New Learning and New Experiences


Being in New York City, my students are lucky to have many wonderful, world-famous cultural institutions within travel range via relatively inexpensive public transportation. Unfortunately, museum visits and the like are not usually worked into their families’ plans. When I request or book a trip, one of my main guiding considerations is whether the students will ever go to the place if we don’t go together.

That’s an argument I made when we went to a NY Liberty basketball game at Madison Square Garden and it was the rationale behind the fifth grade trip to the Liberty Science Center a couple of years ago. Trips can be as much about new experiences as they can be about learning.

Today, we are heading to a personal favorite of mine, the American Museum of Natural History. We’ll visit the Hall of Biodiversity to consider the balance of organisms that exist in nature. I expect the students will be enthralled by the models hanging on the wall, representing the range of life from the single-cell organisms to the highly complex ones. We will sit inside the rainforest diorama and look and listen. Students will sketch organisms within certain parameters and then label them (after all, we just did finish up our informational writing unit, so this is something of a celebration).

My hope is that they have fun getting into one of the world’s greatest classrooms. I’ll probably preach a little, too, and urge them to ask their parents to take them to a museum some time. If not, though, they’ll at least have our class trips.

Related: Trips Are For Teaching

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