7th Grade Field Trip
Students in 7th Grade had an opportunity to step back in time and learn about our nation’s roots at Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Yorktown, and Jamestown Settlement. After only a short 6 hour drive, the students began their journey in the past aboard a ferry ride to Jamestown Settlement. Most students exclaimed, “This was our first ride on a ferry. Pretty cool…pretty cool!”
After spending the afternoon discovering how the early settlers to the New World survived amidst a hostile climate, and strained relations with the indigenous peoples, the students checked into the famous Fort MacGruder Hotel…itself a site of an historic battle during America’s fight for independence from England. Later that evening, the fun really revved up with a Walking Ghost Tour of Colonial Williamsburg. “You have to see the pictures I took!!” one student said. “You can see actual images in the pictures!!” On the return ride to the hotel, the students could not stop talking about the stories of the supernatural that are clearly integral to such an historic site.
The next day, the students were given an opportunity to tour Colonial Williamsburg sans the ghost stories! What they discovered was a fully functional colonial village with shops selling items made much the same way they were back in the 1600’s. A tour through the Governor’s Mansion gave students an inside look at life without modern conveniences and technology. “I didn’t see a single phone or even a television!!” As was explained to this student by a chaperone, “Well…duh!!”
After spending a few hours on the campus of the second oldest University in the New World, William and Mary, students were clearly impressed with how beautiful the old buildings were, and even enjoyed a scavenger hunt to locate historic sites on campus. All of this was followed by an experience with “The Freshman 15 curse!!” That is, the students got to eat their share and then some in one of William and Mary’s dining halls.
After an evening of eating pizza and listening to music at the hotel, students were tucked in for the evening awaiting their final day and visit to Historic Yorktown. Upon their arrival the next day, the students were given a tour of the newly built museum, and the reproduction of a Revolutionary War battle field complete with soldier’s tents and an actual working farm. “Life had to be tough for these people. Sleeping on mattresses filled with straw and dirt…no way!” A sentiment shared by many of the students.
For those students and chaperones fortunate enough to make this journey, what they discovered is that History cannot only be learned in a classroom from a book. With incredible places such as Colonial Williamsburg, history can be experienced on a much more personal level…and thus,
take on a deeper and more relatable meaning. As for the ghosts that surround all of these historic sites…perhaps their stories will serve as a reminder to these students that history is as much a part of our present as it is our past!
7th Social Studies
Sun Valley Middle School