Sixth Grade Survival Trip

Published On: September 24th, 2022 | Categories: Food for Thought |

One of the most popular field trips of the Powhatan School experience is the annual sixth grade Survival Trip. Last week students and faculty headed out on the Shenandoah River to put their survival skills to the test. This epic cross-curricular overnight camping trip provides students with an unique experiential learning activity that draws directly from their readings in the classroom.

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Cross-Curricular Learning:

The Survival Trip is based on the book Hatchet by author Gary Paulsen. It is the first book students read in Mrs. Jaffe’s sixth grade English class. It chronicles the path back to civilization by Brian, the main character of the book, after he survives a plane crash in the wilderness. Brian’s ability to make fire is a pivotal part of the book and the students learn how to make fire using items found in nature. While Brian remained alone in nature for 54 days, our students spend two beautiful days kayaking, canoeing, making arrowheads and blow darts, and practicing archery.


“One of the things I love about Powhatan is the way we bring in experts in various fields across campus,” comments Mr. Legge, the Upper School Science Department Chair. “We are alway very grateful to Michael Sottosanti, a primitive skills expert, to join us. The kids always enjoy his teaching and instructions on how to start a fire in the wild. He is able to share his deep knowledge of survival techniques and his love of local history that really engages young minds.”

Final Thoughts:

“Kayaking, canoeing, team-building activities, and camaraderie! Our intrepid 6th graders experience, under the watchful eye of adults, several of the survival practices used by the main character in the book Hatchet allowing our students to not just survive but thrive in the outdoors!” ~Evan Robb ’80, Upper School Director


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