Student Projects

Into the Wild Project

Authors: Sonya Park, Anna Petrick, Rob Vetter

Grade: 9th

Subjects: Humanities, Multimedia, Physics

Group shot in front of really big serpent sculpture
Students rest while hiking in the desert
Cooking hot dogs over a campfire
Students hiking in the desert

Living in today’s modern, fast-paced society, it can be difficult to find a moment to appreciate the beauty and power of the natural world that surrounds us. Through this project, students will create various camping gear through their knowledge of Physics and also devote time to appreciate Mother Nature and civilized amenities alike through a camping trip. Students will have to use their projects to complete various challenges presented during the camping trip. Additionally, students will reflect on man’s own nature through the readings and discussions of various readings such as Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

  • What does it mean to be a “survivor”?
  • Why should we care about and respect the environment and each other?
  • How can we use our knowledge of thermodynamics/physics to survive in the wild/live in harmony with nature?
  • What is human’s nature?

Truly an engaging and memorable way to start off the year! Not only were students participating in authentic project-based learning (in order to eat during the trip they had to make sure their Physics projects were functioning!) but we all had an opportunity to take the learning outside of the classroom (we went on one local hike to Elfin Forest in Escondido in addition to the overnight camping trip to Anza-Borrego Desert) and students were also encouraged to take risks in so many different ways. Students that normally do not endeavor out into the wild got the chance to do so and we also spent a day at an indoor rockclimbing gym to experience some authentic risk-taking that the characters in the book Into the Wild did.

Parents were a huge component of this project — without drivers to get us to the field trips and chaperones during the camping trip itself, none of this would have been possible.