Field trip educates CCA students on importance of Black History Month

Students learned about African-American influence in U.S. culture and history.

The sound of rain against the sidewalk emanated from the rainstick while the maracas rattled to the beat. The African drums also complimented the other band parts to create a lively rhythm.

On the eve of Black History Month, CCA students attended a field trip to the African American Museum in Philadelphia.

The tour led students in grades K-5 throughout the African American Museum’s new exhibit, “Audacious Freedom.” 

“What does freedom mean to you?” asked Alicia, a tour guide at the museum. 

“To be free,” one CCA student said.

“To choose your own rules,” another student said.

During the interactive tour, CCA students were able to take on the role of Harriet Tubman leading the metaphorical Underground Railroad. Students crouched low and spoke in hushed voices, emulating the obstacles that African-Americans escaping slavery had to face. 

CCA allows students to attend one paid field trip per month, but students can attend an unlimited number of free field trips, as long as there is enough space to accommodate them. CCA offers more than 500 field trips across Pennsylvania and students can attend field trips in any part of the state.

The line of CCA students inched forward up the museum’s ramp and continued to explore the “Audacious Freedom” exhibit where they found interactive videos of African-American trailblazers that were particularly formative to Philadelphia’s history. Frederick Douglass, William Still, Henry Box Brown, Harriet Tubman and John Brown were among the names of the African-American revolutionaries that the museum showcased.

Ashley Dawson, a family involvement coordinator at CCA, said that one of her favorite aspects of CCA is when families become regulars on field trips in her region. Family involvement coordinators help plan field trips and oversee family mentors at CCA. 

Talia, a CCA fourth-grader, said that her favorite subject taught at CCA is history, so she was particularly engaged with this field trip. Talia especially loves attending field trips with her best friend, Emily, whom she met during a previous CCA field trip.

The social aspect of the field trips are just as impactful as the learning itself.

“It's a bonding time for them to build those relationships as well as educational,” said Ashley.

Students were introduced to instruments from various African cultures during the museum’s “Learning Through the Arts” workshop. CCA students had the opportunity to learn how to play the instruments, ranging from the maraca to the conga. The workshop concluded with an interactive drum circle where each CCA student added a different beat to the mix.

This field trip took place in preparation of Black History Month reminding students of the importance of African-Americans in music and history. CCA fosters an environment that allows students to be bold in pursuing their educational objectives and career aspirations. 

“I have seen those kids in the year that I have been in the field. They will respond. They are confident in what they have learned in the classroom and bring it back to the field trip,” Ashley said. “They dig and they keep digging until they get the answer.”


Commonwealth Charter Academy


February 21, 2018


Learning Lab

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