Survival Exhibition: Look What You CAN Do With A Growth Mindset!

Throughout these last three weeks, the EMS heroes were given the challenge to start a no-match fire. What began as many failed attempts for the EMS heroes ended up being their greatest accomplishment and achievement at last night’s exhibition! After each attempt that would not work, the EMS heroes showed great determination and applied new knowledge in order to get another step closer to starting the fire. It was evident they went into this challenge with a growth mindset. No matter how frustrating, challenging, and difficult it was they kept on going until they were able to successfully start a no-match fire!

The EMS heroes not only started no-match fires at the exhibition, they all accomplished it in less than 20 minutes, as well as kept them going to cook their food! Thank you to those that were able to come last night and witness all they learned about survival and perseverance.

Survival Exhibition


The Welcome Speech

The Elements setting up their shelter.

Cub Grylls setting up their shelter.

Adventure Bisque setting up a shelter.

We Will Survive working hard on their shelter.

A real first-aid scenario taken care of by an expert!


Using a homemade compass in the lake.

The before…

and the after for team Elements.

The before…

The almost…

and the after for team Cub Grylls.

The before…

and the beginnings of a great fire for Adventure Bisque.

The no-match fire from team We Will Survive.

We had a great time around campfires yesterday, and enjoyed today by having a special Beach Day. The EMS heroes played a survival style water balloon game at the beginning, turned the slides into waterslides, and ended with sun sprinkler fun.

Beach Day Shenanigans

The MS heroes getting Ms. Elsie.

Running through the sprinklers!

At our final close this year we read Isaiah 43:1-2, 5a(NIV)

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

    I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

    they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

    you will not be burned;

    the flames will not set you ablaze.

Do not be afraid, for I am with you.

Each hero has been called by name, belongs to God, and has a purpose and calling for HIS kingdom. The heroes were left with that promise from God at close this afternoon.

Have You Asked Your Hero:

  1. What the most difficult part of the quest was?
  2. What the most rewarding part of the quest was?
  3. What your hero learned about themselves?

Not Just Mere Survivors, but More Than Conquerors


The ELS Heroes surely did not only survive through challenges and struggles this school year, but they conquered them all. Empowered by the Spirit of the Lord from the moment they sang the Fruits of the Spirit song at the beginning of the school year, they have been victorious in every quest. As they look back to their own “Dip,” the heroes reflected on their most challenging Dip and how they got out of it, even way back during the Children’s Business Fair. The heroes described how they accomplished their goals because they never gave up and believed that they could really do it. With a growth mindset, they did not set any limitations on themselves, truly believing that they can achieve anything when they put their hearts and minds to it. As a result, they were not afraid to challenge themselves, taking the road less traveled and paving the way for others to follow, and surprised us all of what they are truly capable of. And they are just beginning!

The heroes undoubtedly conquered all their challenges during the Survival Quest exhibition, especially setting up a tent on their own. During their first try, the heroes tackled this job without asking for written or verbal instructions nor any assistance from an adult. Once a hero figured out how to straighten out a tent pole, where to put it through, or how to stabilize it, he or she would immediately go and help others showing them their discovery and share their successes with each other. Then after their initial tent set up, the heroes strategized how to decrease set up time from 30 minutes to 20 minutes the second try, then 10 minutes for the third time. They assigned “shorties,” those who would handle the shorter poles, and “longies,” those who will do the longer poles. They also discussed amongst themselves which steps should go first, learning from mistakes they made along the way. Their strategies worked as they beat their time from 18 minutes to 14 minutes to 8 minutes!

The Lord’s work in each hero is so evident, especially when they talk about Jesus not only during our morning launch, in their prayers or Bible reading, but throughout the day. They would remind each other to care for God’s creation when we are outside either at the playground or hiking in the woods. One hero talked about being like “the wise man who built his house upon a rock” when they were building their own shelters. They sing worship songs while writing prayers and letters of encouragement for other heroes during writer’s workshop. In everything they do, their choices, their goals, their victories, and even in their failures, they are filled with wisdom that could only come from the Lord!

Week 3: 6/11 – 6/15








Colossians 3:11

Christ is all and is in all

Can you get out of The Dip without Jesus?

Colossians 3:12

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience

Which character trait would help you when you are in The Dip?

