Tag Archives: student travel washington d.c.

Students Trips to D.C. Include a Visit to Holocaust Museum: Conversations with Holocaust Survivors

by Howard Clemens

Student tours of Washington D.C. often include a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A visit to the Museum can be an eye opening experience for students of this generation, who did not live through the war, and were not raised by parents that fought or participated in World War II.

Many of the popular Hollywood films about the holocaust focus on the experience of the Jewish population in Germany. However, the Jewish population throughout Europe was deeply affected by anti-Semitism and genocide. As the war progressed, the Nazis came to invade many different European countries and round up Jewish people for extermination at the camps in Germany.

The First Person Podcast Series by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is a wonderful resource for teachers who want to introduce students to the individual stories of holocaust survivors. It is also a great way to prepare them for a class trip to Washington D.C. that includes a stop to at the Museum on the itinerary.

Visit the U.S.Holocaust Memorial Museum and select the menu ‘Survivors and Victims.’ Page down and peruse the selections of audio podcasts available for online listening.

Genocide of the Jewish Population in Europe in the 1940s
These first person accounts of war and its consequences to families and whole populations will be an awakening for many students. Students may be familiar with the major battles of World War II and the politics of the war. However, these are personal accounts of intimidation, fear and hiding. Jewish people had to disguise their true identities and survive in a small amount of space – or go from house to house. Separation of husbands and wives and mothers and children was all too common.

These stories will leave students spellbound – and should be digested slowly. Post-listening exercises are recommended so students can fully integrate. A visit to the Museum will also assist in learning more.

The Nazi Resistance in Europe
There are also important details about those who courageously resisted Nazi control and aided those who were fleeing. Many of these allies were non-Jewish and taking a huge chance by hiding those who were. Listening to these Survivor Stories adds a whole new dimension to students’ knowledge and learning about the holocaust of World War II.

Each story has its own unique description of the challenge of a Jewish adult or child leaving war torn Europe. With the German army crossing through many war torn territories, this is quite a challenge and took a great deal of courage for the many who aided those who sought refuge elsewhere.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising: Nazi’s Stalled
One highlight of the First Person Podcast Series includes the story of Estelle Laughlin: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In Poland, some of the fiercest resistance to a Nazi takeover came from an ill- supplied but prepared group of urban fighters. The resistance movement in the Warsaw Ghettos helped families to build secret bunkers before the Germans arrived. While war raged in the streets of
Warsaw families hid in bunkers to survive. This actually saved quite a few families, who were spirited away during lulls in this urban war. Laughlin’s story of resistance and escape is compelling, mostly because she was just a child.

Romania: Hiding from a Pogrom in Iasi
Heim Solomon’s story explains what the word ‘Pogrom’ means. After the Germans invaded the Soviet Union on June 21, 1941, the Romanian Jewish population came under the authority of the Germans. The Nazis pressed upon the authorities of Romania to eliminate the Jewish population. The Jewish men of the town were summoned to the City Hall to be reissued new identification. From this room they were escorted into a stone outdoor enclosure. Here German soldiers would either split their heads or shoot them in the temple of he head. Later a garbage truck would clean up the trash. In the July 29th massacre, 4,000 would perish within the perimeter of the stonewall.

This particularly vicious form of genocide was terrifying to the Jewish population. Two of Heim’s brothers scaled the stone wall that night, and hid for 6 days without food or water. They hid themselves in a space above wood piled to the ceiling. Many more were lined up and sent by train and because it was so hot, one half of those who traveled died from lack of water. Solomon’s family was scattered during the roundup and after the Pogrom calmed down, in 4-5 days, they reorganized from their hiding. His scathing account of the inhumane treatment of the Nazi’s is not easy to listen to, however it gives a perspective not often recorded in history books.

Teachers may have to face hard subjects with students and will find creative ways to help them understand materials.

Resistance to fascism, survival in a hostile environment, and the ability to live in secrecy are just a few of the characteristics many survivors share. Students will learn about the struggles and turmoil of separating from family–immediate and extended. Most of all students will learn about the bravery of survivors and those who helped them.

For more information about a student trip to Washington D.C. that includes a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. Request a Quote.

A Class Trip to Harpers Ferry, Historic Armory and Civil War Battlefield Near Washington D.C.

by Howard Clemens

For those interested in studying the Civil War, a visit to Harpers Ferry will easily explain its critical geographical position. The natural boundary between north and south is the Potomac River. The Potomac River joins the Shenandoah River here, at the headwaters of the Shenandoah River Valley. During the Civil War, rail and ship transportation were key to supply chains for both armies. Harpers Ferry had both forms of transportation and was a strategic location between north and south. The Confederates were wooing Maryland residents to take up the Confederate side during the war and Harpers Ferry was a good position for this sort of public relations campaign.

