Saturday, May 13, 2006

Field Trip!!!!!!!!!!!! Part 2

We arrived at the high school at 6:30 on Thursday morning, pretty much awake. The student population consisted of 14 Seniors, seven boys and seven girls. My help showed up in the form of one of the students parents, thank God. Without her, the trip would have been not happening.
When the decision came around to who was driving with which adult, I managed to get all seven girls. Apparently, the plan was to torment the teacher will types of chick music all the way down and all the way back. So there I was, driving to Larkspur, with seven teenage girls, all singing to the soundtrack of Dirty Dancing that was blasting from the car stereo. I mean, seriously, what can you do? I let the girls have fun, and in turn they kept the fun to being good natured. At one point about an hour in, one girl mentioned embarrassing the teacher with "girl talk", but the others nailed that one shut and it was never a problem.
We arrived at Larkspur right on time and boarded the ferry to San Francisco. Most of the group sat below and had a fun game of cards going, while the couple that had never been on the boat went up top to look around. Sure enough, two of the rookies said they felt wobbly when they got off the ferry. This was enough ammo for the rest of the afternoon in regarding "Ferry Boat Sea Sickness" jokes from the group.

To be perfectly honest, I was a little worried about the scavenger hunt at Pier 39. I wanted a little fun for the kids, but I was worried that it would seem too corny, or that the expensive commercial aspect would bring kids down (I brought extra money if kids needed it for lunch), or that some odd fault to the plan would make the afternoon a day to forget. It went off fabulously! The kids divided up into boys vs. girls and darted off to complete the tasks. It took most of them a good 45 minutes to finish the hunt, which left them about an hour to take in lunch, which they did together. The hunt was great! Kids talked with owners of businesses, snapped pictures, and came away with ideas for Econ Expo (a business model project I do). And of course, they had a lot of fun! The pictures that I got were great!

But the trip was primarily about the Federal Reserve, and I was a little fearful that the FED was going to be second rate to The Wharf. We arrived at the FED a little early, mainly because last time I went, they asked us to get there a little early. Only this time they were running late with multiple tours. We waited in the lobby of the San Francisco Federal Reserve for over 30 minutes. However, the kids sucked up to, listened to IPods, played cards, and were no problem at all. When time came for our tour, the kids were enthused.

The tour went so well that I couldn't stand it! During the teen finance seminar, the students belted out answer after answer about investment and risks. I couldn't help but be so proud. Then the currency exhibit came along and the students were enthralled with the different types of currency, the notes that they've never seen (designs that were artistic, the $100,000 bill), and value of the whole collection. The interactive exhibits kept interest while instructing some of the more basic ideas of the FED. The most interesting were a computer simulation that has you adjust interest rates to help the economy, and a money counterfeiting exhibit. Then the tour of the vault, the money sorting operation, and the counterfeiting rooms were the cherry on the cake of the day. The security (no hats, no hoods, no hands in pockets, constant escort) made them immediately interested. Then the kids watched as millions of dollar were checked and sorted in front of them. Looks at the vault were followed by a comprehensive explanation of how money is examined for wear and forgeries. The kids loved it! The entire two hour FED experience was complete, and a hit!

The ride home was easy and uneventful, except for the horrid traffic. A stop at In & Out Burger solved much of the boredom of traffic, and half the girls in my car slept most of the way home. Upon reflection, every one of the students felt that the price of the trip was well worth it, and nobody had any complaints.

So there it is, my first field trip. I'm actually looking forward to next year, and hopefully getting a full class load. A couple of pieces of advice for field trips (coming from a rookie, mind you):
-It is going to be expensive. Be ready to fork out some of your own money. I ended up having to shell out about $40 to cover costs.
-Prepare for anything. I wasn't ready for seasickness, but thankfully it didn't cause a major problem.
-Boredom is bad. Besides time for food, make sure the little munchkins are busy.
-Food is an amazing mood changer. The students were often a little crabby when they got hungry, and were happy as hell when fed.
-Prepare for anything, again. A student lost her wallet somewhere in the city. The exercise immediately became a lesson in what to do when you lose your wallet. She called her bank, called her credit card company, and bingo, new lesson learned. Thankfully, she moved into a good space later in the afternoon and still had a good time.
-Finally, if you go tour the FED, get Maggie to give you the tour. She is excellent and knows a whole hell of a lot about money.
blog comments powered by Disqus