Class Descriptions / Lesson Plans

These class descriptions are here to aid you in your class choices. Each description includes a summary of each class, a list of key concepts, suggested grade levels, best class size, and the best season for the class to occur. Most of our classes are designed to work best in a period of time of 90 minutes unless the description states otherwise. The class size listed is for one class at a time, although it is possible to run multiple groups of the same class during the same period of time.

Many of the classes can be modified to work with different ages, number of students, or lengths of time. Contact the Environmental Education Director to discuss any changes that need to be made.

Aquatic Education Classes

Aquatic Ecologist – Lesson Plan
Students will make an in-depth analysis of the waterways at Camp Edwards including the wetlands and the lake. They will study the abiotic and biotic factors that can affect the quality of the water. The data that they collect will be added to our water quality investigation that you can review with the class.
Class Length: 2 Hours
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 6th – 12th
Seasons: Fall and Spring
Key Concepts: Water Testing, Human Impact on Water

Pond Mucking – Lesson Plan
Students get a chance to collect aquatic organisms from Lake Beulah to gain an understanding of pond and lake inhabitants and their ecology. They will use the organisms that they find to classify the health of the Aquatic Ecosystem that they are investigating.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 3rd – 8th
Seasons: Fall and Spring
Key Concepts: Identifying Aquatic Insects, Determining the Health of an Aquatic Ecosystem

Water Works – Lesson Plan
Students will learn the basics about the water cycle and the importance of water in our everyday lives through several games and discussions. They will learn about the water on Earth, how much there is, what we use it for, and how to conserve it.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 30 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: What is the Water Cycle, Importance of Water Conservation

Wetland Wonders – Lesson Plan
Students will explore our Marsh in this hands on exploration. They will journey over the wetlands on our boardwalk, learning about the animals and plants that make up this unique ecosystem through several games and learning activities.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: All Grades
Seasons: All (best in Fall/Spring)
Key Concepts: Identifying Living Organisms in the Wetlands, Interconnectedness and Importance of the Marsh, Succession

Land and Forest Classes

Pines and Prairies – Lesson Plan
Students explore and discover these two important ecosystems. They will learn about the types of trees, plants, and animals that live in each ecosystem and how they contribute to the overall health of the system. They will also learn what an edge habitat is and how it is beneficial to the wildlife that lives there.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 3rd – 8th
Seasons: All (best in Fall/Spring)
Key Concepts: Identifying Life in Both the Pines and Prairie, Predators and Prey, Camouflage, Adaptation

Tree Talk – Lesson Plan
Students gain an appreciation of one of the most valuable resources on earth…TREES! Through the use of hands-on activities, students learn how to identify common trees, learn about the layers of a forest and succession, and the value of trees and their uses.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All
Key Concepts: Basic Structure of Trees, Identification of Local Trees, Invasive Species

Soil Investigations
Students will learn that the soil is more than just dirt in this in depth look at the world beneath their feet. Students will get down and dirty learning about the properties of soil. They will cover the composition, porosity, texture, and types of soil in this great hands-on class.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All (best in Fall/Spring)
Key Concepts: Soil Composition, Soil Types, How Soil Type Affects Usage by Humans

Wildlife Classes

All About Wolves – Lesson Plan
Students will learn about the present, past, and future of one of the most controversial of animals in history, Wolves. They will study these awe-inspiring animals through folklore, natural history, games, and hands on activities. This class can be a great lead in to Alpha Wolf evening program.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Canine Identification, Impact of Wolves

Birds, Birds, Birds – Lesson Plan
This lesson covers the amazing group of birds. The students will discover their unique adaptations with the option to touch many bird specimens as well as having the opportunity to learn about some local species of birds.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Bird Adaptations, Local Bird Identification

Eco-Connections – Lesson Plan
Ecosystems are made up of complex relationships between many different living and non-living factors. In this class the students will cover concepts about the interconnectivity between all living things in an ecosystem. Through a variety of games and activities they will cover concepts of food chains and webs, predation, transmission of energy, limiting resources, and human impacts on the ecosystem.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 30 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Predator and Prey, Food Chains and Webs, Human Impacts on the Ecosystem

