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Educational Field Trips Near Memphis, Tennessee, for the Fifth Grade

by Anne Reynolds

Fifth grade is the year many students emerge physically from their cocoon of childhood, growing into adolescent butterflies. These young learners are ready to discover how plant and animal life materializes, as well as the role arts play in influencing cultural and historical movements. Many Memphis centers offer field trip programs that meet state academic standards for fifth-graders. Plan to spend a day outside the classroom reinforcing many concepts learned in school.

Searching Through Science

Two popular Memphis institutions welcome inquisitive fifth grade science minds. At Agricenter International, students wander through farm fields learning which necessary elements help local plants such as cotton and soybeans thrive. Freddie the Fish takes kids on a journey exploring the destructive power of water pollution and how it kills both fish and wildlife. Memphis Botanic Gardens teaches students about plants’ medicinal purpose, as well as the nutrients gleaned from including vegetables in their daily diet. Students explore rain forest inhabitants and learn that modern day magnolias and moss are ancient plants that grew alongside the dinosaurs.

Making Music

Since Memphis was home to Elvis Presley, one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, it seems fitting a field trip to Gibson Guitar Factory should be on any music teacher’s wish list. Gibson’s 45-minute tour provides students with an in-depth look at the intricacies of manufacturing guitars from start to finish. Smithsonian Institution founded Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum giving students a historical perspective of the beginnings of soul and rock music. Many teachers take advantage of Sound Education lesson plans in their music curriculum, and the museum exhibits showcase musical legends' Memphis roots.

Honoring History

As fifth-graders examine Memphis’ history, a field trip to the Cotton Museum gives students a better understanding of how cotton formed the city’s economy and why Memphis evolved as Tennessee’s largest slave-trading city. While the slave trading industry smeared Memphis’ name, stories of courageous men such as Jacob Burkle, who opened his home to help runaway slaves gain freedom on the banks of the Mississippi River, are unveiled in Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. The life and death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to life at the National Civil Rights Museum located on-site where Dr. King was assassinated in 1968.

Early Exploration

Mississippi River Museum, located in Mud Island River Park, helps students hunt for answers to questions about the Mississippi River’s history and geology. Learners put acquired map reading skills to use while investigating the strategic role the Mississippi played in the Civil War. The University of Memphis hosts student tours at Chucalissa Nash Museum. Explore how Native Americans were the first settlers in the area 10,000 years ago, producing musical and sports traditions including drumming and spear throwing.

About the Author

Anne Reynolds is a writer who has worked for the U.S. government, the public school system and as a public library specialist. She began writing in 1990 and has contributed articles to various online publications.

Photo Credits

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