TSA Middle School Students Take an ‘Epic Field Trip’
Three weeks ago, the middle school students at The Sharon Academy embarked on an epic field trip—visiting Peru, Guatemala, Tibet, Kenya, Mexico Poland, Ghana, and the Appalachian region of the U.S.—all in three days.
They were able to accomplish this through a visit to Overlook Farm in Rutland, Mass, a program of Heifer International. Overlook Farm is one of two educational centers for Heifer International, a non-profit organization whose mission is to alleviate world hunger. While there, students stayed in authentically reproduced traditional housing and ate traditional meals for each of those regions.
“The trip to Overlook Farm was a powerful way for our students to learn about hunger and food instability,” said Pam Ward, Head of TSA Middle School. “At Overlook, our students step into a simulation of the lives and conditions of many people around the world to learn about the circumstances that contribute to food insecurity. We also learn about the work Heifer International does to address these challenges.”
The trip is an important part of the food and hunger curriculum unit, a part of TSA Middle School’s innovative integrated curriculum. In this unit, students study nutrition in science class, read literature with food as a central theme (such as “The Good Earth” and “The Hunger Games”), and in social studies, research hunger worldwide (including Vermont).
The middle school’s integrated curriculum allows students to experience their subject matter through the lenses of science, social studies, and language arts simultaneously.
This trip is not only an eye-opener for students, but also offers hope and solutions as they examine food and hunger through the guiding questions of “What are my responsibilities” and “What can I do?”
Later in the year, DHMC gastroenterologist Dr. Brian Lacey will lead students in a discussion of the biology of digestion. Students will also conduct independent research into food, hunger, and nutrition, the results of which will be published in their bi-annual food and hunger newsletter, “Our Times.”
“I learned what it is like for people who have very little, and what it is like to live with so few resources,” said eighth grader Zoe McFadden. “There were times when we were really hungry and it made me appreciate all of the food that we have back at home.”