Making connections between school topics and the real world is important to Middle School growth. We appreciate an opportunity for our students to travel, independently from their families, to build collaboration skills and to develop an appreciation for a larger world and for one another.
Each year, students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 participate in a class trip. Class trips are an opportunity to extend the curriculum beyond the classroom and make curricular ties to real world events and the environment. Chaperoned by faculty, the students travel to Erie PA, Gettysburg/Philadelphia PA, and to Washington D.C. respectively for two nights. Middle School class trips are designed to align directly with the following broader messages:
- Our school’s Mission - Engaging Hearts, Hands, and Minds.
- Mission skills - Teamwork, ethics, resilience, creativity, curiosity, and time management.
- The social contract in the Middle School - Be Nice, be Empowered, Work Hard, because Everyday is a NEW day
The Grade 6 class trip visits the greater Erie area each fall for three days. For many of our students it is the first time they are staying in a hotel room with classmates. This challenges our students to grow by allowing them to manage social dynamics as well as learning how to be empowered.
In the fall, the science curriculum focuses on invasive species. Our trip allows students to investigate and see how invasive species are threatening a wonderfully preserved ecosystem.
Using a ropes course in the trees of south western New York we challenge students to navigate these courses both mentally and physically. Successful completion requires focus on moving gingerly through the obstacles, while managing and adjusting to the elevation. At the Erie Art Museum we ask students to interact with the art in a number of different hands on ways. Examples include: designing tattoos, using the sent of herbs to describe a piece of art, or even sketching shapes using large neoprene socks shaped by classmates.
During the battlefield tour in Gettysburg students learn the harsh realities of war and the ultimate sacrifice made by American soldiers and their loved ones, not just in the Civil War but in any conflict that involves our military.
Much of the Grade 7 trip involves mental engagement including the three hour walking tour of Philadelphia’s historic district, the tour of the United States Mint, and visiting the Museum of the American Revolution and the National Constitution Center. Students contemplate the birth of our nation and what it means to be an American.
During the walking tour and at the Museum of the American Revolution, tour guides challenge students to make connections between America’s past and present. Students identify similarities between concerns our Founding Fathers had and challenges that face our nation today.
Students work directly with leaves, flowers, berries, and water samples at the Morris Arboretum wetlands. They have an opportunity to investigate using multiple senses including vision, smell, and touch. Finally, they make drawings of particular findings that they then share with their tour guide and faculty chaperon.
In addition, students are exposed to various insects, amphibians, and birds that are unique to the wetlands. They learn how to identify various insects, amphibians and birds just not visually, but by the distinct sounds that many of them make. Many of the birds are following fall migration patterns so for most students this represents a rare opportunity to see these species.
While visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture, students engage their hearts. They exercise sympathy and empathy when they approach exhibits such as Emmett Till’s casket.
Students engage their minds by actively reading, thinking, and writing reflectively to connecting what they are seeing to larger course issues and other trip sites.
A visit to the Koshland Science Museum engages students in hands-on learning as they simulate management of environmental disasters using jenga blocks, interactive screen displays, puzzles, and other manipulatives.