While a majority of our classes have been developed to meet the 5th grade TEKS requirements, they can be tailored to any age group, even pre-school age! Programs can vary from one-day field trips to three-day/two-night camp-outs that combine recreation with the core classes. Our Outdoor Education Director will work with you to create a custom experience that meets your school’s needs!


During a traditional 3-day/2-night outdoor school program, teachers choose four of the core classes listed below. For a 2-day/1-night outdoor school program, teachers will choose three of the core classes. Day programs include two of the core classes. Specialty classes or recreational classes can be substituted for core classes at the request of the lead teacher or school administrator.



Students interact with the environment to learn about watersheds, the water cycle, and aquatic food webs by using field lab equipment to discover macro-invertebrates and their role in pond ecology.

Learning Targets:

  • I can use scientific processes to identify macro organisms.
  • I can describe the health of the lake.
  • I can identify a water shed and how it functions.
  • I can describe how plants and animals go through orderly changes in their life cycle.

Learning the Lake is paired with canoeing and/or fishing to fulfill the 2.5 hour time allotted for class.


  • Describe, plan, and implement simple experimental investigation testing one variable
  • Ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology
  • Collect information by detailed observations and accurate measuring
  • Analyze and interpret information to construct reasonable explanations from direct (observable)  and indirect (inferred) evidence
  • Communicate valid conclusions in both written and verbal forms
  • Collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including microscopes, hand lenses, collecting nets, notebooks, and other materials to support observations of organisms and their habitats
  • Within the natural environment, students learn how changes occur on the Earth’s surface
  • Explain how the Sun and the ocean interact in the water cycle
  • Observe the way organisms live and survive in the ecosystems by interacting with the living and non-living elements
  • Compare the structures and functions of different species that help them live and survive – such as hooves on prairie animals or webbed feet in aquatic animals
  • Describe the differences between complete and incomplete metamorphosis


Students and chaperones follow a map to find their instructors and complete learning stations.  Can your group successfully collect data on the existing ecosystems, plant life, and wildlife of Northern Texas, work to finish additional challenges, and be the fasted group to finish your field journal?  *Field journal and writing implements required.

Learning Targets:

  • I can describe the layers of soil and the make-up of each of those layers.
  • I can explain the effects of weathering, erosion, and deposition.
  • I can describe the components of a natural environment that can improve man’s chances of survival.
  • I understand the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources.


  • Ask well-defined questions, formulate testable hypotheses, and select and use appropriate equipment and technology
  • Explore the processes that led to the formation of sedimentary rocks and fossil fuels.
  • Identify fossils as evidence of past living organisms and the nature of the environments at the time using models.
  • Describe how the flow of energy derived from the sun, used by producers to create their own food, is transferred through a food chain and food web from consumers and decomposers.
  • Predict the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living organisms, including humans, such as the overpopulation of grazers or the building of highways.

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Students hike through the forest to discover how organisms adapt to forest conditions, interact as an ecosystem, and how the ecosystem changes over time.

Learning Targets:

  • I can describe how inherited traits (structures and functions) help organisms survive in their environment.
  • I can describe an ecosystem and how living things interact and live within their environment.
  • I can describe how O2/CO2 cycle and photosynthesis help trees and plants survive and thrive.
  • I can describe the flow of energy in a food web.


  • Collect information by detailed observations
  • Construct appropriate simple graphs, tables, and maps
  • Collect, record, and analyze information using tools, including notebooks and materials to support observations of habitats
  • Within the natural environment, students learn how changes occur on Earth’s surface and that predictable patterns occur in the sky. Students learn that the natural world consists of resources, including nonrenewable, renewable, and alternative energy sources
  • Students learn that structure and function of organisms can improve the survival of member of a species. Students learn to differentiate between inherited traits and learned behaviors.
  • Identify alternative energy resources
  • Students will observe the way organisms live and survive in their ecosystems by interacting with living and non-living elements
  • Students learn to differentiate between inherited traits and learned behaviors
  • Compare the structures and functions of different species that help them live and survive such as hooves on prairie animals or webbed feet in aquatic animals
  • Differentiate between inherited traits of plants and animals, such as spines on a cactus or the shape of a beak, and learned behaviors, such as an animal learning tricks or a child riding a bicycle


Students will read nature-inspired poems and quotes along the trails and brainstorm ideas for their own poems. Students will review poetic techniques, figurative language, and poetic structure while learning about the ecosystem. Students will create their own nature-inspired poems.

Learning Targets:

  • I can understand, make inferences and draw conclusions about the structure and elements of poetry.
  • I can provide evidence from the text to support my understanding.
  • I can analyze how poets use sound effects to reinforce meaning in poems.
  • I can write a poem using poetic techniques such as alliteration and onomatopoeia, and figurative language.



Led by a CCAC instructor, students participate in series of outdoor games and challenges designed to increase teamwork, problem-solving skills, and communication. They also spend time learning how to shoot a bow and arrow.

Learning Targets:

  • I can describe why it takes teamwork to accomplish a goal.
  • I can describe the characteristics of a good leader.
  • I can listen to my instructor and learn how to shoot a bow and arrow.

For school groups larger than 100 students who select climbing wall as a recreational option, challenge course will be paired with climbing wall instead of archery.


Experiential learning continues after the sun goes down.  Evening classes are a fun addition to the overnight learning experience. Most groups choose to do one evening class on the first night along with campfire on the following night.


Students investigate crime scenes of nature based on evidence found at each crime scene (fur, scat, and other evidence). Students make observations and inferences (direct and indirect) based on the evidence that is presented to them. Students use identification charts, critical thinking, and problem solving to solve the environmental crimes.


Students will discover a variety of architectural structures that are built by animals (i.e. beaver dams, bird nests, spider webs) and will try to duplicate these structure using mud, hay, string, twigs, and other materials. Then students will present their project to the group and discuss the unique purposes of these structures and what we can learn from these animal architects. Bio-Mimicry is typically paired with NSI.


Groups take a nighttime hike with the intent of getting to know nature in the darkness, activating different senses than during their daily hikes. Activities emphasize sensory awareness and note differences between daytime and nighttime observations. Instructors will also point out seasonal constellations and tell folk stories about the stars and constellations.2015 5th grade camp 436




Texas Living History is a one-day program created for 4th graders, but can be tailored for any age group. Students pretend they are settlers from Tennessee. They have bought land in North Texas from Collin McKinney and are headed west to find a place to live. Along the way, students meet four characters (Texas soldier, pioneer, Caddo Indian, Spanish vaquero) who will tell them what life was like back in the early 1800s and teach them a trade or skill for survival. Students will encounter various obstacles through our scenario cards, using teamwork and problem-solving skills to make decisions that will keep the settlers safe.



Utilizing the ICare curriculum developed by the YMCA of the USA, students will participate in various activities relating to nature’s interrelationships and cycles, natural resources and energy flow, and environmental awareness. This program is conducted by CCAC staff at your school campus.


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