Life in Cold Blood – Lesson Plan
In this exciting activity, students will explore the fascinating world of cold blooded animals, mainly reptiles and amphibians also known as herptiles. Through live animals and activities they will discover just what makes them unique from other animals as well as how they differ from one another. The students will have the opportunity to handle some amazing local amphibians and reptiles.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 30 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Herptile Taxonomy, Animal Interactions

On the Right Track – Lesson Plan
Students will become wildlife detectives learning about and exploring for tracks and other clues to find out what types of animals live in the wilderness around camp. Students will also play games that focus on camouflage, coloration, and survival adaptations. In winter, tracking is taught as a more in-depth part of the class.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Animal Adaptations, Nature Observation

Predator / Prey – Lesson Plan
In this activity the students take on the role of various animals on different levels of the food chain. Each student must find the necessary parts of his/her habitat to survive. Students will gain an understanding of the balance required in natural systems and the role or “niche” various animals have in a community.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: 50 Students
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Animal Adaptations, Limiting Factors, Predation, Human Impact

Save our Species (S.O.S.) – Lesson Plan
It may not look like it, but many of the native Wisconsin native species are under attack. This class will focus on a variety of resident invasive species with fun simulations to get the students thinking about the role of invasive species in the ecosystem as well as some hands on identification and removal of some of the worst offenders.
Class Length: 90 Min.
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 5th – 12th
Seasons: All Year (Spring best)
Key Concepts: Human impact, Natural Changes vs. Unnatural Changes

History Classes

Living History – Lesson Plan
During this class the students will learn about three distinct groups that played a large part in the history of Wisconsin and Illinois. They will learn about the fur trade, logging era and the Native Americans, specifically the Potawatomi and the Ho-Chunk through hands on activities.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 1st – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Wisconsin/Illinois History, Voyageur Living, Lumberjack Living, Native American Living

Native American Life – Lesson Plan
This class covers the life that Native Americans lived in the area before western settlers moved into Wisconsin/Illinois. The students will learn through stories, games, and hands on artifacts that will engage and excite them.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Native American History, Changes with the Arrival of Settlers

Pioneer Past Times – Lesson Plan
Students will learn about the pioneers that settled the Illinois and Wisconsin regions. They will start out discussing the wagon trains that would carry the settlers and then go on an adventure through the past. They will cover topics such as the roles of children, games, food, tools, and more.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Minutes
Grades: K – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Living Conditions of Pioneers in the Area, Role of Pioneer Children in the Family, Games the Pioneers Would Play

Teambuilding Classes

Climbing Wall – A Camp Edwards Staff member must lead.
Students get to challenge themselves on the Power Tower. The Power Tower is a 35 foot climbing structure that has several different levels of climbing difficulty. Students work together to encourage, challenge, and above all have fun.
There is a $5 charge per person for the climbing wall.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: Fall and Spring
Key Concepts: Personal Challenge, Improved Group Dynamics

Communication Breakdown – Lesson Plan
Through this activity the students will have to work together in groups to complete a common objective. Through the activity the students will become aware of the importance of clear, concise communication.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 30 Students
Grades: 3rd – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Communication

Cooperative Group Games
Students participate in fun initiative activities that encourage them to interact with others and look at problems in new ways. These are great rainy day alternatives or pre/post activities to the Group Initiatives Course.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Teamwork, Cooperation, Communication, and Leadership Skills

Group Initiatives – Lesson Plan
Students participate in a series of physical obstacles that challenge the group’s cooperation and communication skills. Discussion or “processing” of each challenge is an important part of this program that helps the students understand the importance and relevance of the activities.
Class Length: 1-3 Hours
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Teamwork, Cooperation, Communication, and Leadership Skills

