Experiential Learning is an important component of a Congressional education, and students in Preschool – Grade 8 participate in field trips, and hands-on activities that enhance their learning experience. Last year, students participated in more than 50 off-campus experiential learning activities, visiting educational sites near and far from school.
The Washington, D.C. area is rich with culture and history, and Congressional’s teachers take advantage of our school’s proximity to these resources. For example, to enhance their study of Spanish, students visited the GALA Theater in Washington D.C. to bring the classic work of Miguel de Cervantes to life. Sixth Grade students visited Lincoln’s Cottage and the US Solders’ National Cemetery to explore multiple perspectives on key issues faced by President Lincoln and to understand his decision-making process.
In addition to visiting the many well-known galleries, museums theaters, and parks in the area, students take trips to many of the smaller educational venues, for example; Second Graders gained real-life experiences to enhance their study of habitats during a visit to Hidden Pond Nature Center in Springfield, Virginia. Fourth Graders visited a local grocery store to put their math skills into action, and students in Junior Kindergarten visited a local farmers’ market to culminate a unit of study about farms and agriculture.
Field trips are not limited to local day-trips however. Our Eighth Graders enjoy an annual two-day trip to Williamsburg and Jamestown in the fall, and in the spring they venture to Monticello. Seventh Grade students traveled to the heart of the Chesapeake Bay for a three-day, two-night experiential learning expedition to learn about the 64,000 mile watershed, the issues facing it and the work that is being done to restore and protect it.
In the spring, Congressional Fifth Grade students participate in a two-part overnight field trip in Sharpsburg, Maryland, including a visit to Antietam National Battlefield, complementing their study of the key battle in the Civil War. During the same trip, the students venture to Shepherd’s Spring for an overnight Global Gateway experience led by Heifer International.