Piecing together a mystery
Tom Barnes holds a compass application on his smartphone as fourth-graders Maddie Barnes, Olivia Wheldon and Kerry Hollander determine the next direction to head in as they complete an after-school letterboxing activity Oct. 11 in Lake Forest. | Michelle
Information on letterboxing is available at www.letterboxing.org.
Updated: October 18, 2012 9:42AM
LAKE FOREST – The clutch of fourth-graders huddled together to hear the clues they’d need to solve the mystery laid out before them in a wooded park in Lake Forest.
“Prepare to read the clues closely,” fourth-grader Sara Reynolds read from the instruction sheet. “Read them once, twice, three times or more. Use your noggin.”
The 15 students and a half-dozen moms and dads participated Oct. 11 in the optional after-school letterboxing adventure coordinated by Everett Elementary School teacher Catherine Sheehan.
The group had 90 minutes to find four letterboxes, stamp the book inside with their personalized rubber stamp and stamp their journals with the stamps in each letterbox to prove they’d found it. It’s the part of the adventure called stamping up.
“It’s kind of like solving a mystery,” Sheehan said, adding that listening and working together are key to a successful pursuit.
After heading down the first path with little trouble, the group scattered and looked for branches shaped like a wishbone. As precious minutes ticked away with no results, they regrouped while dad Tom Barnes helped locate 236 degrees southwest on a compass, another clue to the oddly shaped branch.
“Maybe you’re standing on it,” a few students shouted to fellow student Jack Shea, who, indeed, was standing on the wishbone branches.
Eventually the call of, “We found it. We found it,” rung out as the first letterbox was discovered in a hollow log.
“This is actually really fun,” student Lucy Rubinstein said. “It feels like such a big accomplishment, like you won the Olympics or something.” ~.