A Short History of Harpers Ferry Before Civil War
The U.S. Armory and Arsenal was opened at Harpers Ferry in 1797. This facility produced over 600,000 muskets, rifles and pistols from 1707-1861. Harpers Ferry was also the first place in the U.S. to mechanize the production of weapons.

John Brown’s Raid
John Brown was an abolitionist with radical ideas about freeing slaves. He set out on the evening of October 16, 1859 to raid the U.S. Armory and Arsenal with the objective of seizing 100,000 weapons. These he planned to distribute to slaves to fight a guerilla war against slavery in the Shenandoah Valley. About a day and a half later, with Brown’s men killed or wounded, he was captured by the U.S. Marines. For his crimes of sedition against the country, he was hanged on December 2, 1859. John Brown’s Fort stands today as a memory of the raid, and the place where he was captured. It would take less than two years from the time of John Brown’s raid, and the country would be in a state of civil warfare.

Harpers Ferry During the Civil War
Confederate and Union soldiers passed through Harpers Ferry, making it a vulnerable location. Less than one day from the time Virginia seceded, Federal soldiers burned the armory n April 18, 1861. Yet only 15,000 weapons were burned, and Confederates were able to take the weapon making machinery into the South. The Confederates held Harpers Ferry until the Battle of Antietam concluded in 1862 then the Union reoccupied it . All together the town changed hands eight times between 1861 & 1865 – which illustrates its significance.

Harpers Ferry Jeopardy – Easy to Download and Play
To make it fun for students to prepare for a trip to Washington D.C. and Harpers Ferry, the National Park Service has a game (designed in Powerpoint) called Harpers Ferry Jeopardy. Another useful classroom teaching tool, The War for Freedom is designed for the student to gain a better understanding of slavery and emancipation. The War for Freedom includes intro text, teacher pages, learning activities and additional resources. Students can learn about slavery from the viewpoint of a slave and trace his or her journey to emancipation. Also documented in this section are actual stories of African American soldiers who fought hard for their freedom on different battlefields of the Civil War.

Middle School Lessons Plans for Social Studies Students
The National Park Service has designed a lesson geared towards 5th-8th graders that focuses specifically on Harpers Ferry. The Battle for Harpers Ferry, 1862: Harpers Ferry is the Key! includes four lesson plans that take 30-40 minutes to cover in the classroom. Students gain a better understanding of the strategic importance of Harpers Ferry for the Union and learn more about the life of a Civil War soldier.

With so many great classroom tools to work with, teachers will find it easier to help students understand the importance of Harpers Ferry during the Civil War era. They will also be able to tie this lesson into another about the Battle for Antietam. A real visit to Harpers Ferry will enable students to understand the geographic position of Harpers Ferry today and to view some of the historic sites where armies were situated. Harpers Ferry has sites and trails in three different states: West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland.

To plan a student tour of Harpers Ferry with a student travel company, Request a Quote or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Resources for Teachers:

The Battle for Harpers Ferry
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/classrooms/battle-of-hf-2.htm
War for Freedom
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/war-for-freedom.htm
Harpers Ferry Jeopardy
http://www.nps.gov/hafe/learn/education/classrooms/curriculummaterials.htm

Foreign Student Trips to Washington, D.C.: Winding Shopping, Dining & Sightseeing Together

The National Harbor is a shopping, dining and entertainment area on the shores of the Potomac River in MD, that overlook the D.C. skyline.
The National Harbor is a shopping, dining and entertainment area on the shores of the Potomac River in MD, overlooking the D.C. skyline.

by Howard Clemens

Washington, D.C. is the center of American political and social life and has been a hub for international visitors since the beginning. For foreign students traveling to Washington D.C. for the first time, it is almost always a thrilling experience. However, seeing everything that the area has to offer can take weeks. So the question for trip leaders may be – where is a student tour group to start? And which are the most important points of interest?

Many students from other countries want to shop in the U.S. They can obtain goods that may not be available in their country. Trip leaders need to know that there are several points of interest in the Washington D.C. area where the visitor can combine sightseeing, shopping and dining.

National Harbor: A Grand View of Washington D.C.
With its many shops and restaurants, The National Harbor is situated on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. It is a great place to kick off any excursion. Students can board The Capitol Wheel, a towering 180-foot wheel with enclosed cars, that offers sweeping views of the Washington Monument, the U.S. Capitol building, and the whole glittering panorama of the city itself. Groups can also cruise the Potomac (or even sail right to the National Mall & Memorial Parks) on the Alexandria-National Harbor Water Taxi, which operates day and night.

