Because of today’s state of the economy, schools throughout the country are slashing budgets. As a result, many school programs are either cutting school trips altogether or only allowing trips that are inexpensive and/or close to home. Teachers are being asked to sharpen their pencils to find destinations that are both affordable and educational.
Enter Washington DC and the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland. Student group travel to the Washington DC area is not only educational, but economical as well. You as a teacher can give your students a real and vivid life education on American government, its three branches and how a bill is created or defeated. Or they can study American history, natural history, the world wars and more at the many outstanding Smithsonian museums as well as the surrounding historical sites, memorials and monuments. Furthermore, many of the architectural landmarks in the nation’s capitol commemorate important chapters in American history. Here’s the best part though. The only thing more impressive than the sheer diversity of museums in Washington DC is that most of them are free!
Want to add a special touch to your class trip? Then you and your class should include the surrounding areas around Washington DC, including Fairfax County, Virginia and Greenbelt, Maryland, on your itinerary.
Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington, is situated along the Potomac River just 16 miles south of Washington DC in Fairfax County, Virginia. For more than 40 years, George Washington, our first President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the American forces during the Revolutionary War, called this home. Today, students can visit the mansion, plantation, George Washington’s tomb, a working blacksmith shop and a pioneer farmer site. A class trip to this historical site gives students both an emotional and physical connection to life in the late 1700’s.
If your student group desires to study science, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland demonstrates the innovative and exciting work in Earth science, astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary science, communication and technology development. Students can browse the unique, informative exhibits, learn about climate change, climb inside a Gemini space capsule, view photographs taken from the Hubble Space Telescope, or participate in one of the monthly model rocket launches. Student tour groups gain a deeper level of insight into space exploration, the universe and high tech devices while visiting the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
Overall, a teacher who really wants to make the most of this type of class trip can start his/her lesson plan weeks in advance and cater it to the trip itself. Then, while on the trip, the teacher can point out important landmarks, monuments, etc. that were previously covered in the lesson plan, thus creating direct experiences that brings the classroom to life. A class trip to Washington DC, including the surrounding areas of Virginia and Maryland, is truly both educational and affordable. You as a teacher will create memories within your students that will last a lifetime.