Planning field trips can be a royal pain and involves lots of work. However, last week when I took my students on a field trip to the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College, I was reminded of why teachers take the time to plan field trips.
Here is a picture of our amazing guide, Fred. Fred literally got down on all fours - and convinced 8 of my 10 seventh and eighth graders to do the same - to demonstrate how a mammoth might get stuck in mud when searching for food. Fred covered everything from Pangaea to how fossils are formed to explaining extinction. He was animated, expressive, and at their level without treating them like little kids. Come to find out later that he was a middle school science teacher....Ohhhhhh, now I get it! Thanks Fred!! You were awesome!
We left school at 9 AM, and walked over to Amherst College, about a 20 minute walk. It was a mild day, almost 70 degrees - not at all a typical November day; the students made sure to walk through leaves whenever they could. Our guide greeted us at the closed museum. My pre-practicum teacher met us there. After emailing with me, I could tell Fred had clearly done his homework by preparing for the right grade and for a group of ELL students. They were amazed to see the tiny horse to the left - a little bigger than a large cat! One of my students filmed the entire tour, she was so excited about it. I am pretty certain she made her parents watch the whole thing over the weekend.
After our tour, we went on the look at the fossils and extinct animals to the gems. The students were amazed to see gold and diamonds, thought the diamonds were not as shiny as one student expected.
Since it was so nice out and we had lots of time, I took the class up to the Amherst College quad. They sat in the Adirondack chairs, they ran and jumped and took pictures of each other. Here is one student looking our at the mountain range - the same mountains seen in the painting in the first picture above.