This year our Year 5 class seems to be out of the classroom a lot more than last year. And I will be the first to admit that when we agree to a '2 in 1 trip form' that I have my doubts. It's not due to the extra paperwork by any means but rather I think of the time we spend travelling back and forth from the school to our destinations and back and how that is eliminating time for learning.
But does that matter? Is the learning the students gain in shorter amounts of time through experiencing something just as valuable (if not more) than the daily teaching in the classroom? What is really does, is bring the learning that happens inside the classroom to life.
We have been studying buildings and structures in our class for the last 4 weeks. Our field trip consisted of taking a bumboat ride beginning in the Clarke Quay area of Singapore followed by touring the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
We lucked out with beautiful weather (which always makes a boat ride better, especially compared to last year's attempt to do this trip). The bumboat ride not only had audio to provide the history of Singapore and the buildings we were seeing but also allowed for students to really make their own connections between Singapore past and present. It always amazes me when I hear my students talking to each other in a way they wouldn't have done just a few weeks before. The students engaged in conversations about aesthetics, materials, the balance of natural vs. manmade, structural design principles - all things we had inquired into while in the classroom. The difference was now they were putting it into a real-life context
After lunch in the park, the students went to the Urban Redevelopment Authority where they were able to see miniature models of the entire country and the buildings right before their eyes. They were able to interact with the displays and learn about balancing the needs of the people when constructing a city. They saw blueprints and multiple models of buildings. These are all things they were being asked to do in their summative task and they had some of the best examples that were real-life examples that they could learn from.
And so even though I will always have a small bought of hesitation going out for yet another trip, it quickly fades knowing the real-life experiences we can provide our students are often more powerful than the lessons within 4 walls. Thank goodness for this... because we have another trip on Thursday and we're off to camp for 3 days next week.