2017-2018 Academic Class Trips

May 02, 2018

Rancho Solano is known for taking its curriculum on the road. Our academic class trips provide hands-on learning to support what students are studying inside the classrooms. Students look forward to each year's adventure and savor the memories of the trips they've taken!

11th and 12th Grade – Vancouver, Canada 

The juniors and seniors spent their trip week in Vancouver, Canada. As all of the students attending were IB students, we emphasized international mindedness and different perspectives, two core attributes of the IB. Therefore, the students did spend a significant portion of the trip learning about the Salish nation, the indigenous people of British Columbia. This included a First Nations workshop on Grouse Mountain, the tallest peak in Vancouver, a visit to the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, and a tour of the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Aside from these activities, other highlights of the trip included whale watching off Vancouver Island (they did manage to see a baby orca!), snowshoe hiking on Grouse Mountain, and exploring the British Columbian rainforest at the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

9th and 10th Grade – Chicago, Illinois 

The ninth and tenth grade students spent a cold and exciting week in Chicago. The participants stayed in a Hostel, which helped promote community and bonding within the group as seven to eight students shared a dorm together.  The students started the trip with an elegant dinner on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building followed by horse-drawn carriage rides through the city.  They continued the next day with a short presentation at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and a viewing of the Money Museum.   Afterward, the group was asked to step outside of their comfort zone as they stepped onto the ledge of the 103rd floor of the Willis (Sears) Tower, which was a glass box overhanging the streets below.   After a short shopping spree on Chicago’s world famous Magnificent Mile, they headed to see the Chicago Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field.  Wednesday and Thursday consisted of viewing the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Navy Pier, and the Museum of Science and Industry.   An improv comedy sketch show and Tony Award winning musical “Memphis” were also part of the experience.  On Friday, students were led on a two-hour Segway tour of the lakefront and spent time at Millennium Park where the famous Cloudgate or “The Bean” is located.  After working together on a team-building and logical problem solving activity in an escape room, the students headed back to the airport for the trip home to Phoenix.

This is the first year that the Upper School has participated in class trips at the same time as the Middle School, and it couldn’t have gone any better.  The students were able to experience a different way of life and participate in educational and fun activities outside of the classroom. These are invaluable experiences that the students will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Education doesn’t start and stop when students enter a school building.  Education should be something we all seek every day to help us become better human beings. 

8th Grade – Santa Catalina Island, California

Our eighth grade students had the opportunity to go on the annual voyage to Santa Catalina Island where they focused on marine science at Campus by the Sea. They investigated the relationships of living things in their environments and studied the ocean first-hand through multiple snorkeling trips and kayaking.  The students conducted squid and shark dissections and hiked throughout the week in a fun and engaging learning environment.  They researched and recorded information to gain an understanding of marine life on Catalina and were introduced to marine biology or oceanography as possible career options. They created lasting memories and became closer as a class by enjoying downtime playing volleyball, basketball, swimming, ping pong, or even just sitting around the campfire singing. 

7th Grade – Washington, D.C.

The seventh graders had the opportunity of visiting our nation’s Capital and the trip was extremely successful. On the trip, students visited various memorials, the Capitol building, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Smithsonian Museums including the new African American History Museum. The students also had guest speakers discuss the music of West Africa and the roles of the griots. During their visit to the Library of Congress, students visited the offices of the Veterans’ History Project, where they submitted their interviews with veterans to become part of the Library’s permanent collection, where our students are now primary source contributors. The seventh grade also had fun seeing the performance of Shear Madness and going to an escape room. It is important for students to visit historical sites to get a real life perspective on our country’s history. As one student wrote in their journal, “I love seeing and experiencing important people from our past and being able to hear their story.”

6th Grade – Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming

The sixth graders took the annual trip to the Teton Science School in Jackson, Wyoming, where they spent the week learning about the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, how to understand the environment they live in, teamwork skills, stewardship, and understanding how water ecology shapes the ecosystem of an area. There were many highlights of the week, but some of the major activities included snowshoeing in the Grand Teton National Park, completing a high ropes course challenge, planting willow trees as a stewardship project to help restore the environment, and culminating the week with a field research project. The students created their own hypotheses on what the water ecology in Jackson would look like vs. in the wilderness, and then collected samples to test their hypotheses and presented their findings to their fellow peers. It was an exciting trip and a great experience, and the Teton Science School is excited to see next year’s 6th grade class! 

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