When it’s time to shop, choose from 150 retailers, with an outlet mall that appeals to everyone. There are also 30 different restaurants to choose from at the National Harbor, ranging from McDonald’s to a high end dining experience overlooking the Potomac.

Downtown Washington D.C. also has more than its share of fun theme restaurants: the Madhatter, which has been a city institution for more than 30 years, takes its name, its décor, and its inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. Or, have the student group sample some Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken. Here, patrons can sample maple-bacon, s’more, or passionfruit pastries. Astro Doughnuts is the kind of fun and quirky eatery that students are bound to love.

Shop, Dine & be Entertained in Georgetown
There’s also never any shortage of shopping, historical sights, and dining in D.C.’s legendary Georgetown neighborhood. Students can take the Gastronomic Georgetown Food Tour, an outing that will expose them to gourmet French and Italian cuisine, delectable desserts from D.C.’s best bakeries, and other capitol-region culinary delights.

Shop at the Smithsonian Museums or National Air and Space Museum
One-stop shopping (as in something-for-everyone) is also an apt way to describe D.C.’s Smithsonian Museums. Students can take in three centuries of American art at once, or explore “the final frontier” (as Star Trek calls it) at the National Air and Space Museum. At these prominent museums, the foreign visitor will find lots of interesting merchandise for purchase, from clothing to jewelry to interesting limited edition art and memorabilia. Students may also want to visit the magnificent Anderson House, a lavish 50-room mansion-museum located in the city’s historic Dupont Circle neighborhood. This is always a feast for the eyes, and a rare glimpse into what it’s like to live like American royalty.

When it comes to dining out, it doesn’t get any hipper than the Hard Rock Cafe, located near Washington D.C.’s bustling Chinatown district. Students can also visit the cafe’s “Rock ‘n Roll Embassy,” which is situated right next to the world-famous Ford’s Theater. Washington D.C. is also known for its lively dinner theater scene: at Medieval Madness at Renaissance Hall, students can enjoy a 4-course “knights of the round table” type feast while they take in a medieval-themed play, complete with sword fighting.

Finally, if foreign students are looking for really offbeat entertainment, they’ll find it at the Spy Museum, where they’ll learn how to decrypt secret audio conversations, escape from inescapable places, and engage in their own missions of espionage and intrigue. It is definitely an educational experience—and a great time that gives the term “interactive exhibit” a whole new meaning.

To sum it up, there’s no shortage of entertainment in the nation’s capitol, and for foreign students looking to get a taste of sightseeing, dining and entertainment all in one – there’s no place quite like Washington, D.C.

For more information about booking a tour your foreign students will never forget, email: info@educationaltravelconsultants.com, or visit the website at http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

National Harbor has even More to Offer Student Travel Groups Touring Washington D.C.

By Howard Clemens

student travel washington d.c.
National Harbor is the newest hotspot for student travel to Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is full of historical and cultural and sights for student travel groups. Getting slightly outside of the city can be just as exciting as touring the streets of D.C. The National Harbor is the newest destination for student trips to Washington D.C. Visit the Harbor for a day of waterfront fun and – take a spin on some adult sized circus rides such as the Capital Wheel and The Carousel. After intense touring of Washington D.C., students groups can relax for an afternoon and/or an evening on the shores of the Potomac River. Dining, entertainment, shopping and cruising are the main activities to be enjoyed here.

National Harbor Expansion Includes MGM Casino and Resort

National Harbor is located on the shores of the Potomac River in Prince George’s County, Maryland near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Here, visitors have panoramic views of Downtown Washington D.C. Currently, MGM is building a world-class casino/resort at National Harbor, which should attract enormous crowds. Student travel groups will have many other choices in entertainment, more appropriate for their age group.

Take a Ride on the Capital Wheel – the 180 Feet Wonder

For student groups headed to the National Harbor, a ride on the Capital Wheel will be the first on the list of activities for the day. The Capital Wheel rises 180 feet above the Potomac River and offers splendid views of the D.C. skyline. Students can also ride the whimsical Carousel. While walking around, groups may stop and watch the Jumbotron – a large screen outdoor display – where popular shows, entertainment and sports are broadcast.

Shop at Tanger Outlets & Have Some Lunch

Dining and shopping opportunities at National Harbor are numerous. The Tanger Outlets have over 85 name brand stores located there. So, trip leaders may want to allow time for a couple of free hours for shopping, before or after lunch at one of the many restaurants. National Harbor has a wide choice of restaurants, from burgers and prime steak and seafood to Baja fresh Mexican food, Italian, Pan Asian and much more. Ben and Jerry’s or Goodies Frozen Custard and Treats are great places to stop for dessert.

