Do students with dyslexia or other language-based learning differences really learn better with field trips? At Sophia Academy, we say Yes! We have smart students who can take apart a bike and put it back together again blindfolded but who struggle to make meaning from text. They are right-brained, good at manipulating visual-spatial data, instead of left-brained. Unfortunately, most schooling demands left-brained tasks like handling temporal data.
Because we believe that students should get practice in integrating information through both hemispheres of the brain, students at Sophia Academy take frequent field trips to solidify their learning.
When studying medieval history, 9th graders traveled to a local labyrinth to practice walking the maze as if they were medieval monks. Our study of romanesque and gothic architecture took us to some of the finest examples of this style of building in the Philadelphia area. Since it is not enough to learn plate tectonics or the rock cycle from a book, our latest field trip took us to the Wissahickon Valley for a hike through geologic time. Students climbed on some of the oldest rock on earth (Baltimore Gneiss), inspected garnets trapped in rock, felt the difference between talc and surrounding magnetite, identified rock folds and outcrops, and were thrilled to find out that dynamite is used to quarry huge blocks of granite. Using their bodies and their hands to make sense of geology, students will better remember lessons on plate tectonics, rocks, and weathering.