The Floating A Unique Outdoor Learning Adventure

Paddling for students burns off energy and introduces the great Canadian Outdoors. By combining paddling with interactive learning, a floating classroom is created… that no student will forget.

A new approach to outdoor education has been the concept of a floating classroom. In southern Ontario, near Paris, the Grand River is being used as a teaching backdrop. Students can hop aboard a raft with naturalists, foresters and historians to do a paddling adventure into the valley.

Eight-man rafts are used because they paddle like large canoes, but offer total safety. The goal is to get all students into the outdoors… far from the computer screens of feigned reality. The paddle in the hands of the student becomes like the familiar “computer mouse”… maneuvering through the large “River” screen.

The very act of rafting creates team work. As students paddle together, the guide reads a “Joe Bushman” quiz. In response, students banter… seeking the answers. From ridiculous laughter to amazing insight, everyone finds themselves cheering or groaning. There are tough inventive questions like “which animal in the valley fights bum to bum… or how can you keep your pots shiney without scrubbing them?”

Then there is the natural competition between rafts, great effort and energy is spent trying to sneak up and splash. Added are competitions where teams pull to shore to compete in “Cook dat Egg”. In this situation, each team is given a pot, egg and matches. The goal is to see which team can build a fire, boil the egg and eat it. The desire to win develops instant team strategy… along with the decision of who will eat it! This whole event brings forth leaders & doers from unexpected corners. You would like to obtain additional information with regards floating dock for sale to kindly pay a visit to our website.

Along the way students can stop to swim or body surf a river swift with life jackets. They also enjoy dumping out their water bottles and filling up with the real stuff from springs. The highlight is the unexpected… spotting a deer, seeing a plunging osprey or surprised by the flash of a large fish. The excitement of “where is it” catches every ones attention.

Hikes are conducted to give a “feel” for the Carolinian Forest that the group is paddling through. There is the chance to see beaver chews, try wild edible plants, taste wild honey and learn aboriginal remedies. Trees identification is taught by using the quirks of smell and touch. There are climbs to scenic bluffs where students sit in a panoramic classroom, hearing the peculiarities of the extinct Neutrals in the valley below.

The story telling while sitting together in the rafts, is where interest is honed and history remembered. Each guide has a repertoire of stories… telling about wildlife, European settlers and aboriginals. Students absorb as quickly as the tale is told. And questions flow.

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