Oregon recently enacted Senate Bill 13: Tribal History / Shared History which has given us a starting point to shift our program towards a place-based experience. We believe it is crucial that the curriculum allows students to see reflections of themselves and others. We want the outdoor, overnight program to be inclusive, engaging and relatable for all students.
In order to do this, we need to tell a broader array of stories and hope to emphasize the marginalized or hidden. We anticipate including more social studies topics, leading with Geography and Multicultural Studies.
Below are the field studies as they existed before the program shifted:
"In the Wilderness" explores various reasons that people came west toward Oregon and looks at the livelihoods of the early settlers of the Oregon country.
"On the Trail" takes us back to the days of the pioneer and what was included in preparing for and traveling across the land to Oregon.
"At the Homestead" draws us into the difficult life faced by the pioneers as they arrived in Oregon Country and began building their new homes.
"At the cabin" focuses on life at the homestead after the cabin was built and takes a look at all the work done at a homestead to meet the basic needs of life.
The following activities are options for field studies:
The Fur Trade (Social Studies, Science, Reading)
- Examine beaver pelt and beaver skull.
- See an old time animal trap.
- Look at a beaver felt hat.
- Discuss the importance of the beaver to the fur trade and the opening up of the west.
Panning (Social Studies, Science)
- Learn panning techniques.
- Pan for pyrite or magnetite.
- Discuss the gold rush as a factor for opening up the west.
Make a Rope (Social Studies, Pioneer Crafts)
- Using binder twine make a section of rope to take home
Map an Acre (Mathematics, Social Studies)
- Learn how much land pioneers could homestead.
- Pace out and flag the size of an acre or half acre.
Map that Trail (Social Studies)
- Walk an unfamiliar path through the forest.
- Draw a map of the path for others to follow.
Bread & Butter (Pioneer Crafts, Outdoor Cooking)
- Make your own butter in a small jar.
- Cook bread over coals.
- Eat your bread using your homemade butter.
Pioneer Logging Tools (Social Studies, Living History)
- Learn the parts of a cross-cut saw.
- Learn the names of other old-time logging tools.
- Learn tool safety.
- Practice using the tools.
Build a Cabin (Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Life Skills)
- Pacing & Measuring a tree.
- Calculating how many logs they will need to build a log cabin.
- Put together a small log cabin
Grain Milling (Social Studies, Life Skills)
- Students mill wheat berries or oat groats into flour to take home for baking.
- Students crack corn to make into birdseed to take home.
Candles (Social Studies, Life Skills, Pioneer Crafts)
- Using string and wax, make a small dip candle
Trees of Life (Science, Social Studies)
- Learn to identify some different trees
- Meet the Western Redcedar tree and learn about its historical value to the peoples of the Oregon territories
Plant Walk (Science)
- Take a walk and learn a few of the plants of the Cascade foothills
Packing the Wagon (Social Studies, Mathematics)
- Make choices of items to bring on trip
- Pack items into wagon
Nature Journals (Social Studies, Language Arts, Art and Science)
- Read stories of pioneers' experiences at Laurel Hill and in the later stages of the journey.
- Free write about Laurel Hill experiences as if you were a pioneer.
- Draw sketches of plants from your hike.
- Do a drawing in your journal.
Wagon Drop (Social Studies, Life Skills, Living History)
- Work together with field study group to successfully lower a small wagon down a simulated "Laurel Hill‟ without tipping or losing contents.
Children's Toys on the Trail (Social Studies)
- Hear about one family's life in a cabin on the trail.
- Get an overview of all the toys and how they work.
- Play with toys carried on the trail. Have competitions. Set records for top spinning, etc.
Pioneer Doll (Life Skills, Social Studies, Pioneer Crafts)
- Parents help students make a pioneer doll or drawstring bag.
- Parents thread needles and tie knots.
Washing Day (Social Studies, Life Skills)
- Practice using cake soap, wash board and wringer on baby clothes