You Learn More if You Get Dirty

When you’re a student, field trips are often like waking up to waffles and lots of bacon on Saturday morning. Admit it: how many times did you not enjoy leaving school for a few hours to experience something awesome at the local science museum or animal shelter? Trident Academy is known for many things, but our field trips can often rank high on students’ memories. Especially the overnight trips our middle school students take.

Students in the Mud Pit at Barrier IslandTwo courageous teachers and a few parent chaperones spent two days with our 5th and 6th grade students at Barrier Island earlier this month. There, the students explored their lessons about ecosystems – of which Barrier Island has five. They collected insects, took night walks, and even played in the mud a time or two. These experiences both expanded the lessons taught back on campus earlier this semester and also prepared the students for what they will learn later in middle school and high school. “Pretty much everything you learn in science has a spiral back,” says Julia Carter, middle school science teacher. “That works out nicely because that’s what we do in Orton-Gillingham. We are building on a foundation that we already taught.”

Before starting school this year, students were asked to read The Forrest by Art Collins which introduced ecosystems. Ms. Carter built on that introduction during her science classes. By the time the students arrived at Barrier Island, they were ready to push further into their lessons. Now, the students will use what they learned at Barrier Island and take it deeper into their classroom discussions. “We are looking at predator-prey relationships,” shares Ms. Carter, “but we’re looking specifically at the ecosystems from Barrier Island. They’re getting assigned an ecosystem from Barrier Island and their ACE will be to put together a diorama of that ecosystem and to present on it.”

Teachers hope that field trips leave a lasting impact on their students. Ms. Carter knows very well that overnight science trips stay with students long after leaving Trident Academy. “I’ve seen the students we took to Green River Preserve three years ago still come back and talk about a bug they saw recently,” says Ms. Carter. “They wonder whether the bug is invasive, if it’s really supposed to be here, and what’s that doing to the ecosystem. Barrier Island really does a good job of integrating what we start here and what the students can finish outside.”

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