Students at San Fernando Valley recently went on a cross-curricular field study tour. Led by teachers Debbie Baroi, Frank Crosgrove and Joel Kindrick, the entire school took four days of visiting local museums and other locales to learn science, math, English, history and P.E.
Day one found the students getting in touch with local animal history by attending the Natural History Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. They also visited the California Science Center where they could watch and try physics and chemistry experiments. Watching the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon in the IMAX theater set up the next day’s adventure.
On day two the school went to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA, where the students saw actual Apollo 11 equipment. History was the name of the subject this day. There was a lot to see in the Nixon Library. They saw the president’s birth home to his current resting place and all the important historical events in between. Then they were off to Independence Hall at Knott’s Berry Farm. Here the resident historian told us about the inception of the Declaration of Independence. They then were able to experience a drama of the founding fathers and their debate leading to the signing of this important document. Next they headed to San Pedro to visit the USS Iowa. Here experienced military docents led us on a tour of the ship and taught us about its history and its many military adventures.
Day three took us to the Japanese-American Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Here the students learned about the Japanese-American experience in the United States. The Japanese-Americans’ experience during World War II was sobering for the students. It was exciting when the archivist pulled out a copy of history teacher Joel Kindrick’s master’s thesis to proudly show the students. From there it is just a hop skip and a jump to go to Los Angeles’ birthplace, Olvera Street. From the first fire station to the oldest adobe building, they experienced what the Spaniards must have felt and seen when they first entered this area. Then it was off to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. Another sad time in our earth’s history was studied as the students saw the evil that took place during that conflict.
Day four brought us to Simi Valley, CA, to witness the Veterans’ Day ceremony at the Reagan Library. The students also had an opportunity to explore this museum with all its artifacts, culminating in the impressive Air Force One that is housed there. Next was an exciting place for physical education credit—a place called Dojo Boom in Thousand Oaks, CA. This place is full of trampolines, climbing walls and American-Ninja-Warrior type climbing equipment
As fun as the activities were, all the students still had work to do and were given worksheets they had to answer and pictures they had to take to turn in what they learned. They were sent to the teachers to be recorded for their grades. These also opened opportunities to talk about what they had observed during the day. They are looking forward to the spring cross-cultural field study where the plan is to go north and visit sites pertinent to American author like John Steinbeck, Jack London, John Muir and Mark Twain.
–By Joel Kindrick