Outdoor Education: Making Maple Syrup

  • Bounders
  • Project-Based Learning
Scott Fairley, Bounders Teacher

The Bounders outdoor education program challenges students in an energetic, non-competitive setting to find the fun in hard work as individuals and as a group. During month long Bounders terms , students develop outdoor skills and connect to the natural world while also building social and emotional competencies.

Maple Sugaring is part of the Carroll School's history and for the last 5 years Bounders has rekindled the tradition. Middle School students participate as part of their regular Bounders rotation, during the afterschool program, and during Clubapalooza. This has been a great sugaring year and students are each going home with a 1.5 oz jar of Carroll School Maple Syrup. Special thanks to the maple trees and our neighbors who let us tap their trees!

Let's take a photo & video journey through the maple sugaring process.


Students collect sap from the maple trees around campus.

Student's push the cart to collect the sap from the buckets.


Students carefully transfer the sap from the bucket into the drum.

When we have 40 gallons of sap collected, a fire is lit in the evaporator. Our evaporator boils off 5-9 gallons of water an hour. 

Students work as a team to make an ember with a bow drill friction fire set. The ember is blown into a flame and the flame is used to ignite the wood in the evaporator. 

We reduce the volume of sap until it gets close to syrup ratios and we put it in pots over the propane stove - the goal is 68% sugar content.



This is a hydrometer cup and float. When the syrup is at the right consistency, the float rises to a little red line that tells us when it's done and ready to filter.

When it starts to drip off our stirring stick like this we know it's almost ready.

We use a cone filter system. In order to get clear syrup you have to wait until it reaches 86% sugar before you filter it.

Bottling the maple syrup - last step before pancakes!

The Clubapalooza group were the first to pour the syrup into 1.5 oz jars. They also sanded chunks of sugar maple wood as a keepsake. We are close to our 4 gallon syrup goal this year!


  • Bounders
  • Project-Based Learning

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