The National Mall is an Educational Treasure

  • Educational travel doesn’t have to mean flying to the Galapagos Islands or Europe. It can be in your own backyard or just a short flight away to the National Mall in Washington D.C.

    Perhaps one of the best educational travel experiences you can have as a teacher in terms of documenting America’s cultural heritage is a visit to the National Mall.

    National Mall as a teaching tool

    For a teacher, walking along the National Mall and moving from monument to monument and memorial to memorial is an experience that melds information and inspiration within the teacher/learner process. What you learn from the experience can be taken back to the classroom. It Is also a vital tool when it comes to making the case for a student field trip.

    Just about one mile long and 400 feet across, the National Mall contains an amazing number of sites, including the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the National World War II Memorial, The Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the FDR Memorial and the Capitol Reflecting Pool. It is flanked by blocks of museums including the Smithsonian, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Holocaust Museum, to name just some.

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    Take a camera and be prepared to document the experience.

    The National Mall as an exploratory process

    For inquisitive teachers with an interest in the cultural heritage of the United States the exploratory process of the National Mall sites is invaluable. And for the curious teacher — the life-long learner — research leads to both questions and answers.

    The idea is of educational travel is to relate and document thoughts and feelings. Educational Travel is not only about reflection and education, but thinking about how it applies to students in the present day. The anniversary of D-Day was June 6. There was recently a summit in Singapore between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. The Mall is a teaching tool.

    Visiting and investigating the National Mall as a teacher will give you a better appreciation of the knowledge and inspiration that the national treasures offer. At the locale itself, question what it means to you and why it deserves additional study in your classroom. Touring the site and becoming engrossed in the process becomes the true national treasure.

    Take selfies at the seven sites and the Lincoln Reflecting Pool. Ask yourself what inspired you the most and think about the significance of the sites you chose. Take photos (without you) and take notes.

    The National Mall as educational travel

    When you return from the National Mall you will hopefully be inspired. Not only does educational travel provide fodder for lesson planning, but it is a heck of a way to create a presentation that might convince your school’s PTA to shell out funding for a student field trip.

    Many teachers have made the successful argument that travel, when planned properly, is a far superior experience for the student than just studying material in the classroom.

    Learn how to embrace and enjoy such an experience.