By Randy Julian
One of the most popular types of trips we help plan at Julian Tours is the celebratory eighth-grade trip.
We’ve put together enough of these trips that we have a few ideas on what works well. This post and the others in the series (click here to see all five posts) provide details on what we think are our best ideas.
The proposed trips we have listed combine education and fun, and while they could work for students in 4th through 10th grades, I think they’d work especially well for 8th graders, who:
• have been studying U.S. government this year
• are ready (along with their teachers) for a field trip to celebrate the end of middle school.
Each post will also include a suggested lunch spot for your group, and a related fact you may not have known.
I hope you enjoy the series and please leave questions and feedback in the comments.
The launching point for the series is ‘Constitutional D.C.’ — ideas for an 8th grade trip to Washington DC that focus on the nation’s foundational documents, because what city is better when it comes to that than D.C.?
Washington, of course, is an easy day trip for schools in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Pick two or three of the venues listed below and you’re sure to have an fascinating and enriching trip.
Home to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and much more. There are hands-on activities and programs available as well as a short educational film at the McGowan Theater.
An important note, though: The Archives Museum requires school groups to make (free) reservations before visiting, and those reservation slots fill up quickly. You — or your tour operator — need to act now to get a reservation this school year.
There are no guided tours of the Supreme Court building, but groups are encouraged to explore on their own and take advantage of the other learning opportunities at the Court. There are courtroom lectures — unless Court is in session — every hour on the half-hour, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., as well as a visitors’ film and other exhibitions.
The author of the Declaration of Independence is honored at this iconic memorial. Enough said.
The memorial honoring this lesser-known Founding Father is a short walk from the Jefferson Memorial. Why visit? It’s well-positioned near the scenic Tidal Basin, and Mason was a key figure behind the Bill of Rights. He authored the Virginia Declaration of Rights (a model for the national Bill of Rights) and refused to sign the U.S. Constitution because it did not contain a similar bill.
There are several good food courts in D.C. — the Reagan Building has one, for instance — but the best move on an 8th grade Washington trip is to enjoy an on-the-go box lunch so you can stretch your D.C. touring time.
Did You Know?
The National Archives Museum also holds the 1297 copy of the Magna Carta, signed by Edward I of England, and the Emancipation Proclamation.
As always, I’d be happy to answer questions or read your feedback in the comments. And as mentioned above, I’m extremely interested in hearing your response to this question:
What’s the best 8th grade trip (or trip for any grade) that you’ve taken, and why?
All the best,