High Ropes – A Camp Edwards Staff member must lead.
Students will have the opportunity to challenge themselves on our new high ropes course. The course is 35 feet above ground and features 4 exciting elements that the students must navigate through, ending with a 420 foot zip line.
There is a $10 charge per person for the High Ropes Course.
Class Length: 2-3 Hours
Max Class Size: 20 People
Grades: 5th – 12th
Seasons: Fall and Spring
Key Concepts: Confidence, Perseverance, and Personal Challenge

Low Ropes – A Camp Edwards staff member or trained individual must lead.
Students will participate in a nine-station confidence course where individual persistence and coordination are encouraged through group trust and support.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: 15 Students
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Confidence, Trust, and Communication

Zip Line – A Camp Edwards Staff member must lead.
Students have the opportunity to go on our 420 foot zip line. They will be outfitted with the appropriate safety gear and then climb the 30 feet to the top of the zip line.
There is a $5 per person charge for the zip line.
Class Length: 1 Hour
Max Class Size: 30 Students
Grades: 4th – 12th
Seasons: Fall and Spring
Key Concepts: Confidence, Personal Challenge

Seasonal Classes

Maple Syruping
Learn all about maple syrup from the tap to the tree. Students get to learn about the history of maple syruping, how it is made through hands on activities and demonstrations, and even a taste test.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 12th
Seasons: March-Early April
Key Concepts: Historical Maple Syrup Production, Tree Identification, Tree Structure and Function

Winter Critters – Lesson Plan
Students will learn about how animals adapt to winter conditions, how to identify tracks and learn about some common winter bird and mammal species. Take a romp in the snow and explore what the winter has to offer.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: K – 3rd
Seasons: December-February
Key Concepts: Animal and Plant Winter Adaptations, Track Identification, Fun in the Snow

Outdoor Adventure Classes

Archery – Lesson Plan
Students will learn about the proper techniques for archery. They will be taught the proper stance and aiming techniques in order to make their archery time more successful and rewarding.
This class needs to be taught by an Edwards Staff member or knowledgeable adult.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: 30 Students
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: March
Key Concepts: Archery Skills, Archery Safety

Canoeing or Row Boating – Lesson Plan
Students will be taught the basics of canoe or rowboat operation. They will then be given the chance to row/paddle around Lake Beulah within the boundaries set by our lifeguard. All participants will be required to wear a lifejacket.
A Camp Edwards lifeguard must be present for any of our watercraft on Lake Beulah.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: 30
Grades: Canoes 3rd – 12th, Row Boats K – 12th
Seasons: Fall and Spring
Key Concepts: Water Safety, Canoe/Row Boat Operation

Compass Frisbee Golf – Lesson Plan
The students will be able to understand how to find compass bearings, list the four cardinal directions, and complete an orienteering course in the form of a nine or eighteen hole course. Amphitheater Course (Beginner) or Pines Course (Advanced).
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 3rd – 8th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Compass Use, Nature Exploration

Fire Quest – Lesson Plan
This class takes the students through basic fire building ideas. They will be given the opportunity to try several primitive fire building techniques, learn how to build a fire, and safely put it out.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 4th – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Fire Safety, How to Build a Fire

Give Me Shelter – Lesson Plan
During this class the students will be given the opportunity to learn about how to survive in the wilderness. This class focuses on building debris shelters using what the campers can find in nature along with basic information about survival situations. This class brings in elements of teamwork to complement the survival skills.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 3rd – 10th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Teambuilding, Survival Skills

Orienteering – Lesson Plan
Students embark on a mission to find their way around the athletic field in teams. After learning how to use a compass, they will journey through our two orienteering courses using pacing and compass bearings to find out the message of the course.
Training is available for teachers that need a refresher.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 30 Students
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Compass Usage, Teamwork

Scavenger Hunt
This scavenger hunt allows the students to explore Camp Edwards in a fun and controlled manner. They will be given specific natural objects that they must collect and actions that they must perform in their groups. There should be at least one adult per group for the scavenger hunt because it will take you all across camp.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Class Size: Any
Grades: Any
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Exploring Camp, Wilderness Exploration, Group Bonding