Cruises on the Potomac Include Historic Sites

The marina at National Harbor provides different options for student travel groups. National Harbor has a boat rental area, where kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards can be rented by the hour or the day. Many student groups may not have the time or prior training needed to operate these type of watercraft on the Potomac. So I usually recommend a cruise on the Potomac River instead.

Students look forward to a cruise. Cruises include dinner and dancing to the contemporary music students enjoy. The Potomac River Cruise can be boarded at National Harbor, making for quite a full day and evening. For those who want to see Washington D.C. lit up at night, sightseeing cruises offer a great opportunity to view historic sites from the water, including the Washington Monument and Mount Vernon Cruises.

Pre-Planning is Key to Fitting it All in When Student Travel Groups Visit National Harbor

There is so much to see and do at National Harbor it is almost overwhelming. In order to maintain oversight of the student group, it’s best to focus on different activities for set periods of time – such as cruising or riding the Capital Wheel and Carousel. Pre-trip planning is essential to fitting in dining, entertainment and shopping opportunities for large student groups spending the day at the Harbor. Be sure to have an educational travel expert help develop a travel itinerary for National Harbor to get the most out of a visit. For more information on student trips to Washington D.C., request a quote.  

 

War of 1812 Bicentennial Events Offer Diverse Interactive Experiences for Student Travel Groups

By Howard Clemens

Many celebrations for the War of 1812 Bicentennial are planned for this year, providing a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for student travel groups to participate in festivities, lectures, and interactive events that honor this pivotal event in American and British history.  Events are planned throughout the year, all over the United States, so there are many options for student travel groups to choose from.

Some student tour groups may want to travel to Baltimore and Washington D.C., where many events are planned to celebrate pivotal battles.  Other groups may travel to New Orleans. Some student trips may focus on a trip to Fort Niagara, not far from Niagara Falls, and couple this with a tour of New York City – taking the opportunity to see historical sites there.

Here is a sampling of some of the War of 1812 activities that will appeal to educational travel groups. For the most up-to-date information, consult appropriate websites, because events will be announced throughout this year and into 2015.

War of 1812 Events to Offer Historical Reenactments, On-site Tours, and More

New Orleans Commemorates the War of 1812
The world famous City of New Orleans hosts one of the most epic bicentennial celebrations of all: one that spans four years. Beginning in 2012 and ending in 2015, the celebration features a dazzling array of visiting ships, air shows, and other festivities, including touring ships that will be making their way to ports from New Orleans to Virginia to Baltimore to Boston.

Battle of Baltimore and Composition of the Star Spangled Banner Celebrated in September

Further up the coast, the Fort McHenry Star-Spangled Banner Celebration will occur September 13-15, 2013. This celebration pays homage to Defender’s Day, also known as Baltimore’s oldest holiday. The festivities, which take place in Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., commemorate Francis Scott Key’s writing of the “Star Spangled Banner” as well as the Battle of Baltimore and the bombardment of Fort McHenry. Festivities will include historical reenactments and cannon demonstrations, as well as parades and a lineup of educational and historical presentations.

Boston, Massachusetts Commemorates the War of 1812

The USS Constitution Museum in Boston will also be holding many special events throughout the year. Though the majority of major events and dignitary speakers are slated for the summer, there are still plenty of commemorative programs going on through the spring and fall.  Students can also visit the Old Ironsides War of 1812 Discovery Center, which is open throughout the year and features games and interactive exhibits.

Many Notable Bicentennial Events to Take Place in Proximity to Niagara Falls

Many of the War of 1812 battles occurred around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, so several bicentennial festivities will be taking place in that area.  On December 19, 2013, the Anniversary of the Capture of Fort Niagara, billed as a “once in a lifetime bicentennial event” will be observed at Fort Niagara in Youngstown, NY, a magnificent location not far from Niagara Falls. Fort Niagara, a National Historic Landmark, has more than 100,000 visitors a year, including many student travel groups. The Fort has an extensive collection of 18th and 19th Century military materials, as well as many living history reenactments, educational programs, and archaeological and historical exhibits. Fort Niagara’s ready proximity to Niagara Falls makes it easy for student groups to take a day trip there, too.  Many student tour leaders choose to combine a trip to Niagara Falls with a visit to New York City.

