A Peek Inside Our Whittle World: Lower School Experiential Learning at Hard Bargain Farm

Whittle Lower School Experiential Learning

Whittle School & Studios’ 5th Grade students have embarked on a year-long study around the concept of growth – growth of living organisms, growth of innovation and ideas, and growth of friendship and community. One of the many ways our students will observe and study growth is to analyze the patterns and resiliency of nature across the four seasons. To support this investigation, we are very excited to partner with the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Hard Bargain Farm. Over the course of the 2019-2020 school year, our 5th graders will visit the farm for four over-night experiences, the first of which took place in October. 

Hard Bargain Farm Environmental Center’s education program is designed to promote understanding and stewardship of the natural resources in the Potomac River watershed. Sustainability is also a major theme of the education program, highlighted by their rain and native species gardens and their “Living Building,” a structure that meets the most stringent set of energy efficiency requirements in the world.

Whittle School Lower School
Whittle Experiential Learning
Students experiencing first-hand the natural resources in the Potomac River watershed.

Thanks to our partnership, we have worked with the educators of the Alice Ferguson Foundation to design a unique project for our children that will immerse our young Leaders in various field studies connected to our project theme, including engaging and innovative hands-on activities and field investigations. Each of the four overnight trips will take place in the heart of each season to conduct compare/contrast analyses of the changes in growth that occur during the seasons. 

Through active and careful observation of the many ecosystems present at Hard Bargain Farms, our students will deepen their understanding of nature’s strategies and responses to seasons. They will observe, make predictions, measure and collect data, analyze, formulate claims, draw evidence-based conclusions, reflect, “grow” their skills, knowledge, and sense of community – all while having a great time! 

Whittle Lower School
Whittle Hard Bargain Farm
Whittle Farm
Students interacting with animals on the small 1950’s era working family farm.

Although these trips will be centered around deep experiential learning and fieldwork, our children will also enjoy camping fun such as songs, stories and s’mores around the campfire, night hikes, stargazing, hayrides and special time with their friends and school community.

To the journey ahead!


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