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Group Ben Franklin with Teachers

Seventh Grade Visits Philadelphia

  |   Aaron School, High School, Special Programs

On Thursday, April 4, the seventh grade classes M202 and M206 set off on an overnight trip to Philadelphia! This was their first overnight experience as Aaron School students, and they were all feeling flooded with excitement, curiosity, and a bit of nerves. The group departed from Penn Station on Thursday morning and took the Amtrak train into downtown Philadelphia, then walked to the hotel where they would be spending the night. The first stop was lunch at Reading Terminal Market. There was so much to see, hear, smell, and taste! Most students enjoyed pizza or sandwiches, while many were eager to try the notorious Philly cheesesteak!


After lunch, the group headed to the Betsy Ross House, where they met up with tour guides Alana, Hank, and Rachel. They split into two groups and took tours of the Betsy Ross House, on a mission to find an actual American flag, and identify another object Betsy Ross had made during the Revolutionary War. The flag was easy to spot, located in a bedroom on the second floor. Students learned that the flag was being sewn in the bedroom, rather than in the tailor shop, in order to be kept a secret. On the basement level they found food supplies, water barrels, the kitchen, muskets, and musket cartridges, also secretively being made to support the Revolution.


After touring the Betsy Ross House, the group participated in a “Story Stroll,” listening to tales about William Penn and religious tolerance, James Forten and freedom, Caroline LeCount and equality, and Susan B. Anthony and taking a stand. They visited the Arch Street Meeting House, a Quaker Meeting House, where students learned about the practices, beliefs, and worship of Quakers, who are still active in Pennsylvania, along with other parts of the world, today. The last stop on the tour was the Liberty Bell, where seventh graders took pictures, asked questions, and learned about the iconic crack.


Exhausted and filled with newly absorbed historical knowledge, the group made their way to the hotel and appreciated some down time before walking to dinner across the street. They enjoyed a dinner of burgers, chicken strips, and quesadillas, in their own private room, which gave them the opportunity to socialize and reflect on all of the events of the day.


The following day, Friday, April 5, students woke up at the hotel and enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast. After their meal, they walked to the Franklin Institute, a well-known, interactive museum in the heart of Philadelphia. They visited rooms such as the SportsZone, where they timed themselves racing on a track against a peer, jumped to reach the highest basketball, and practiced their balance while surfing; the Giant Heart, where they crawled through a dimly-lit pathway in an enlarged “artery” in the heart; Sir Isaac’s Loft, where they made themselves dizzy with optical illusions, tested their strength with pulley systems, and discovered chain reactions; the Space Command, where they explored gravity and the phases of the moon; and the Amazing Machine, where they used cranes, screws, and levers, and carefully built mazes of dominoes.


After a trip filled with history, exploration, new experiences, and lots of laughs, the seventh graders enjoyed one last meal together before boarding the Amtrak train back to New York. With them they took even more enhanced and developed friendships, gift shop souvenirs, lots of pictures, a little more independence, and memories to last a lifetime. Middle School teachers are so proud and impressed with the seventh grade students for their bravery, maturity, and positive outlooks that remained active throughout the trip!