September 1-10 ushers in the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie, one of the War of 1812’s largest naval battles, which established the United States’ control over Lake Erie and led to the winning of the Battle of the Thames.  This historic celebration will take place in Put-on-Bay, Ohio, and feature a “Tall Ships festival” with historical reenactments, fireworks, cannon firings, and other festivities. Students will have the option of taking a day tour of many of the ships, and guided tours are available. Speakers will include representatives from British, Canadian, and Native American Indian groups, as well as other dignitaries, to be announced. Visit the Battle of Lake Eerie Bicentennial website for more information.

The War of 1812 is a major milestone in history, and students lucky enough to travel to any of these destinations during its bicentennial will be rewarded by participating in its many commemorative educational events and festivities. While some events and the attendance of dignitaries are not yet announced, more information can be found by visiting the Official War of 1812 Bicentennial Website or the National Park Service’s website.

Lessons of History and Freedom: Student Trip to Washington, DC is Enlightening and Eye-Opening for Students

By Howard Clemens

Recently, teacher Brynley Martin, who has taught eighth grade English Literature and history at Oak Hill Jr. High School for twelve years, took her students on a tour of Washington, DC. It’s a trip her classes make every year, and one that new students look forward to and former ones always remember fondly.  When students travel to Washington D.C., they get to immerse themselves in their fields of study in ways that go far beyond requisite classroom discussion and research.

This particular student tour covers a wide range, from cornerstones like the National Archives (in which the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are housed) to the many exhibits in the Smithsonian, like the American History and Air and Space Museums. This student travel group also visited Mount Vernon, the plantation of George Washington and landmark of the Revolutionary War.  It was important to Martin that the students also take a close look at the Holocaust Museum—an experience many students have described as profound and life-changing.

I recently interviewed Brynley Martin about her most recent class trip from Converse, Indiana to Washington D.C.

Q: What is your official title at Oak Hill Jr. High School?

A: I am an eighth grade English and Literature teacher.

Q: How often do you take your students on tour in Washington D.C.?

A: This will be my seventh year. The tours have been great, and every one of them is different.  Every student group is composed of students who are seeing and assimilating these sites for the first time.

Q: Have you toured other cities in the US?

A: No, just Washington D.C. so far.

Q: Washington is a city that’s critical for an understanding of U.S. History. How does the tour of DC tie into the class you teach? What specific parts of American history are covered?

A:  We dedicate nine weeks in literature class to the study of the Holocaust. We visit The Holocaust Museum to supplement our studies and to understand the real stories of people who suffered and died in it.  This puts a greater emphasis on what we’ve learned. We also study the origins of the U.S., from the Revolutionary up to the Civil War.

Q: The Newseum is a museum dedicated to news and media in American culture. This ties directly into written and spoken language in English, and the ways it’s used to communicate information. Can you comment on student’s reactions to visiting it?

A: On previous trips, we hadn’t had time to really check things out. But the students loved it. There’s so much stuff to see there, something for everyone.

Q: Your class visited the National Archives. What specifically did you want your students to see there?

A: Specifically, the Declaration of Independence, which is sometimes not the easiest thing to see because the lines are so long. It was great for them to be able to see it in detail during this last trip.

Q: How was your trip to the Holocaust Museum?

A: We always request the full tour there. It is very important to our trip, and the kids are moved by it. They get to learn about the Holocaust through more than just books, which always affects them in profound and significant ways.

Q: Describe any post-trip writing or speaking students were required to perform to assimilate their experiences.

A: All students bring a disposable camera on the trip. They use their photos to create a comprehensive and individual project about their own experience. They present this project to the rest of the class, through the lens of their own point of view.

Q: How long have you been doing these tours? What has been your experience with the tour guides and other staff?

A: I think we’ve been traveling for six years now. The tour guides have been awesome! They are very knowledgeable about Washington D.C. and have always worked well with us to solve any problems that might come up. It’s been a great experience, overall.

Diversity of Impressions and Increased Appreciation of History: Something for Every Student Trip

Every student will take something personal away with them from the trip, while also gaining a greater understanding of history and the way language is used to make and change it. Exposing students to places like the Holocaust Museum is instrumental in promoting an understanding of the ethical responsibilities of history. Up close and personal exposure to exhibits housed in the National Archives and the Smithsonian can provide a fresh and vital perspective for learning. All these make for a uniquely visceral experience that serve to broaden and enhance classroom studies in essential and innovative ways. Martin feels that these trips to Washington D.C. positively impact her students, and broaden their appreciation and knowledge of their studies, so she will continue to take groups on tour.

Request a quote for a student tour of Washington D.C.

Student Trip to Baltimore to Celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812

Many students of American history read about the War of 1812 as part of their studies of Nineteenth Century history.  This naval war impacted the burgeoning United States and the port cities along the East Coast, as well as cities inland, along major waterways.

