SAS Middle School Takes on Philadelphia
This past weekend, June 3-5, 22 SAS 7th graders traveled to Philadelphia. As a year-end exploration of topics covered in 7th grade American History, the students visited many historical places. The group, chaperoned by Ms. Patton (social studies), Ms. Chapman (Spanish), and Coach Bahamonde (physical education and health), left for their adventure after school on Friday.
Saturday was the main event for the students, starting with the National Constitution Center. There, students explored constitutional issues of history such as The Civil Rights Movement, The Women’s Rights Movement, Slavery, and equality. Students were able to get involved through interactive exhibits that allowed them to assume the role of a Supreme Court Justice, take the Presidential Oath of Office, and Ask A Senator. In the seasonal Road to the White House exhibit, students were able to follow the campaign trail and hang sticky notes listing what they would do first if they were elected President of the United States. A major hit at the center was Signers Hall, which features life-size bronze statues of the signers of the US Constitution. The students got to see Founding Fathers such as Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton “up close and personal.”
After the National Constitution Center, students walked across the street to see the burial place of Benjamin Franklin. After lunch and some souvenir shopping at the Bourse Building (a historic commodities exchange building from the 1890’s that has been restored to include shops and food stands), students visited the Liberty Bell.
Independence Hall awaited the students next as they took a tour of one of the most important buildings in American History – where both the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution were signed. This tour included visits to the room in which the Constitutional Convention met as well as the building located next door which housed the first US Congress.
From there, the group headed to Reading Terminal Market for dinner, including the chance to get a *real* Philly cheesesteak. After Reading Terminal, the group traveled down Filbert St. to find the Philadelphia Love Statue which is currently located in Dillworth Park. While in the park the students got to see some street entertainers as well – including a soccer ball trick handling demonstration and a small drum corps. From there, it was a trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum to see the Rocky Balboa statue and run up the stairs as he does in the movie. Even after a long day of walking, many of the students made the long trek up the large staircase – laughing the whole time!
Sunday, Valley Forge National Park was on the agenda. The group took the driving tour of the park, stopping at several important sites including the National Arch, George Washington’s Headquarters, and the company cabins. At the cabins, the students met with Camp Follower Jen. Camp Followers were the women and sometimes children that followed the Continental Army and helped with a number of tasks like sewing, cooking, nursing, and other things that were necessary to help the soldiers. She showed the students some Revolutionary Era games and explained how most all game from the time had educational value because most people believed that if you could “trick” children into learning through fun, they would retain the lessons longer. She showed the students a dice game that taught math and a dice game using dice with letters that was similar to Boggle in that you have to make as many words with the letters you have as you can. The students also visited George Washington’s home and headquarters where he stayed during the winter spent at Valley Forge. They also got to see replica cannons and statues or monuments representing the various state militias that were represented in the Continental Army. After hopping on and off the bus for about 90 minutes for the tour and tour stops, it was time for lunch, and then to head home.
Although it was a very long and busy weekend, the students all had a great time, as did the chaperones. They were excited to share their experiences and fun with their family and friends. Many of the students purchased presents for siblings or parents and were excited to share the treasures that they found as well. After a very successful first 7th Grade Philadelphia Field Trip, plans are in the works to make this experience an annual tradition for the 7th graders at the middle school.