils were cool. When he was asked about them he said “it is so nice to see something that no one else has ever seen before.”
After that, it was off to an Eco Lodge in Laklouk. There they participated in activities designed to build the students’ self-confidence and sense of teamwork. Stephanie Zaarati of Ms. Erin’s class said ‘in the beginning you are scared but then it’s fun.” Programs included the chance to learn archery, how to fish, ride bikes, and even challenge themselves on a difficult ropes course.
In the evening, the students and faculty went on a night hike observing the stars, constellations and planets that were studied during their unit on the solar system. They learned how to navigate in the dark and talked about the phases of the moon. Ruby Baloud, of Ms. Maura’s class, was “amazed to see Jupiter as a star in the sky.” Mr. Andre had them quietly using their senses to make observations of this nighttime world including hearing the foxes in the forest.
The next day the students went on a hike across the mountains where they pointed out the natural resources of Lebanon and discussed ways to protect and preserve them. Students were excited as they observed tadpoles, a hawk, cool rocks, lovely flowers, plus the vast expanse of the mountains around them.
After the hike students met a local farmer who explained how to milk a cow and the importance of dairy products in our daily lives. Each student then had the chance to milk one of the cows, which was a very entertaining experience! Afterwards, they learned how to make cheese from the milk and took turns helping out during the process.
As they headed back to school, the students realized that their visit to Laklouk gave them a greater sense of independence and a deeper understanding of the world around them.