Colossians 3:13

Bear with each other and forgive one another

Think of a time you forgave someone or when someone forgave you. Was it in your comfort, challenge, or comfort zone?

Colossians 3:14

Put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity

Why does the Bible instruct us to put on love? How do you put on love?

Colossians 3:15

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts

Why is peace important? Think of a time you needed some peace. How did you have peace in your heart?

Discovering the Dip

Stories to read

Zendaya Coleman

Simone Biles

J.K. Rowling

Malala Yousafzai

JA Heroes

Writer’s workshop

Writing folders

Writing journals

Spelling city

Typing club


Google Docs


Play-based TWTh



Gift wrapping Dad’s present

Magnet tiles

Park course


Making History- Basic Shelter.”]  

When creating a shelter, what would you prioritize: warmth, protection from animals, or comfort so you could get some rest?

If you were to build a home for you and your family, would you choose beautiful but temporary materials or unattractive materials that would last much longer than you’ll even be alive?

Think of all of the different shelters you have used in your life. Think about which one matters the most? How would you rank shelter amongst the other needs for human survival: food, water,  safety?

Primitive Technology: Tiled Roof Hut.” [Play on 2x speed on YouTube.]

What is most impressive about this hero: that he has made a living by building shelters and posting it online, that he learned how to use natural material to create such strong shelters, or that he is brave enough to spend so much time working and living outside?

Besides a house, what type of shelter would you prefer: tipi, mud hut, or a tent? Why?

Why do humans need shelter? Is it because we don’t have natural protection from the weather (for example, fur, scales, shells) because we need to stay safe from predators, or is it because we are social and want to live together?

[Show video “Leave No Trace: Outdoor Ethics” (YouTube).]

Why is the “leave no trace” philosophy so important: to preserve nature for the wildlife, or to preserve it for the humans who visit?

Based on this philosophy, what rules should we establish for our campsite so that we leave it better than we found it? What safety rules should we include? [Write down and bring with the group on the trip.]

It’s up to us to make the world a better place. How we conduct ourselves on our camping trip matters not only to our group but also to those who will come to our campsite after us!

and start a fire? Why?  

Today we’re going to watch these videos to learn about a hero who was an avid outdoorsman, a naturalist, a taxidermist, and a president: “Theodore Roosevelt: Mini Biography (YouTube)

Which to you is a greater or more important accomplishment: passing laws to make employees and customers safe, or passing laws protecting our landmarks and wildlife?

Theodore Roosevelt was from New York but left to go live a life out in the badlands of South Dakota, in the Wild(er) West. He didn’t have to go to work or for any other reason; he went for himself, and he learned a lot about living in the outdoors. Do you remember when we discussed whether or not first aid should be required in schools? Do you think outdoor-survival skills should be required as well?

Project time

Food and shelter

Your challenge today is to set up the tent on your own without instructions.  Work together as a team to set up the tent.

Here is an example of an important outdoor survival skill: [Show Primitive Technology video on building a shelter out of grass.]

What skills do you already have that would help you survive in the outdoors? In what other situations, besides an outdoor emergency, would these skills be useful?

Build a Debris shelter

 We used to have to cook everything. Now we have corporations that do the cooking for us: frozen food, jarred sauces, etc. Is this a positive move in the right direction, or a negative move away from this important cultural and biological root that “makes us human”?

Campfire cooking



How an Igloo Keeps You Warm

Building a Roundhouse with Woodhenge and Cobwood

Build a shelter with rope/twine and burlap (or other fabric).

Tin foil dinner prep

Do you enjoy cooking? Why? Is it because you like to eat or because it brings you closer to family?

Exhibition practice

Pack first aid kit, camping supplies

On this quest, you explored basic needs of human survival, and you pushed yourself to the edge of your challenge zone. You’ve done so much, but what can you do to retain that information? Reflect! Reflection is a powerful tool in growing your brain by processing the information you gather.

Quest survey

Hero Feedback

Quest reflection


Water day


Think about the spaces you live in: your school, your church, your home. Think about what you are most grateful for within each of those living spaces.

If shelter is a basic human need that can be made with basic materials like you saw in the video, why do we have so much more than that?

What is the difference between a victim mindset and hero’s mindset today?

