Summer Vacation: Virtual Tours
Middle school students are using The Food Network’s, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, as their inspiration for a summer of virtual tours. The virtual tour, a learning strategy developed by middle school teachers, Ms. Lynn Pinto, Ms. Erin Natoli, and Ms. Laura Jaarsma, incorporates core curriculum content into lessons.The lessons bring real life concepts into the classroom for learning math, geography, social studies, current events, as well as the skills for planning and problem solving. Last spring, when the students showed great interest in the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the teachers seized this opportunity to motivate students to learn core curriculum standards in math, science, geography, and social studies by planning a trip, to London to “attend” the wedding. Thus the school’s first virtual tour took shape.
The students enjoyed “traveling” to England so much that they wanted to visit other places. What better way to teach facts such as state birds, state history, historical sites, and people, than to use the states’ most popular food selections as the central theme of the tours? The show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, is a favorite of the middle school students. They made pastrami on rye from New York City and pulled pork sandwiches when going to the Carolinas along with dishes from other regions of the United States.
Students used SMART boards to help plan their trips and learn about the interesting facts of each state. Last spring, this experiential virtual tour lesson earned P.G. Chambers School a prestigious “Innovations in Special Education Award”, from The School Boards Association and ASAH.