Class Trips and Challenges

Each year Discovery students take on an exciting challenge. These adventures require problem solving skills, they require planning and fund-raising, they require that students be stretched just a bit. Most students look forward to the year-end class trips.


Early Discovery Center Bike Ride

Early Discovery Center students ride their bikes on the Centennial Trail from Mission Park to Riverfront Park and back to Mission Park for a picnic. For many students this is their first long excursion on a bike. For some it is the first ride without training wheels. For many families it has become a tradition which older siblings join in.


First and Second Overnight at School

First and Second graders participate in theme-based activities for two days including staying overnight in the school. This year's theme was "Dragons". After dinner prepared by parents, there were games, stories, crafts and bedtime snacks for tired students. The next brought more activities including a trip to the IMAX. For many students this is the first time away from home. For others it is the first time to keep track of your own belongings overnight.


Third and Fourth Camping Trip to Liberty Lake Park

Third and Fourth graders go camping for two days and one night at Liberty Lake Park Campgrounds. After saying goodbye to parents, campers first task is to set up their tents with tentmates. Tents come in many sizes and shapes and reading the directions (or practicing at home) and getting all the poles in the right places offers a great problem solving challenge. Next they tackle setting up group camping spaces for food preparation and meeting.

Handing out Journals during Camping Trip

Camping activities are organized around one of two themes: Habitat Studies (Forest, Stream, Marsh) or Outdoor Safety. The 1998/2000 theme was Habitat studies. The days were busy with flower walks, bird watching, canoeing, journaling, stream, marsh and forest investigations and analysis, campfire, as well as food preparation, clean-up and play time. For many students this is the first time to sleep out in a tent and the first time on a trip without parents.


Stream investigationsFinding macroinvertebrates

Here are the results of our stream studies. We compared our 1998 results with those from the camping group of 1996 and determined that many changes had taken place in the stream.




(parallel stream)

Stream bottom

small rocks


small rocks


50 F.

50 F.

50-54 F.





Flow rate




Stream appears





caddisfly larva

aquatic worms

caddisfly larva

mayfly larva


mayfly larva

stonefly larva

blackfly larva

stonefly larva

dragonfly larva




The macroinvertebrates found in the stream in 1996 are sensitive to conditions while the few macroinvertebrates found in 1998 are tolerant to poor conditions. The stream had filled with silt and the flow is less than two years ago. In Spring, 2000, students discovered that the stream had changed course and that most of the water now flowed through a streambed to the west of the original site. The condition of the stream, based on macroinvertebrates found, was good. Those macroinvertebrates found in 2000, were sensitive and only found in good stream conditions. Students waded carefully into the stream, turning over rocks to find macroinvertebrates. They also used a "kick seine" net to catch and identify the invertebrates. After identification, all were returned to the stream.

Here is a list of the birds identified in the Liberty Lake marsh.


song sparrow

red-breasted nuthatch

red-winged blackbird

barn swallow

marsh wren



yellow warbler

violet green swallow

brown headed cow bird

gold finch

Fifth, Sixth and Seventh 1998 Sailing Trip

Experiments on board Each year students in the Middle School (grades 6-8) decide on the kind of trip they want to take. The 1998 trip was a sailing trip to Puget Sound. Other years classes have gone to Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, Olympia, Seattle and Victoria. Students set the goal early in the year so that they can earn the money for the trip. On the sailing trip, students are the crew for the 61 ft. boat. Some students sleep on the boat, while others and teachers sleep in tents on land. Students took turns handling the boat and sails under the direction of crew members. Students also conducted scientific studies. They made a hypothesis to study and then the route was laid in to collect the needed data. Students were also the KP crew for the boat.

sailing on Puget Sound
Being the crew for a large sailboat is very challenging. Your crewmates depend on you, even when it is raining and cold. Teamwork is required even when you are tired or your friend is off and has free-time. Sailing is exciting and the waves can be big. Students always return exhilerated and eager to return.

1999 Fifth and Sixth Trip to San Juan Island

The 1999 spring trip included Whale Watching and the Whale Museum, Sea-Kayaking, Tide-Pooling, Ferry rides, camping and visits to American Camp on San Juan Island. San Juan Trip

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copyright (c) 1997, Lorna Kropp.
Discovery School.
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Revised: September 8, 2000