This year, Baltimore, Maryland is the focus of the national launch of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 with the Star-Spangled Sailabration from June 13-19, 2012.  This kickoff celebration begins in Baltimore Harbor where visitors can see a spectacular display of U.S., British and Canadian naval vessels and tall ships from around the world. Audiences will also see an air show featuring the Blue Angels.

Teachers and trip leaders are encouraged to combine a visit to Washington D.C. with a visit to Baltimore to experience the Bicentennial of the War of 1812.   Even if the student group is not available to travel from June 13-19, they may still experience part of the Bicentennial celebration. Baltimore and other cities throughout the U.S and Canada affected by the War of 1812 will continue to stage events dedicated to the remembrance of the War of 1812 through 2014.

Following is a brief outline of the six major sites in Baltimore and Washington D.C. that reinforce studies of the War of 1812. In addition to Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington D.C. other states participating in this event are:  Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Student travel groups destined for any of these locations can also tie their trip into War of 1812 sites in these locations.

Baltimore, Maryland, War of 1812 Sites of Interest

Fort McHenry
Many Americans and representatives felt an attack on Baltimore was imminent after a declaration of war against the British. So, Fort McHenry was prepared with fortifications and soldiers to defend the city against the British. This site is well-preserved and maintained by the National Park Service.  Fort McHenry is known as the star fort, because it was constructed in the shape of a five-pointed star.  The fort was attacked by British cannon fire and survived the battle.

The Star Spangled Banner Flag House
Students will want to tour the house where Mary Pickersgill sewed the flag that flew over Fort McHenry during the battle of 1814, when the Fort was under assault by the British.  Pickersgill lived here with her daughter Caroline and her mother, Rebecca Young, who started the flag-making business during the Revolutionary War period in Philadelphia.  Student groups can tour the home that is decorated with 19th century furniture and fixtures.  Frequent living history presentations are also staged here, so students may encounter Mary Pickersgill, Rebecca Young or Grace Wisher, the African-American apprentice who lived and worked there.  These living history actresses will narrate their story in the first person to help make the process of creating the flag come alive.

Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
Students can see a special exhibition for the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 here:  “Farmers, Patriots and Traitors:  Southern Maryland and the War of 1812.”  At the time of the War of 1812, the U.S. had no organized naval fleet. So, in June of 1814, Commodore Joshua Barney pulled together a fleet of eighteen gun boats, barges and sloops to take on the British Navy. This unofficial fleet of ships engaged in battle with the British Navy twice in June of 1814. The battles took place at the intersection of the Patuxent River and St. Leonard Creek, near the shores of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.  They are known as the largest naval engagement in the history of Maryland, and helped turned the tides of the War of 1812 in favor of the U.S.

Washington, D.C. War of 1812 Sites of Interest

Smithsonian Museum
Students can see the actual flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the National Anthem in the The Star- Spangled Banner exhibition at the National Museum of American History.  The flag is 200 years old and measures 30 x 34 feet. It is housed in an environmentally controlled chamber to preserve it and visitors can interact with the artifact through a tactile image.

White House
Student groups may visit the White House as part of their scheduled tour.   James Madison was President of the United States when he asked Congress to declare war on June 1, 1812. Teachers can prepare classes for this study by taking an in-depth look at Madison’s presidency, and his reasons for going to war, prior to the trip.

In addition to these War of 1812 sites, student groups can learn more about other historical  periods by visiting the Baltimore and/or Washington D.C. area. Popular destinations include the U.S. Capitol Building, the monuments tour, Mount Vernon and more. Check the events schedule on The Official war of 1812 Bicentennial Website to see if a student trip schedule will coincide with other public events.

To request a quote for a class trip to Baltimore and Washington D.C. visit http://www.educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Take Student Travel Groups on a Science Trip to Washington D.C.

Student travel group leaders and teachers often take school groups to Washington D.C. on history and government tours. Our nation’s capitol has a rich history, and the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government are centrally located there. This makes the trip to Washington D.C. perfect for the study of history and government.

Yet Washington D.C. is also an ideal location for student trips which focus on science based learning. There are numerous points of interest in the Washington D.C. area that complement the study of science including: Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian American & Natural History Museum, NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center, Maryland Science Center, Baltimore National Aquarium, Marian Koshland Science Museum, and the National Zoo. In addition to scheduling visits to these locations on the itinerary, student tour groups can also allow time to visit the U.S. Capitol/Supreme Court, take an illuminated tour of Memorials and Monuments, and see the U.S.S. Barry — all in a three or four day tour.

This article will provide a brief overview of major points of interest for a science tour of Washington D.C.

