Last week, the lower floors of the school were noticeably quieter than usual. While the rest of the school held down the fort at our Red Hook campus, the second graders were on a full-day immersive trip at a New York City icon: The American Museum of Natural History.

I sat with 2nd grade Learning Expert Teacher, Ms. Erika Brinzac, who spearheaded the field trip and actually works part time at the museum, to talk about the experience:

"I felt it was important to go deeper with the science curriculum and add to it. Science is what defines everything so I wanted to bring it to life. We've been learning about vertebrates and invertebrates for a little while now, so it was important for them to see physically and have an emotional reaction to exploring what they're studying. Given the material, it was a great opportunity for that!"

"We explored the rainforest, butterflies, space, dinosaurs, and went to the special exhibit called 'Life at the Limits' which is all about animals that have adaptations that help them survive, like water bears and hammerhead sharks."

"I loved incorporating every subject into the day. It was a full day trip so we wanted to incorporate every subject to make this trip as enhancing as possible. We directed their experience with 'exploration' sheets. We had a scavenger hunt for animals in the rainforest in Mandarin, we drew the butterflies we saw, we sang a song about insects (which seems to have stuck around for way longer than I intended)."

"They got so into it. We did a writing piece about our favorite parts off the exhibit, we incorporated math by weighing ourselves on different celestial bodies and then ordered the bodies by least gravitational pull to most gravitational pull. We even played spider tag to get some exercise in. We sat outside and ate lunch, it was a beautiful day. It was overall a great experience and a nice change of structure of the day for students."

What did the students have to say about the trip? Here is Sanvi's take:

As I wrapped up my conversation with Ms. Brinzac, she shared with me that for some students this trip was their first time exploring this New York City landmark. We're honored to have helped create what is meant to be a wonderful memory for our growing minds!

Thanks to all of the faculty and staff behind making this trip a memorable one for the 2nd grade! (and hearty thank you to Mr. Adler and Ms. Baker for the pictures!) You can also view them on our Facebook page.