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The City Journals

Field Trips Give Jordan Ridge Students Firsthand Experiences

Nov 06, 2015 11:11AM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama

Jordan Ridge Elementary students are getting the opportunity to experience what they are learning through field trips, Principal Cathy Anderson said.

“Our school field trips are more than going on a bus to see something and have fun,” Anderson said. “Each of them relates to our core curriculum set by the state and throughout the year, the teachers relate their learning to the field trip.”

Anderson said that third-graders, who learn about the ocean as part of their curriculum, recently went to the Living Planet Aquarium, while fourth-graders, who are assigned to understand Utah history, went to This is the Place Heritage Park where they experienced “living breathing history.”

“By the end of the day, we want students to make the connections between what they read and write in science to what they learn and observe at the aquarium with sharks, fish and tide pools. The same with fourth-graders understanding Utah history so when they read about Utah pioneers and write about it, they’ll have a better appreciation for it. And in the spring, when they present it in a program with square dancing and singing, it will bring it full circle,” she said.

The school’s Parent-Teacher Association holds an annual jog-a-thon at the beginning of the school year to pay for each grade’s field trips. Teachers must outline the field trips and show how they tie into the core, Anderson said.

Third-grade teacher Leslie Probert said that at the aquarium, teachers were able to reinforce their science curriculum such as gravity controlling tides and the ocean’s ecosystems.

“The students love to go and get the hands-on learning to what they’re reading in their core,” Probert said. 

Afterward, Probert had her class write in journals, where not only did they say how they loved the shark tunnel, penguins, otters and touching sting rays and sea stars, but they described the experience. One student wrote, “The stingrays felt gooey and the starfish felt hard — way opposite.” 

Probert said through the field trip, it gives students a better understanding.

“It’s a better-quality experience in learning. They wouldn’t experience this from reading a book,” she said.

Fourth-grade teacher Alison Richins said the field trip to This is the Place Heritage Park ties into the core curriculum of when the pioneers came to Utah.

“We had the students experience four different opportunities so they could see the sacrifices of early pioneers when coming to the Salt Lake valley,” she said.

Students learned about the early settlement by riding a train around the park and seeing a number of homes and businesses. They also learned about mountain man life, which was common in settling the land. Then, students went to the pioneer school and learned about handcarts that helped pioneers bring their supplies across the plains and mountains.

Fourth-grader Dane Knudsen said that he tried the handcart.

“The cart weighs 75 pounds so once they loaded it up, it was 400 pounds,” he said. “I liked it best, but we needed six people to push it.”

Classmate Calli Coleman liked attending school.

“I liked going to school where we learned the rules and if you didn’t, you wore the hat of shame,” she said.

Fourth-grader Abby Homer added that students learned on slates and knew the Deseret alphabet — and if kids misbehaved, there was more discipline than today.

“I think it would be cool to live then,” Abby said in spite of knowing she wouldn’t have modern day luxuries and technology. “It’s more interesting than now.”

Richins said that when the class reflects back on Utah history and pioneer life, she will refer back to the field trip.

“It’s just a wonderful experience and it’s appreciated that they give us school discounts for our students so they can have this opportunity to learn first hand,” she said.