Pennsylvania is the birthplace of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It is the historic home of diverse communities of people, from Native Americans to the Amish. Numerous museums, science centers, nature trails and other educational opportunities are available. Homeschooling parents and teachers have plenty of options for field trips for their fifth-grade students.
It may be tough to get fifth-graders excited about history, but if they get to see a piece of living history, you might be able to bring them around. At the Independence National Historic Park, students can see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, the site where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Students can learn about the history of the nation and how the famous crack formed in the Liberty Bell. At Valley Forge, students can learn more about the War for Independence. Exhibits include replicas of officers' quarters, archeological finds and significant books and letters.
Some sites in Pennsylvania offer fifth-graders the chance to learn how people lived in other times. Naeskahoni Town in Black Lick is a replica of life during the French and Indian War. Each building includes hands-on activities that help students learn about the Eastern Woodland people and life during that time. In Lancaster County, students can learn how the Amish are living in what seems to be another time -- without technology and other modern inventions. Students can tour the Amish Village to get a glimpse of traditional Amish life, including the one-room schoolhouse, blacksmith shop and displays of handmade items such as quilts and apple butter. Tours are available for school groups, which can include special demonstrations by request.
Nature and Science
From museums to conservation areas, Pennsylvania offers fifth-graders plenty of opportunities to learn about nature and science. The Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia includes exhibits on the dinosaurs, butterflies and birds of paradise. Live animal exhibits and demonstrations can make the visit both fun and educational. The Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh lets students explore space and scientific concepts through hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Space and laser shows bring the solar system to life. In Harrisburg, the Whitaker Center includes three floors of hands-on exhibits exploring the weather, space and scientific phenomena. Kids can also conduct experiments, watch a live science theater performance or watch a 3D medical show in the IMAX theater.
Arts and Museums
Pennsylvania is home to some well-known museums, giving fifth-graders the opportunity to learn about famous artists and art history. The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh features more than 35,000 works of art from paintings to sculpture to architectural casts. Departments include contemporary art, architecture and photography. If the works at the Carnegie Museum don't interest students, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh will likely make them sit up and take notice. The museum features some famous works from the pop icon, including logos and brands that students are likely to recognize. Outside of the big cities, museums such as the Lancaster Museum of Art feature paintings, drawings, sculptures and other works of art from all over the world while emphasizing local and regional artists.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images