The transition to middle school is full of opportunities for learners to take on new freedoms, including excursions off campus. One hallmark of the new Acton middle school program is the “Adventure Van”—a 15-passenger Ford Transit for off-campus excursions and adventures.
Two weeks after the Acton Middle School launched in the spring, learners had already gone on a walking tour of the National Mall and used the Adventure Van for a trip to the National Arboretum.
For the first excursion, learners took the lead on a scavenger hunt on the National Mall. Using a map, they followed clues that took them down Pennsylvania Ave toward the White House and over to the National Mall, where they visited the Smithsonian Gardens, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial. At each stop, learners were given a clause from the middle school studio contract. In total, the learners walked five and a half miles on this excursion!
The second excursion was to the National Arboretum—one of the learners adapted her field trip proposal from a past writer’s workshop. Trip planning involved mapping out a route, creating a schedule, and planning activities. Learners made a playlist for the van ride, packed a picnic lunch, and organized group games. They enjoyed seeing the National Capitol Columns and the herb garden at the arboretum.