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Beyond the Classroom: 5th & 6th Graders Visit Tallahassee

Each year, Middle Division students travel together on multi-day, overnight trips. These trips relate to students’ course of study, expose them to the life skills involved in travel, and give them the opportunity to bond with their peers in an out-of-school setting.

On March 31-April 2, 5th and 6th graders visited Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee. Following are some highlights from their trip.

Mission San Luis, a historic site, is a Spanish and Indian Village, which was settled from 1656 to 1704. There are ongoing excavations, exhibits, special tours, and reconstructions located on the 60-acre park-like site. Students learned and saw first-hand the livelihood and culture of the Spanish and Indians the late 1600s.

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Tallahassee Museum
Set amidst 52 acres of breathtaking Florida flora and fauna, the Tallahassee Museum has served as an iconic Tallahassee landmark for more than 50 years. Ranked as one of Florida’s top museums, the Museum’s living exhibits of native Florida wildlife, nature trails and native gardens are renowned by visitors of all ages. The Museum encourages guests to discover and learn about North Florida’s natural environment, rich history and diverse cultural communities. Students visited the Tallahassee Museum where the programs included: Night Creatures; A Drop in the Bucket; Seminole Survival and facts about the Seminole Indians and the Spanish.

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Visit to the Florida State Old and New Capitol Buildings

Florida’s new Capitol building has a rich ancestry, which began in 1824 with the establishment of Tallahassee as the new capital city. As Florida’s population has continued to grow, so has its need for government services. The New Capitol symbolizes the growth and development of Florida. The Capitol is 22 story building featured behind our students in the below picture. It is home to Florida’s Executive and Legislative branches and students were excited to visit both buildings.

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Academy students demonstrated such good behavior that they were invited to sit in on a Senate Session. It was imperative that silence be kept while in session. Academy students were silent, attentive and respectful. Our students were fortunate to see a live vote and the passing of a budget with pro-active solutions to Florida’s healthcare challenges. While our 5th & 6th graders were in attendance, legislation also was passed to improve Florida State prisons.

Students had the opportunity to debate in the legislature on an issue regarding The Cross Florida Barge Canal.

Students discussed, debated and provided opinions whether Florida should build a man-made waterway across the state. The canal would connect the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. This canal would allow barges to move goods and people more quickly. After a very interesting and well-informed debate in which students offered their opinions about the environment, clean water, and jobs, our group voted against the canal. Had our students been in the legislature in 1961 and voted against the Barge Canal, they would have saved Florida more than $350 million.

CavernsSignFlorida Caverns State Park was the last stop on our trip. This is one of the few state parks with dry (air-filled) caves and is the only state park in Florida to offer cave tours to the public.

The Florida Cavern has dazzling formations of limestone stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, flowstones and draperies.

Sixth grade students have been learning about the formations in their science class and applied what they learned during the cavern adventure. Mrs. Magnusson’s 6th grade girls have a video to share.

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Students also had time for good old fun and participated in community building activities, creating connections with their classmates and teachers at The Challenger Learning Center with an I-MAX movie in 3-D and The Fun Station where they had a choice of three of the following activities: Laser Tag, Bumper Boats, Go Carts, Miniature Golf or GEM Mining.

Academy at the Lakes’ extended trips are excellent examples of how our faculty and staff value the “love of learning” and “joy in the journey.” More than just a fun getaway, extended trips like those to Tallahassee provide students with the opportunity to apply and reinforce what they learn in the classroom.

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