Who was in their panic zones today? Who was in their challenge zone? For those of you who found yourself in your panic zone, what did you do to get yourself out of it without quitting on yourself or the team?

What do you hope to gain from this camping trip: a deeper curiosity about nature, confidence in your outdoor survival skills, a better understanding of your own limits, or something else?

What are you most looking forward to showing your parents?

Do you consider the skills you’ve learned in this quest useful? Previous quests?

How might skills you’ve gained on this quest help you on your Hero’s Journey, or in ways not related to outdoor survival? How was this quest relevant to your Hero’s Journey?

After spending some time reflecting, what do you think is your greatest takeaway from this quest that will influence your Hero’s Journey?

Getting out of “The Dip”

The heroes were inspired by different men and women who all got out of “The Dip”, a challenge that may lead to frustration or a feeling of giving up. Hearing about how Martin Luther King, Jr., Bethany Hamilton, Jeremy Lin, Elon Musk, and Michelle Obama, got out of The Dip triggered a deep sense of strength and endurance for the heroes. They remained undaunted by any challenge they may face, mistakes and failures, discouraging words, rejection, even sharks!

When the heroes conducted their water cycle experiments, they demonstrated determination despite adversities and failures. After researching about how to build a water filter, the heroes were eager to build one themselves. By using only materials they had available, they were able to replace some materials for the experiment. Instead of a coffee filter, they said we could use paper towels. They also used gravel they found on the trail and sand from the sandbox. They were adamant that they could filter the muddy water from the creek to make it crystal clear, no matter how many times it would take to rebuild the filter one after another.

Exploring the water cycle has given the heroes a better understanding of how to find water in survival situations. While walking along the trail, they noticed water from a puddle that dried up because the water evaporated. One hero noticed water condensation inside their little greenhouse by the window sill. And they wait in anticipation for precipitation to fall down from thick dark clouds they see in the sky, just like the cloud in the bottle.

In order to find more ways to find precious drinking water, the heroes also built a solar water still and a solar water distiller. They were very hopeful to be able to collect clean drinking water no matter how long it takes. One hero has begun a campaign for clean drinking water for Africa, convincing her friends that they could collect money to build wells for the people who do not have access to water. And they can’t wait to show the people how to filter water and get clean water.

The heroes have also been learning a lot from their EMS buddies. The younger heroes helped build a matchless fire by collecting firewood – tinder, kindle, and fuel. They also learned from the EMS heroes how to build debris shelter and tarp shelter. Next week, they will try to do it all on their own!

Our Week At A Glance

Week 2: 6/4 – 6/8


Colossians 3:4

When Christ, who is in your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

What are some things that you do that reflects Jesus?

Colossians 3:5

Put to death whatever belongs to your earthly nature

How does the Holy Spirit help you focus on Jesus?

Colossians 3:6-8

You must rid yourselves of anger

What do you do when you feel angry?

Colossians 3:9

Do not lie to each other

How do you feel when someone lies to you? What ways can you help a friend who lied about something?

Colossians 3:10

You have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator

Discovering the Dip

Stories to read

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What would you do when you believe a rule is not right? How would you convince others to change the rule?

Bethany Hamilton

What helps you get out of the Dip?

Elon Musk

What do you think about to help you persevere when thing are not working out?

Michelle Obama

What would you say if someone discourages you?

Jeremy Lin

How could you help a friend who is discouraged?

Writer’s workshop

Typing club

Camping story

Spelling city

Camping list

ES Writer’s workshop – autobiography

Google Docs


Play-based TWTh


Mile run

Seed planting

Magnet tiles

Straw connectors

Writing projects

Whiteboard art


Scooter boards

Jump ropes


If you were lost in the woods, how would you prioritize this list: find a safe place to sleep, collect clean drinking water, start a fire to stay warm, and tend to a wound in your leg?

New York Times  “A Hiker’s Plight: How to Help When Water Runs Low, – ethical dilemmas relating to water in the wilderness and how much to share.

What would you do in this situation? Would you share your water risking your own survival? Or the survival of your family?

Water Changes Everything.

We pay for clean water in the US. Should everyone pay the same amount, or should you pay based on how much you earn? Should there be water restrictions during a drought, or should you be able to use as much as you want as long as you can pay for it?

