A Middle School Trip to Washington D.C. to Study American History

Lisa Wertz is a middle school teacher who brought her 8th grade class to Washington D.C. each year.  “I always felt that the trip was good preparation for high school,” said Wertz. The visit to Washington DC is “great preparation for the 8th graders since they will take government classes in 9th grade,” added Wertz. An in depth look at the places in Washington D.C. which house the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government was also a once in a lifetime experience for many of the students who traveled on these trips from Boulder, Colorado to the East Coast.

Educational Trip to Washington D.C. Includes Time with Senator

Thanks to advanced planning, there were also added educational experiences on the most recent class trip to Washington D.C. In addition to seeing the White House and U.S. Capitol, the class was able to meet with Senator Bennet during their visit.  “It was impressive,” said Wertz, “We met with Senator Bennet in the agricultural committee room in the Russell Building.”  She said students were able to ask him questions.  This type of interactive experience is possible for many student tours, though not all participate with representatives in this way. Sometimes a representative’s schedule or lack of enough advanced planning can prevent a group from dialoguing directly with their congressmen or senators.  Trip leaders should ask a student travel consultant for procedures on booking time with representatives.  Book six months to one year in advance of the visit to Washington D.C.

Casey Middle School Government Students Participate in Mock Hearing

In addition to meeting with Senator Bennet, Representative Jared Polis’ staff conducted a mock committee hearing for Wertz’s middle school group.   She said students learned how bills are sometimes attached to other bills.  The topics presented included Medical Marijuana and the Dream Act.  This mock hearing enabled students to better understand the day-to-day workings of a democratic government.  In this setting, students, like representatives, are challenged to listen to and assimilate the opinions of all sides.

Other D.C. Destinations on the Class Trip

There were other destinations on this trip to Washington D.C. that tied in well with the curriculum. The group was able to visit the Supreme Court.  Students looked at the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which was a highlight for many.  They also visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and the American and Natural History Museum — two popular choices for student groups.

Students See Mount Vernon by Boat and Land

On their final day on tour, Wertz’s students took a Spirit Cruise around Mount Vernon and spent the day at George and Martha Washington’s estate.  Wertz said, “We designed a scavenger hunt for Mount Vernon. Students used their cell phone cameras to record the information they found there.  It was really fun!”   Incorporating the tools of new technology into the Mount Vernon visit helped to interest students in history by engaging them more deeply with the artifacts and structures there.

Casey Middle School’s four day, three night tour was packed with even more interesting activities.  They visited the Newseum and had a full tour of the Holocaust Museum. Each of these museums has a great deal to offer the student of American History and government.  Both museums are relatively new, and integrate interactive technology into exhibits.

On this unique tour, students took an in-depth look at U.S. government and studied how it functions in a free society.  They were able to visit sites of historical significance, speak directly to their representatives and participate in a mock hearing.  A combination of indoor and outdoor destinations created a full itinerary with plenty of opportunity for learning.

Request a Quote for the U.S. History/Government tour of Washington D.C. or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Eco Tour of Central Florida

Request a quote for an eco tour of Central Florida and South Florida.

Students studying biology, marine science, environmental studies and other related subjects will get excited about this special student eco tour I have designed with a focus on the subtropical environment of Central Florida. This student trip is hands-on with lots of outdoor activities like snorkeling and airboat rides.  It’s a great way to experience the marine life and unique wildlife of Central Florida as well as the swamps and waterways.

Below are some brief highlights of the eco tour of Central Florida, with a day at Busch Gardens theme park to add even more fun to the itinerary.

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park

Homosassa Springs is a Florida state park with a great deal to offer the student tour group interested in adventure.  There’s a hiking and nature trail, ranger guided tours, boat tours, and more. Some of the wildlife students will encounter here includes: manatees, alligators and hippopotamus.  Special wildlife programs explaining the behaviors and habitats of these animals are available for visiting student groups.  Groups will also want to visit the Cougar Habitat and Black Bear Enclosure.

Snorkel Safety Lessons
When students are engaged in a hands on activity like snorkeling, it helps to be educated about the safest snorkeling techniques.  This snorkel safety lesson is provided prior to entering the Crystal River.  Student groups will also have information on how to interact with Manatees and other inhabitants of the River, as well.

Crystal River Snorkeling with Manatees
Students engaged in the study of biology or marine science will love this adventure:  swimming with the Manatees. These large and gentle mammals are numerous in the Crystal River, reaching numbers of 400 or more in the peak winter season.  Swim alongside the Manatees or just watch them feed in the river.  Guides may snorkel with the group to show them the type of behavior that attracts Manatees.

Crystal Springs Preserve Hands on Workshop

Environmental education is a large part of the eco tour itinerary. Trip leaders will want to Schedule a Crystal Springs Preserve workshop to maximize the experience. The Preserve maintains a large Living Laboratory of species common to the Crystal Springs area.  Students will actually hike through Crystal Springs and observe the natural habitat of animals as well as interact with reptiles, mammals and other species unique to the region in the Living Laboratory.

National Park Service Tram Tour and Airboat Ride
Everglades National Park is the only subtropical preserve in North America.  The park provides a 15-mile tram tour so wildlife can be viewed at close proximity.  The tram tour takes a flat road that winds through the Everglades where riders can see:  heron, egrets, deer, turtle and more.  Another way to experience the Everglades firsthand is to take an airboat ride through the waterways and swamps.  Learn about the Seminole tribe that used to inhabit the Everglades, view the alligators from a safe distance, and see the Mangrove trees and other wildlife that live in this swampy wilderness setting.

Busch Gardens Safari Seminar
Not far from the Everglades and Crystal River is a unique theme park, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida.  Here students can experience a safari where they can watch animals in a natural setting.  They will be thrilled to see: zebras, giraffes, bongo, ostrich, cheetahs, white rhinos, tigers and more.  Students can immerse themselves in the study of rare wildlife in a safe environment on Safari in Busch Gardens — an unforgettable experience. After exploring the safari, student groups can enjoy the SheiKra, Gwazi, or Kumba roller coasters and other rides at the theme park.

Central Florida has a great deal to offer students studying the natural world and the environment.  From swamps and waterways to safaris and snorkeling, this eco tour is a great way to engage students in active learning. Taking the Florida Eco Tour will help students to become stewards of the environment by giving them a reason to care enough to preserve it.

Request a quote for an eco tour of Central Florida and South Florida.