Wilderness Survival – Lesson Plan
This class focuses on what it is like to be in a survival situation. The students have the chance to go through a survival role play where they must help each other survive safely. This can be combined with Give Me Shelter, Fire Quest, and a cookout in order to make a Survival Day. Alternate themes can include a focus on the book Hatchet to complement in-class reading.
Class Length: 1-6 Hours
Max Class Size: 20 Students
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Survival Necessities, Survival Kit

Evening Activities

Evening programs are a great time to have fun with your students. The programs can be run individually or combined to have a longer program. The Camp Edwards staff will run one evening for you free of charge and can add additional evenings for a minimal charge.

Adaptation Auction
Animals have amazing adaptations that allow them to thrive in their native environments. This program is run game show style and encourages the students to work together as a team. Their goal is to create an animal that has the best set of adaptations to survive in a specific environment through a high energy auction.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Group Size: 50 People
Grades: 3rd – Adult
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Types of Adaptations, Fiscal Responsibility

Alpha Wolf – Lesson Plan
A fun nighttime game where students become a pack of wolves trying to find the “alpha wolf” who will be hiding somewhere in camp by using their senses of hearing and sight and howling as the only form of communication. The students will be split into small groups with an adult with each “pack.”
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year

Astronomy
Focuses on the stars, the moon, and the planets, allowing students to examine the night sky in a way that’s just not possible inside the confines of a normal school day. We’ll use the telescope to take a close look at a few specific celestial objects. We’ll also use star finders, star charts and binoculars to find various constellations and bright stars. Students will be led through discussions and activities that bring understanding to astronomical topics.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: 40 Students
Grades: K – 12th
Seasons: All (Weather Depending)
Key Concepts: Constellation Identification, Moon Phases

Campfire
Students participate in an outdoor or indoor program, depending on the weather, where songs, stories, and skits can be shared around the warmth of a fire.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: K – 12th
Seasons: All Year

Dutch Auction
Now it’s not Dutch and it’s not an auction….so what is it? Dutch auction is a game where campers are asked to bring items from their cabin to use as costumes and props for the random categories the staff may come up with. Creativity, a sense of humor, and random objects are the setting for this crazy reverse scavenger hunt. Great for large groups.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year

Minute to Win It
This program is based on the game show of the same name. Students will be divided up into several teams and then must compete in crazy competitions that take only one minute to complete. Can be done inside or outside, depending on the weather.
Class Length: 1-2 Hours
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: K – 12th
Seasons: All Year

Night Hike – Lesson Plan
Students take a walk without flashlights, experiencing the night through a series of sensory activities. Search for signs of nocturnal animals and discover how well the human eye sees at night.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: 20 per group
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Nocturnal Adaptations, Exploring the Night

Owl Prowl – Lesson Plan
An indoor program where students learn about the fascinating world of Raptors. The program focuses on adaptations unique to owls through a Power Point presentation, hands-on activities, and Raptor artifacts. This class goes along great with an owl pellet dissection class.
Owl pellets can be provided for an extra charge.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: 3rd – 12th
Seasons: All Year
Key Concepts: Nocturnal Adaptations, Identification of Local Raptors

Skit Night
Skit night is a time for your students to shine and show their creativity. Each cabin will be given the chance to either come up with their own skit or pick from Camp Edwards’ list of skits. They will then have some time to practice them and then perform them for the whole school. Great rainy evening alternative.
Class Length: 90 Minutes
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: K – 12th
Seasons: All Year

Zingers
The Zingers evening activity is a fast paced series of games that will keep your students moving. They will have the chance to participate in many different 10 minute games. This is a perfect evening activity for those students that just have a little more energy at the end of the day. Games can include knee tag, razor ball, Alaskan baseball, zoom, flinch, pop, relay races, and many more.
Class Length: One Hour
Max Class Size: Any
Grades: K – 12th
Seasons: All Year

Helpful Links