Imagine this: you’re stuck in the wilderness and thirsty. You’re starting to feel dehydrated, and you begin to get scared. You keep looking and walking, and you find a water source that looks clean. Do you take the risk?

Imagine this: you are a famous survivalist and you’ve challenged yourself to a great quest—to survive a week on an island off the coast of Alaska. You’re dropped off by a helicopter and begin assessing your surroundings.

What would be your biggest safety concern: grizzly bears, injury from slipping on the ice, losing your sense of direction, or hypothermia (defined as a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat)?

Project time


Water cycle

solar stills

Water filtration

Cloud in a bottle

Orienteering challenge: river crossing

What Would Happen If You Didn’t Drink Water?”]

Water Filtration Experiment

Worksheet: Water Filtration Card

The magic school bus – how water changes

Water cycle experiment

Evaporation, condensation, precipitation

Worksheet: Water Cycle Card

Poster: Water Cycle Poster

Planet Science Cloud in a Bottle

Worksheet: Cloud-in-a-Bottle Experiment Card

Solar water distiller

Solar water still

Interactive from instructions: The Water Project Water Cycle Presentation (Flash player required)

Website: Survivor Quest website- Day 8

Worksheet: Orienteering Card

Worksheet: Safe Journey Orienteering- First Cards



Paper sculptures


Google Earth


Musical instruments


Water cycle mural


Bible man


Would you rather be a survivor or a conqueror?

Character callouts for Lincoln

How do you persevere?

What helps you wait patiently

What did you learn this week that surprised you?

Experiencing God During Survival

Survival this week has been blessed with amazing weather! The heroes have been out building debris shelters, learning how to use a compass (thanks to Mia and Nate Helweg from Altus Adventures), building temporary tents using tarps, gathering food, making fires, and cooking over their fire for lunch. During the survival challenges, heroes are taking time to see God whether it is in a hero, in teamwork, and/or out in His creation.

The heroes learned how to use a compass and made it off of Cuckoo Island!

On Wednesday, I witnessed God through restoration and forgiveness. Two heroes within a team had difficulty working together. Hero ‘A’ felt their ideas were not being heard or validated, while Hero ‘B’ felt Hero ‘A’ was not taking part in the team challenge. With all of this taking place, Hero ‘A’ was ready to quit and attempted to move to a different team. Through a conversation with the two:

Hero ‘A’:

Owned up to the lack of teamwork and participation during project time.

Shared the reason for no participation stemmed from not feeling heard.

Asked for forgiveness.

Stuck with the team and participated.

Hero ‘B’:

Showed humility by admitting a lack of listening to others.

Shared the desire to grow and become a better listener.

Asked for forgiveness.

Welcomed the hero back into the team.

Today was full of adventure as the teams (along with one to two additional ELS heroes), set up a temporary tarp and started a no-match fire as an entire group. After an hour of determination and one failed attempt, the second one was a successful! Following the no-match fire challenge, the EMS and ELS studios parted ways for their final challenge. Back in their EMS Survival teams, they raced to gather their food for lunch. Many of the heroes were not looking forward to this challenge, yet here are a few comments from some of the heroes after eating what they found and cooked over the fire.

“I thought this was going to be WAY worse, but this is the best lunch I have ever had!”

“I discovered I shouldn’t be as picky with my food. I tried something new and it was good, and I didn’t think I was actually going to like it.”

“Just because something might be difficult in life you can persevere and keep going.”

Have You Asked Your Hero:

  1. What do you need to do to have a great fire – even before doing the magnesium and steel?
  2. What surprised him/her during today’s challenges?
  3. What has God been teaching them during this quest?

Heroes building debris shelters and temporary tent shelters!

Heroes gathered food and cooked over a no-match fire they built together!

Unfaltering Perseverance and Determination


Even with only two more weeks to go before the end of the school year, our heroes’ perseverance in reaching their goals does not falter. They continue their work with the same determination as they did from the beginning of the year. Usually, at this time of the year, students struggle in focusing on their school work, with their minds already looking forward to their summer vacation; but not our Journey Academy Heroes. Our heroes actually wish they could stay in school throughout the summer! One hero exclaims, “I want to stay in school. I just love school so much!”

