AP classes should take field trips after exams
April 13, 2011
Filed under Opinion
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After the AP exams, there isn’t, with the exception of a final exam project, much left to do in AP classes. With only a month left of school, it seems as if teachers struggle to fill class time and often just assign projects or play movies. But something teachers haven’t been able to do is organize field trips.
The administration doesn’t allow field trips after April 30. However, trips for AP students should be allowed after students take the exam in early May.
Field trips are an enjoyable and interesting way to reinforce classroom material through hands-on learning. Students in history classes can take advantage of the several historic landmarks in Washinton D.C. Visiting places like the monuments and history museums would be great field trips for AP history students as the content there is more interactive than the classroom. The Natural History Museum would provide a similar option for students in AP science courses because of the museum’s exhibitions ancient and modern species.
In the past, after AP exams, many classes watch movies or television shows, some of which don’t even relate to the subject. AP Psychology teacher Andrew Sonnabend has his students analyze the movies and TV shows they watch from a psychological standpoint and his AP Comparative Politics class analyze a country not studied earlier in the year. Sonnabend also has his comparative politics students participate in “Battle of the Sexes,” a trivia competition which includes questions about topics taught in the course and in pop culture. As fun as these activities may be, the correlation to the course is minimal. A field trip to one of the 174 embassies in Washington, D.C., for example, would provide an inside look to another country’s politics. A field trip is a productive alternative to an activity that has no direct relationship to the class.
Some people fear that allowing AP classes to take field trips after the exam would take time away from students’ other non-AP courses that still need to finish covering material. Between senior exams and HSAs there is little time left in the school year, assistant principal Kathy McHale said. Yet non-AP classes don’t end until the final exams in June, two and a half weeks after the AP exams end. This provides plenty of time for teachers to teach the remainder of material. If students are missing class due to field trips, they can go in during lunch or after school to make up any missed assignments or get the notes in the same way they would if they have an excused absence.
Field trips aren’t the only activity to keep students engaged in AP courses after AP exams, but they do provide a break from the stream of irrelevant filler activities.