Virtual Class Trips Allow for Student Exploration



Washington, D.C. and the Washington Monument during the Cherry Blossom Festival. “Washington, DC – Cherry Blossom Festival” by PeterPanFan is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Donte Clyde, Staff Reporter

WTMS students participated in a virtual class trips held at home on Wednesday May 19, 2021, that allowed them to experience travel that was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think it was good and informative,” said eighth grader Mina Gabehart.” I do wish we were in person but obviously because of COVID-19 we had restrictions.”

To plan the day, advisers Ms. Donohue for 7th grade and Ms. Stallard for eighth grade first researched different links to museums that best fit students’ interests. They then organized the day with 7th grade’s trip lasting one period while 8th grade’s lasted an entire day. Donohue and Stallard sent this information to teachers ahead of time, asking them to practice beforehand so the visits would run smoothly. Lastly, teachers had to present the museums through a zoom meeting or Google meet.

“I got to learn a lot of new things, so it was very informative,” reported Gabehart,”but sometimes there were Internet connectivity issues or sites shut down.”

7th graders viewed “The Giant Ocean Tank Encounter”, the largest exhibit at the New England Aquarium that consists of 200.000 gallons of water. The aquarium has eels, Sea turtles, fish, and stingrays which students learned about during 2nd period. Students were allowed to ask questions of aquarium staff in real-time over Zoom to ensure they learned more about what interested them.

“I feel like the aquarium we viewed virtually was a short experience but fun,” said 7th grader Roman Duckett. “We got the opportunity to ask questions and learn new things.”

8th graders toured Washington, DC through links from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum during ELA, the capitol during social studies, Arlington National Cemetery during gym, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture during Math, and The Air and Space Museum during science. The all-day experience was organized depending on students’ class period order, and each teacher decided how to present the information.

“We didn’t necessarily need to be out of the house to see what was in DC,” said eighth grader Jordyn Barr. “You could go to multiple spots in a matter of minutes which is really cool. If I went to DC, I wouldn’t have seen everything I did that day.”

The overall reviews from students are good. 7th graders are happy they could have a learning experience about animals. 8th graders are happy they got to see more things virtually than they would’ve seen in person. In addition, students reported that it was nice to have a time that was a clear break from their normal classes.

“I’m happy that she did that [planned the virtual trip],” said eighth grader Savien Higgs, “because it gave us a chance to do something that was cancelled and let us go see Washington DC without ever leaving our houses.”