Saturday, September 17, 2011

7th Grade PBL Field Trip to the Estuary!

On Friday September 16, 2011 the entire 7th grade class at D.A.T.A. took part in a cross-curricular Project-Based Learning field trip to the Ventura Estuary.  Our trek began at 9:00am as 18 teams of 10 students each led by a chaperone walked the bike trail to the river's end to the estuary at Ventura Beach.  Along the way, students took part in a Language Arts activity writing observations of the world around them and making inferences about each observation.  At the beach, students rotated in groups to participate in four additional activities including:  1) Water Testing lab for science (with student-made inventions for getting water from the estuary from their INSIDE Language Arts class), 2) Estuary topographic mapping for math, 3) comparison of America to Roman Empire in strengths and weaknesses for world geography, and 4) a pollution assessment and beach clean-up for community service.  Also, don't forget the P.E. portion--a good 3-mile walk to and from the beach!  Students enjoyed a fun-filled, educational day connecting their activities to the ultimate guiding question:  What factors cause a civilization to fall and how can it be prevented?  This question is the foundation for the Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit that 7th grade teachers at D.A.T.A. are currently collaborating on while teaching the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, community service as a prevention method, water testing as a prevention to contaminated water (wealthy Romans died from lead poisoning from their water pipes), inflation and mapping lessons in math, Roman games in P.E., and even Socratic Seminar in AVID class debating the reasons for why Rome fell.  It's great to be at D.A.T.A.!  Enjoy the eventful photos below:

After the Field Trip, students analyze photos and explain similarities to the Roman Empire in message boards on (our online classroom):

Student water testing data results:

In "The Navigator News" too!

D.A.T.A. students and other community service volunteers later helped paint a mural about water conservancy on the bike path wall leading to the beach!

The D.A.T.A. "Peace and Love Club" is selling T-shirts with the mural icon to help Cheers for Children too!


  1. What great pics Ms. Lukins. Amazing work by all students. They were respectful, engaged and I suspect they had fun too. As we were leaving a man and woman walked by at the estuary and said, "Thanks for bringing the kids out to teach them to love and respect this area." I thought, "Yep, that's what we are about!" Proud moment!

  2. It was so great to see students engaged in all activities and connecting them to their studies in all subject areas. One funny moment was when a student--who was working on her World Geography activity connecting strengths and weaknesses between Rome and America--said to me "Can I write starvation as a similarity since my stomach is growling because I haven't had lunch yet?" Of course, I proceeded to say "Yes, right on! ...And please feel free to eat!"