Last week our class went on an overnight field trip to Washington, D.C.. We went to many interesting places, and did many exciting things, but my favorite was going on a bike tour of many important monuments. At the beginning of the tour, we saw the Eisenhower building, and we learned that the man who built it didn’t even get paid because many people said it was the ugliest building ever made. We also learned that when people say they work at the White House, 90% of them actually work there, in the Eisenhower building. We also visited the Washington Monument, as well as the memorials for Jefferson, FDR, and Martin Luther King Junior. Each memorial had a different style, as it was designed so that the person it was honoring would have appreciated it. For example, Thomas Jefferson loved rotundas, so the architects of his memorial decided to incorporate one in the design. Another interesting thing about Jefferson’s memorial is that the statue of him is staring at the statue of his lifelong enemy, Alexander Hamilton. After visiting MLK’s memorial, we biked to the famed Lincoln memorial and to the Vietnam and Korean War memorials. I believe that biking is a great way to explore these monuments as it takes less time and is less tiresome than traveling to each monument on foot. If you aren’t tired, you will be able to better appreciate each monument.
Thursday morning we all met at the train station with our bags stuffed so much the zippers almost broke. Why? We were headed to New York City to see STOMP (an off broadway show where they make music with household objects), tour the New York Supreme Court, and tour NBC Studios. When we arrived in New York we went to the Supreme Court where a man who worked there explained how the court systems work. Next, he led us into a room where we got to watch a real criminal trial!
After that, we went and got lunch, and then we went to our hotel. That night, we saw STOMP. It was truly amazing! My favorite part was when they made an entire song out of clicking lighters. It was dark in the theater so all you could see was each tiny flame lighting up and then going out. The next day we had breakfast at a diner where the waiters and waitresses sing classic songs while you eat. It was really amazing. After breakfast we went to NBC Studios for our tour. We got to see sets of many different popular TV shows and even created our own talk show! In all, this trip was just fascinating, and I hope to do something like it again in the future.
On Monday we went on a field trip for art class to the Fonthill Castle and Tileworks. There we got to learn how handmade ceramics/tiles are made. First, the Tileworks gets a shipment of clay every September. Before they can start making the actual tiles they have to make the molds. Once the molds are made, they take clay and push it into the mold. It sits for a few minutes, and when it is ready, they take it out of the mold. They then take a tool to round the edges so that they are smooth when they come out of the kiln. Next, the clay goes in the kiln, and when it comes out, it is painted and glazed. After it is painted and glazed, it goes into the kiln one last time. When it comes out, you have your tile! This field trip was very informative and exciting, and I would love to go back someday.
We have been working with this organization called Special Spaces to design a bedroom for a girl with cerebral palsy. We have been running fundraisers to get money so that we can buy furniture for her bedroom and bathroom. So far, we have raised more than $1000! We will make her bedroom comfortable and cozy, and we are going to decorate it in the style of Shabby Chic, as that is the style she likes. We are going to give her a lounge area with enough room for both her and one of her friends to sit. I cannot wait to design her room.
Last Wednesday we went on a field trip to the Mütter Museum for science. One of the exhibits that really caught my attention was a woman’s body that had basically turned to soap. When she was first discovered, people thought that she had turned to stone. Upon further inspection, it was discovered that instead her fat had turned to soap. Soap is made out of fats, and when she died, her body fat turned into soap, and she was named the Soap Lady. After we looked around the museum we went to a class where we learned how to tell human skeletons apart. Caucasian and European skulls have sunglass shaped eyeholes, whereas African American skulls have square ones. We also learned how to find the gender from the skull. Male skulls have knookles, or dents, in the back of the skull which you can see on a bald man’s head. In all, this field trip was a great learning experience, and most of us really enjoyed it.
We recently went on a field trip to New York. There we visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. We saw the “footprints” of the old twin towers, along with the two new towers. Inside the museum we saw photos of the first responders who helped find people after the attack. We learned that only one column had survived the attack and that it was the last column still standing. That column became a memorial and was a place for family of the people who died in the attacks to honor them. It is now in the 9/11 museum. We also saw a huge wall filled with squares of painted blue paper. We learned that each square represents a single person that died as a result of 9/11. We saw a few other artifacts in the museum too. Something that I have learned from this experience is the importance of a memorial because we have to remember what happened that day and the days that followed it.
We have just finished learning about the three branches of government. We were each assigned one or two partners and a branch of government. My group was assigned the Executive branch, and after some research, we started to brainstorm ideas for our presentation. Two groups did an iMovie, and my group did a puppet show. After each group presented, we were sent a google doc that had information about each branch. We were supposed to study the document so that we would be ready for the test in two days. I learned that the president’s cabinet is part of the Executive branch along with everyone inside it. I also learned that the Executive branch is in charge of implementing and enforcing laws. In all, this was a really fun and educational project.
We have been participating in the Stock Market Game. The Stock Market Game allows students from different schools to perform trades in the stock market. Each school competes against both students of their age, and students who are younger and older than they are. This game is great for schools because it helps students learn the value of money and how to make smart trades in the stock market. The game gives each team $100,000 in imaginary money to start, and when the competition is over, the top five teams with the most money get to go to Washington DC. We had a financial advisor come into our class to teach us about the stock market so that we knew the different kinds of shares you can buy such as a mutual fund or a stock. He also taught us what was a safe buy and what was a risky buy. In all, this game is a great way for us to learn about the stock market.
Yesterday we went to a Hamilton and Jefferson debate. There, Hamilton and Jefferson acted as if they really were the real Hamilton and Jefferson. They answered questions as the real Hamilton and Jefferson would have. I think the most interesting part of the whole debate was when they got to the subject of the interpretation of the word necessary. Hamilton believed that an object was “necessary” if it made something useful. However, Jefferson thought that an object is only necessary if you absolutely need it to do something. In all, the debate was really fun to watch.