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum & Smithsonian American Natural History Museum
These two museums are a great starting point for an educational science trip.
U.S. explorations of space and innovations in flight are well-documented and preserved in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Students can participate in guided tours, or educational programs that are appropriate for specific grade levels. A visit to the Air and Space Museum will provide interactive learning about airplanes, outer space explorations and pivotal moments in U.S. history when American scientists and programs led the world in discoveries in flight and space missions.

The American Natural History Museum provides guided and self-guided tours and educational programs related to the history of the earth: fossils, stones, animals, pre-historic wildlife and remains, oceanic environments, and more. Student tour groups can visit permanent or special exhibits related to their curricular studies and teachers can focus the visit on exhibits which complement actual classroom learning experiences in the natural sciences. A visit to these two Smithsonian Museums provides an excellent opportunity for learning about science.

NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center
At the NASA Goddard Visitor’s Center, student tour groups gain a deeper level of insight into contemporary space exploration. The group can view photographs taken from the Hubble Space Telescope with pictures of planets, galaxies, black holes and views of earth taken from outer space. Students may view movies of earth and outer space in the Science on a Sphere projection room, where film is projected onto a spherical screen. Student groups will also learn about information gathered from satellites and other vehicles designed to explore deep space, through photographs of phenomenon on earth, the sun, and planets. Student education is enhanced through the lens of high tech devices, utilized by the NASA scientists to further our knowledge about the universe.

Maryland Science Center & Baltimore National Aquarium
Located in Baltimore, MD, just an hour outside of Washington D.C., are two premiere attractions for the science student: Maryland Science Center and the Baltimore National Aquarium. The Maryland Science Center has a rooftop observatory as well as nightly Sky and Stars SkiCasts to help the astronomy student interpret the activities of stars, planets, and other celestial bodies and occurrences. Students can watch live chemical and scientific experiments on the Demo stage, see science films projected onto a sphere, or ride on Segways when they tour the Maryland Science Center.

At the Baltimore National Aquarium, students will be especially pleased by the new exhibit, “A Dolphin’s World” an extraordinary Dolphin Show that teaches students about the ocean planet, and the way human behavior in and near the Chesapeake Bay watershed affects the dolphins’ environment on a daily basis. The Baltimore National Aquarium also has a 4-D Immersion Theater with daily shows as well as 16,500 animals on exhibit. It’s no wonder the Baltimore National Aquarium is internationally known and recognized as one of the finest aquariums in the United States. The opportunity to visit the Baltimore National Aquarium will complement any classroom studies on oceanography and life beneath the sea.

Marian Koshland Science Museum
The National Academy of Sciences Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington D.C. features interactive exhibits that teach visitors about the immediate impact science has on our daily lives. Here students will learn about the importance of safe drinking water, infectious diseases, DNA, and some of the wonders of science. The exhibits are ongoing and will change from time to time. Teachers are advised to check the Museum website to coordinate curricular plans with current exhibits.

National Zoo
The National Zoo is a spectacular showcase for animals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians from a variety of eco-systems around the world. There are numerous exhibits, many with a geographical focus such as on North America, Asia, the Amazon and Africa; exhibits that concentrate on species are: Great Cats, Giant Pandas, Birds, and Asian Elephants. Teachers can access the National Zoo website well in advance of the trip to develop lesson plans that are in sync with the visit. The curriculum guides are grade specific and available for free download, with core materials included for classroom learning, making it easy for teachers to prepare students for the trip to the National Zoo.

Teachers looking to organize a science trip will find a wealth of opportunity for quality educational experiences in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Some of the finest science museums in the world are located in the capitol city. For more information about a science based student trip and itinerary email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for details on scheduling or pricing. Or, Request a Quote, by taking a few minutes to fill out this brief, online questionnaire.

Writing Assignments that Complement Class Trips to Washington D.C. and NYC

Educational travel tours headed for Washington D.C. or New York City are an excellent way to stimulate active learning. Visiting historic sites such as the White House and the Capitol in Washington D.C. or taking the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Boat tour in New York City are just the first step in the learning process.

Writing Assignments Help Students Learn about NYC and Washington D.C.
Creating a post trip writing assignment that requires students to assimilate the information learned on a visit to Washington D.C. or New York City is one way to ensure that students have grasped the information conveyed on student tours.

Student tour groups get excited about visiting historic sites and learning about the way the U.S. government is run or the manner in which immigrant families entered the country. Experienced, licensed and knowledgeable tour guides make all the difference in any student tour. In both Washington D.C. and New York City, tour guides must be licensed in order to lead groups around the city. A high quality student tour company will only work with tour guides who are licensed.

