A teacher at Elmdale School, Lyndsey Engel, and her grade 2 class found out they have maple trees in their school yard, so they tapped them and made maple syrup.
Engel says it started when the kids learned about Canada and its different symbols back in October, and one of the symbols they learned about was the maple leaf.
She says kids started bringing maple leaves from outside into the classroom, Engel was intrigued so she got the class to show them where they found the leaves.
“So we went for a walk around the school and we found that we have two maple trees at our school,” she says. “And so with learning about maple syrup and maple trees, we had watched this video on YouTube and it taught us all about how to make maple syrup.”
Engel says the kids were eager to tap the trees, but she had no idea where to start.
“I've never done this in my life. I think I remember going to St. Pierre when I was their age, but I've never done this, so we had to research.”
She says the class started researching what they needed to do to get maple syrup back in November.
“We researched for about a week what was all needed to do this whole process from the beginning to the end,” she says. “From there, we had to do the waiting game. We had to wait for that temperature to change in the springtime so that we could start collecting the sap.”
They tapped the two trees on April 10th, as well as a third maple tree in one of the student's backyards.
Engel says it was a lot of work.
“We were able to collect 80 liters of sap, which ended up boiling down to 2.1 liters of syrup, so a 40:1 ratio.”
She says it was probably between 24-30 hours worth of boiling.
“We started on Friday in the morning, and I did not finish till 10:30 at night at home. I had taken everything back home and I finished that up in my garage,” she says. “And then on Saturday morning, woke up and did the same thing from 9:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night.”
She notes she saved a little bit to do on Monday with the class.
“Because they hadn't seen the real change from the sap to that really brown, syrupy stuff.”
Engel says this process taught both her and the kids a lesson in patience.
“Because this was something that we started back in November, and it took a lot of time for us to collect our information that we needed, and then to wait until the time was right to do the tapping.”
They also learned a lot of other things.
“We were able to cross-curricular a lot of the learning with our adding, a lot of journaling and writing, a lot of diagram drawing for science.”
She says that overall, it was a great learning experience and a fun activity for both her and the class.
“This was probably my favorite year of teaching ever. I love teaching, but my goodness, this just was phenomenal to get to do this with this crew of kids.”
With files from Corny Rempel