During the first few months of school, the fourth-grade classes go down to Camp Brook, a small brook behind the Ray School. In the Camp Brook outdoor classroom, fourth graders use the scientific method and power of observation to conduct animal inquiry. Student spend their time looking under rocks and in for various organisms that live in the brook. Throughout their studies, students record what they are observing in journals. Students are able to see and interact with nature a few yards from their classrooms in this outdoor learning area.
In kindergarten and first grade, the meadow habitat is a primary laboratory for exploration and inquiry. Children become aware of the diversity of animals, plants and living things in that habitat. They observe interactions of living things and become familiar with the changes in plants and animals that occur over time in that habitat. Students will become aware of how all of their senses are important tools for obtaining information while making connections with what they know about our earth.
The Colonial House is an authentic reproduction of a post-and-beam residence from the 1700s. Its construction was the idea of three second grade teachers in 1970, designed in Hanover High School student research, and constructed by local volunteers with hand tools of the era. The house is located behind the school and is used by second graders every year to learn about and live the history of colonial times.
The Ray School vernal pool is a temporary water pond that appears in the spring time after snow melts and spring rains begin. During other parts of the year, the area appears like a dry, grassy field. Each fall and spring, our third grade students make comparisons and conduct research about the vernal pool area. Classes walk to the vernal pool and see various life forms, including frogs, toads, fairy shrimp, and salamanders. Microscopes can be used to reveal smaller organisms in the water.