Teachers and educational tour planners should contract with student travel companies that have excellent reputations and a long history in working with school groups. Working with an experienced educational travel company will ensure that information conveyed on a tour is in sync with academic standards and learning objectives.

In order to maintain high standards, licensed tour guides in New York City and Washington D.C. are required to pass certification tests which are designed to measure their knowledge of historical and cultural information about the city where they lead student tours. If a tour guide is licensed, then the student travel group is sure to receive accurate historical information about the sites. Another advantage of working with licensed tour guides is their ability to accurately answer questions from student travelers about historical sites.

In addition to selecting a qualified educational travel company that employs licensed tour guides, creating a post trip assignment related to one or more of the destinations on the itinerary are an effective way to help students process the event.

Here are some brief ideas for writing assignments that may follow a class trip to Washington D.C. or New York City. Teachers will want to give students the details of these assignments before the tour, so they can take notes while they visit these sites. These writing exercises are designed for the high school classroom. Teachers should feel free to modify the assignments for specific learning and curriculum objectives.

Washington D.C. Writing Assignment Idea After a Visit to the Capitol

Instruct students to write a 500-750 word essay about their visit to the U.S. Capitol. Highlight three observations that stood out on your visit to the Capitol. What did you learn about American democracy that you did not know before your visit? Explain in detail. Describe any of the representatives, pages, aides or people that you may have met or seen on your visit. What are their functions in the democratic process?

Writing Exercise Idea Following a Tour of the White House:
Ask students to write a 500-750 word essay about their trip to the White House.
On your visit to the White House, which room were you drawn to the most, and why? Describe in detail the furnishings, art, and function of this room. How does this room play a role in diplomatic or political relations? Why is this particular room of the White House important and included on the tour?

New York City Writing Assignment to Follow a Boat Tour of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Write a 500-750 word essay that brings together at least eight different facts about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In your own words, describe why these two significant New York City landmarks are pivotal places in American history.

These writing assignment ideas are designed to inspire students to look and listen closely while on tour. They are specifically designed for high school educational tour groups visiting Washington D.C. or New York City. For more information about scheduling a student tour (with a licensed tour guide) for either destination or any U.S. city, visit The Request a Quote page and take a few minutes to fill out the form, or email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com.

Preparation Tips for Class Trips

When student travel groups embark on a class trip to a destination far from home, it can seem like a daunting endeavor. Over the last 25 years of planning class trips to a variety of U.S. destination, I have found that pre-trip planning and organization can be key to a smooth trip.

Student groups need to be given clear instructions in planning for a class trip. These student tour groups will manage their departure from home and arrival in another city much better than those who do not receive directions.

Class Trip Suggestions

I am going to detail some basic preparation tips for class trips that assist in creating a tour that proceeds on schedule and allows student travelers, chaperones and teachers to relax and derive maximum enjoyment from the journey.

1. Luggage rules for airline carriers have changed over the past two years. To avoid extra baggage fees students are best advised to limit their luggage to one suitcase and a small carry on.

2. Students should bring a minimum amount of cash with them. My educational travel company recommends $50 total. If students require more than this on tour, then credit cards, bank cards, or travelers checks are a wise alternative.

3. While taking a student tour of the destination city, we strongly advise that students stay in groups of four or more and with their assigned chaperone.

4. Eating and drinking is allowed on most buses. Should the bus driver decided to discontinue this privilege, then the student travel group must honor this request. Encourage all members of the student tour group to keep the buses clean.

5. These days, many students have their own cell phones. For those who do not, hotel phone numbers are listed on the itineraries. Parents should retain a copy of the itinerary so they may reach their children easily.

6. While staying in hotels, long distance phone calls and pay television are turned off. The group sponsor may elect to allow students to pay for movies at the front desk, but the student must be accompanied by an adult. Local phone calls made from the room are paid for by that room’s occupants.

7. Hotel rules need to be made and ultimately enforced by teachers. This includes curfews (which are usually set at 11 p.m.), room assignments, and room-to-room calling.

8. If a security person is retained for this class trip, then this person will meet the group sponsor to be apprised of the rules and implementation.

9. If problems occur on the class trip and a tour escort is unable to solve them, the educational travel company should be contacted directly.

My educational travel company provides a list of preparation tips for class trips prior to departure. I recommend teachers copy this list and give the written tips to the students that are traveling.

If students and parents are made aware of these class trip suggestions, the majority will follow these requests. Wherever their destination may be, we feel these guidelines help create a safe and enjoyable class trip.

Email info@educationaltravelconsultants.com for more information on class trips to a desired destination, or take five minutes to fill out our online form and Request a Quote today.