Photo Credit: Cameron Gillie
Join us on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail – one of Wisconsin’s premier outdoor classrooms – for fourth grade field experiences!
Expand Beyond Four Walls
Enhance your students’ fourth grade experience with hands-on knowledge-building in one of nature’s most fascinating learning environments!
Integrate multiple facets of your curriculum into a unique field experience designed to excite young minds.
Give your students the opportunity to rub shoulders with glacial features in a way that brings the pages of their textbooks (or tablets) to life.
Stretch legs and minds as your classroom takes a break from screen time, breathes fresh air, and absorbs a new perspective.
Yes! I am interested in having my 4th grade class participate in Think Outside with a presentation and field experience on the Ice Age National Scenic Trail during the 2023-2024 school and summer school year.
Engaging presentations by Ice Age Trail Alliance staff or expert volunteers will set the stage for the coming Field Experience. Ideally these presentations will be scheduled one to two weeks ahead of the outing.
We’ll talk about:
- The effects of the receding glaciers on Wisconsin’s landscape;
- How the Ice Age National Scenic Trail allows Wisconsinites to get up close and personal with the last Ice Age;
- Why one of eleven National Scenic Trails is located in Wisconsin; and, as a bonus,
- We’ll provide hints and tips to help the students have a successful hike.
A One-Day Field Experience
Teachers will receive:
- Transportation costs fully covered via reimbursement for 4th graders*;
- A toolkit that includes geology features, lesson plan activities, and a recommended hike location on a nearby Ice Age Trail segment.
- A map, directions, parking instructions, and description of Trail terrain;
- An Ice Age Trail Alliance representative able to lend his/her expertise and join you on this field experience (depends on availability).
*Transportation funding is available for only 4th graders. If the trip includes other grades, for example 3rd or 5th, the transportation funding will cover the percentage equal to the number of 4th graders. Funding is first-come, first-serve based on school registration date.
A Short Report
A report will be emailed to teachers after the hike to be completed and returned to the Ice Age Trail Alliance office, along with a transportation invoice(s)*.
The report will include:
- Number of students, teachers, parents involved;
- Hike location and miles hiked;
- Testimonials; and
- Two high resolution photos that can be used publicly.
*A reimbursement check will be issued to the school once the post field experience report is complete and an invoice has been received by the Ice Age Trail Alliance.
Virtual Learning: Ice Age National Scenic Trail Video Series
The National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, and the Ice Age Trail Alliance are proud to offer online learning opportunities for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teachers and students!
Learn about the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and the Ice Age Trail Alliance, the organization which works to conserve, create, maintain, and promote the Ice Age Trail. The stories of the Ice Age Trail and Ice Age Trail Alliance are a fascinating mix of vision, conservation, and passion, involving both famous Wisconsin politicians and thousands of private citizens.
Learn about the glacial land forms you may see while hiking the Ice Age Trail. The Ice Age Trail primarily interprets continental glaciation, but the story of the Trail goes back much farther on the geologic timeline. Did you know that as you walk the Ice Age Trail, your footsteps will take you back in time almost 2 billion years?
When people begin hiking the Ice Age Trail, interesting new words become part of their vocabulary as they learn about the geologic features along the route, including kames, drumlins, ice-walled-lake plains, outwash plains, eskers, and tunnel channels. Check out the Ice Age Trail Glossary for definitions of these and other features you are likely to encounter while hiking the Ice Age Trail.
As of 2020, the Ice Age Trail Alliance owns and manages more than 4,000 acres of land. A special Alliance-owned property, Swamplovers’ Preserve, received decades of restoration efforts to transform it into a diverse habitat for native plants and animals. You may also learn more about land management initiatives along the Ice Age Trail as well as the Alliance’s efforts to help protect the Karner blue butterfly.
Learn about how to have a safe and fun hike on the Ice Age Trail, your favorite park, or going for a walk around the block.
VIDEO COMING SOON!
Additional Educational Resources
In addition to the toolkit referenced above, the Ice Age Trail Alliance offers teachers and hike leaders this suite of resources:
You can download the Companion Guide for Sauntering – an Ice Age Trail journal [PDF] for students and children to use as they explore the Ice Age Trail.
A collaboration of Alliance staff, Saunters teachers and volunteers developed the guide, which covers core concepts related to the natural environment and includes activities students can complete on the Trail.
All activities are connected to the Common Core and/or Wisconsin Model Academic Standards. A guide for hike leaders that details the connections to Common Core and Wisconsin Model Academic Standards is also available.
Most hikes also connect with the Alliance’s ColdCache program which is an exciting way to explore and learn about the many natural features along the Ice Age Trail.
If you are looking for a classroom-friendly activity that allows your students to experience the thrill of a treasure hunt, learn important navigational skills and develop an appreciation for Wisconsin’s fascinating Ice Age history, ColdCaching is for you!
The Art of Sauntering: Games and Activities
This hike leader’s guide to games and activities (downloadable PDF) offers plenty ideas for how to get and keep kids engaged while out for a hike or field experience on the Ice Age Trail. These activities are a wonderful way to begin a hike, keep a group together, spice up a destination, or occupy part of the group while the other part catches up. Adults will enjoy them as much as children!
These activities are reprinted courtesy of courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and were originally developed by Delia Clark and Pat Straughan for Shelburne Farms.
The Explorer Program: Trail Discoveries
The following downloadable PDF playsheets (see example left) were created by Education Outfitters as a result of generous funding for a grant project known as “From the Inside Out”.
These playsheets are a great way to expand and deepen the hiking experience. Created by a former educator, these activities offer something for every learning style.
Playsheets appropriate for the following age groups:
When is a good time to learn more about the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and the Ice Age Trail Alliance?
Any time with a digital scavenger hunt!
Before you go out for an adventure on the Trail, explore www.iceagetrail.org and watch our virtual learning video series to learn more about what makes the Ice Age Trail so special, the unique glacial features you’ll see along the way, and how the Ice Age Trail Alliance is working to create, support and protect this thousand-mile footpath in Wisconsin.
Download and populate this Scavenger Hunt (a fillable PDF) with your discoveries!
The Answer Key is here.
Try StriveOn! It’s easy as 1-2-3!
- Download the free StriveOn! app by hovering your phone over this QR code. Tap on the web address that pops up and follow the instructions
- Once downloaded, you may create an account by entering your name and email. When opened, the geo-location-based app, will automatically alert you if you are near a featured item. For example, if you are located in Lodi, WI, StriveOn! will automatically display segment descriptions and eateries.
- When you are onsite at a trailhead, open the Trail segment in StriveOn! and click the EXPLORE button to activate engagement points along the Trail. Start hiking! Be sure to have your phone ringer ON so you can hear when you encounter an engagement point.
You may watch a short instructional video to learn how to use the StriveOn! app: https://youtu.be/q4RzGwsLaM8
See you on the Ice Age Trail!
Frequently Asked Questions (will answer the majority of your questions).
You may also speak directly with the Ice Age Trail Alliance’s Saunters – Think Outside Project Coordinator, Sarah Pearce, or Outreach and Education Manager, Amy Lord.
Email: Sarah – firstname.lastname@example.org
Email: Amy – email@example.com
About Our Saunters Program
Our Saunters program aims to honor Henry David Thoreau’s statement – “It is a great art to saunter” – while infusing core educational concepts into trips on the Ice Age Trail.
The program is a collaboration between the Alliance, school districts across Wisconsin, and community groups dedicated to taking youth on hikes.
Learn more about how you and your school district can take advantage of our Saunters program.
This project was made possible by a grant from the National Park Foundation through generous support of partners including Union Pacific Railroad and donors across the country.