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AP classes should take field trips after exams

By Lauren Levy

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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.


4 Responses to “AP classes should take field trips after exams”

  1. Irrelevant on April 14th, 2011 12:43 am

    And where would the funding for such a mass exodus of AP students going on field trips come from? It’s not like Montgomery County is swimming in money at the moment. It’s more of a drought.
    Students could pay, yes, but it also costs money to hire substitute teachers, which usually is charged to the school. And what about those students who don’t want to go on the field trips?
    Let’s all spend hundreds of dollars paying to go on field trips every day for the rest of the year! This is Whitman, we can afford it and also propose it without even considering the costs!
    Even if it isn’t every day of the year (which it certainly wouldn’t be), the result would be the same: teachers will continue to “seem to struggle to fill class time.” Just not all the days. Nonarticle?

  2. Lauren Levy on April 28th, 2011 10:54 am

    Students pay entirely for the cost of the field trip (transportation, admission, etc.). MCPS doesn’t pay for the students.

  3. A. Geek on May 1st, 2011 9:10 pm

    This article fails to address the core question: Why are AP exams so early in the semester? That’s the problem that needs fixing.

  4. Student on May 18th, 2011 11:46 am

    We were promised a field trip to the National Institutes of Health for AP Biology. It never happened. I am furious.

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AP classes should take field trips after exams