The heroes have been taking some time to reflect on their school year during discussions. They shared how much they have learned and changed this year. Several heroes remembered how they did not know how to read and now they love to read! Another hero mentioned that she did not know any math before but now she can do all her math work on her own. Many heroes recognized their hard work and accomplishments even through their struggles and failures. They each shared how their mistakes helped them learn more because they kept on trying and never gave up.

Some parents have also shared how their child has matured so much this year. One mom was so amazed when her daughter said to her, “Mom, thank you for always encouraging me!” Another mom had a similar experience with her daughter who said to her, “Mom, thank you for always supporting me!” Many other parents express their joys in seeing their child grow, not only academically, but more importantly socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

Survivor Quest

On this quest, the heroes will learn skills and science to survive in the outdoors, They will learn more about the natural world around us. And they will get to put some of their skills to use during the Survival quest exhibition at the end of the session!

Weekly Focus

Quest Challenges

Week 1

5/29 – 6/1

Fire and First aid

Fire building

First aid

Nature danger

Orienteering challenge: snake bite

Week 2

6/4 – 6/8

Freshwater and

water cycle

Water cycle

Solar Stills

Water filtration

Cloud in a bottle

Orienteering challenge: river crossing

Week 3

6/11 – 6/15

Food and shelter

Foraging and edible insect cards

Outdoor cooking

Build a shelter

Tent set up and breakdown

Our Week At A Glance

Week 1: 5/29 – 6/1


Colossians 2:19

The whole body grows as God causes it to grow

How have you grown since the beginning of the school year? How are you different today from your first day of school? How did God help you grow?

Colossians 3:1

Set your hearts on things above

What is in your heart? What do you love the most? Is it something “above” as the Bible says?

Colossians 3:2

Set your minds on things above

How do you set your mind on things above? What “earthly things” get in your way of setting your mind on things above?

Colossians 3:3

Your life is hidden with Christ in God.

How do you see Jesus is in your friend’s life?

Katie discovers the Dip

Every challenge is a journey. You get frustrated and you feel like you want to quit. (The Dip)

How do you stay positive when you are in The Dip?

Climbing out of The Dip

Reflect, thinking really hard about how to get better

What do you do when you make a mistake? What happens to your neurons when you make mistakes? Have you ever climbed out of The Dip?

The Big Show

Focus on reflecting and improving… the pressure to be the best melts away…keep getting better.

Instead of comparing your success with others, what kind of attitude can you have?

Discovering the Dip

Thomas Edison 

Which Thomas Edison quote encourages you the most?

Writer’s workshop

Typing club

writing journals

Spelling city

Fry words 11-20

Author’s chair


Play-based learning


Catch Air

Whiteboard art

Pool noodles

Scooter boards



Which survival skill would be most critical to you in a survival situation: the ability to find or build shelter, ability to build a fire, ability to find and collect safe drinking water, knowledge of first aid to take care of yourself, or your ability to find food?

Need and wants

In this quest, we will explore four basic needs of human survival: food, water, shelter, safety. What else do you consider a need for survival?

First Aid – Animation

What first aid skills do you already have? When administering first aid, there are two important terms to understand: “signs” and “symptoms.” A sign is something that you, the caregiver, can see. A symptom is something the patient is feeling. Can you think of an example of a sign? Of a symptom?

When you are in an intense or scary situation, how do you react?

Should first aid be required for everyone in schools and workplaces?

Project time

Fire challenges

Step 1 collect tinder

Pine needles, inner bark of dead branches, dried grass

Step 2 collect kindling

Twigs about  the size of a pencil

Step 3 collect fuel

Dead and downed wood no bigger around than your wrist

Fire starting methods

Flint and steel

Magnifying glass

Fire by friction

First aid tips to teach children

First aid education for children:

  • burns
  • choking
  • bleeding
  • broken bone,
  • unresponsive person who is breathing
  • CPR

First Aid Card

Today we’re going to simulate some first aid situations so that you can practice the mindset needed to help others in scary situations.



Camping around the world


Camp songs  


Painting branches




How does the survival quest challenge you? What do you expect to achieve at the end of the quest?

How do you distinguish between a need and a want? Why is it important to think about needs and wants?

How did failing help you learn new ways to improve?

What did your team do to persevere? How did your team respond to failure?