On Thursday, February 2nd 6th and 7th grade headed to Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, for an overnight field trip. The two-day field trip was packed with educational fun. “The students learned all kinds of things, from history to government to personal responsibility,” said lower school math teacher Larisa Levin who coordinated the field trip.
Their trip started off at the old capitol building, where they did a scavenger hunt and got to pose as Supreme Court justices, wearing robes and holding props like fake mustaches and gavels. They then walked a few blocks to the Museum of Florida History, where they saw exhibits ranging from a real mastodon skeleton to Naval Ships of Florida and even poetry in the jazz age.
Their favorite part, however, was an area called “Grandma’s Attic”, not a part of the museum but in the same building, where an older woman called “grandma” told them stories about all of the things in her attic. These things included old rocking horses, turn-of-the-century children’s toys, and dress up clothes.
After the museum, the group made their way to the Mission San Luis De Apalachee, a Spanish Franciscan mission built in 1633 in the Florida Panhandle, two miles west of the present-day Florida Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Florida. There they visited the council house, a thatched conical building which served as the city hall, ceremonial center, and lodge for the more than 1,500 Apalachee residents at Mission San Luis. They also visited the Hispanic Village, where they saw the blacksmith working to make nails by hand.
After checking in at their hotel, they ate dinner at the FSU dining hall, an opportunity loved by many students. “They felt like real college students,”said Mrs. Levin. Dinner was followed by a showing of the movie National Parks Adventure at the Challenger Learning Center’s IMAX dome.
On Friday, February 3rd, everyone headed to the new state capitol building. There they took a guided tour that stopped at the house and senate chambers and ended at the observatory on the 22nd floor.
“The kids loved that,” Mrs. Levin said. “These are Florida kids, so even though it was foggy, being able to see that far was a really unique experience for them.” The senate wasn’t in session, but they still got to sit in the chambers and find out what it was like to be a part of Florida’s government.
After leaving the capital, they stopped at Wakulla Springs and took a boat ride down the river. They saw many different Florida native species, everything from birds to fish to snakes and even several alligators! They also learned about early 20th century Florida architecture by exploring the Lodge at Wakulla Springs, a palatial hotel on the river built in 1937 by industrialist Edward Ball.
“There was so much they learned on this trip,” said Mrs. Levin. “They learned real world thinking, anything from knowing to stay with the group, to keeping track of your things, and how to do things for themselves without their parents around. They also learned lots of Florida history as well as social studies and government. And of course as a math teacher, I was glad they learned to deal with money and budgeting. Did they want to buy that candy or did they want to save their money for the gift shop? It was a great practical lesson.”