Today our students in eighth grade took a trip to the anthracite coal mine in Lackawanna, Pennsylvania. It’s a very interesting trip. Students get to travel down into the coal mine on the same cars that the coal miners used to travel 300 feet down into the earth from 1860 to 1966.
It is an interesting trip for our students because they are learning about the early industrial age in our country in social studies. The Essential Elements of Standards Focused Middle Level Schools and Programs, the New York State Policy on Middle Level Education, states that classroom instruction at the middle level should “use a range of successful, researched based teaching strategies that involve students in learning, encouraging them to contribute to the learning and experiences, to make choices, to explore, to question, to experience, to learn, to grow, to develop social, interpersonal and leadership skills in addition to academic proficiency.” Field trips such as these help our students experience life as it existed during the period they study. It was not only fun but students learned a great deal.
I accompanied the students who went to Lackawanna last week. A highlight of the trip for me was when we were down in the coal mine, our guide turned off all the lights. It was amazing to consider that coal miners worked in such darkness for nine or 10 hours every single day. Children as young as six years old were in those mines working. I could not have gained this insight by reading about it in a book. I know the students had a lot of fun, but they gained an experience that will enhance their knowledge of history in innumerable ways.
You can read more about Lackawanna at the website: