School Dispatches: Field trips help students learn visually, experientially

Photo courtesy Sheridan School

by Easy Weissman, Sheridan School 7th-grader

I believe field-trips help us visualize what we learn in class. Behind desks, it can be hard to absorb information, whereas on a field trip we can see, touch, and hear the subject being taught. Field trips are also a way to get out of the classroom and explore the city on foot and by public transportation.

Our science class recently went on the Metro to the Natural History Museum where we participated the “Bird Strike, Who Dunit” program (“bird strike” is the phrase used to describe a bird hitting an airplane). In the class we studied a real event that occurred at National Airport in 2001, when a bird crashed into a plane causing an emergency landing. Our goal was to identify what type of bird hit the plane by examining the evidence collected by the pilot after the crash. We achieved this goal by learning about bird management in the area, techniques for feather identification, and DNA sequencing.

The DNA sequencing revealed two main animals, a turkey vulture and a white tail deer. Surprising! Deer are not usually 1500 feet above the ground. But after thinking about what that could mean we hypothesized that the turkey vulture might have eaten a dead deer, and still had some on its beak when it hit the plane. I loved learning about the DNA…but I will never look at flying the same way.

by Mr. O’Beirne’s Stoddert ES 2nd grade class

In December, the students in Mr. O’Beirne’s  second grade class took a field trip to Seneca Schoolhouse. It was a trip back in time to the 1880’s and  was a great experience. As part of our experience we dressed up and were in character. Our teacher for the day was Mrs. Darby.

We learned many things on our field trip and we each had a favorite! At the schoolhouse we learned that the students, called scholars, had to bring wood to school. The boys had to bring the wood from outside to keep us warm. If a scholar forgot the wood, they had to sit outside! We sang songs and had a math lesson. Part of the lesson was the same way we do math today. We learned the punishments for bad conduct. One of the scholars had to wear the dunce cap! Another couldn’t keep still in his punishment. In the 1880’s if you did something wrong you would get a switch! We learned that if a boy laughs at a girl, he has to go sit on the girl’s side of the room. Playing toys from the 1880’s was a lot of fun, too. Everyone agreed that nooning or recess was the best! We played stickball with a walnut as a ball and a big, long, fat stick for the bat. We also played hot potato and ran relay races. We ended the day cooking potatoes on the stove fire and having an 1880’s lunch. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about children and school from long ago. Soon we were on the bus headed back to 2018.