Students learn about the port

Staff writer
November 2, 2012 01:00 AM

Photo caption: Madeira Park Elementary staff took four grades and nearly 60 students on a field trip to the Port of Vancouver on Sept. 26.

How do you get students excited to be back in the classroom at the start of a new school year? Barry Krangle, Madeira Park Elementary School's new principal, along with his staff, wanted to kick off the first term with an ambitious field trip that also launched a long-term social studies project involving nearly the whole school.

At the end of September, four grades from 3 to 6 - nearly 60 kids and their teachers - went to the Port of Vancouver. The Port was chosen for an extended experience because it incorporates multiple aspects of the social studies curriculum for all four grades.

The trip began with a quick stop at Ambleside to talk about the geography of Burrard Inlet. Next the students went to Coal Harbour, where they boarded an authentic paddle wheeler for a tour of Vancouver's Harbour. They finished their afternoon with a bike ride around Stanley Park's seawall.

Krangle believes deeply in extended experience in school.

"It enriches the classroom with first-hand experience and develops teamwork," he said.

One of the highlights of the trip for the students was seeing boats of all shapes and sizes -such as a huge cruise ship and a container ship transporting too many containers to count. The experience was especially meaningful because they could compare the vast Port of Vancouver with Madeira Park's modest local marina, which they had visited on a walking tour only the week before.

Krangle's own favourite moment happened in Stanley Park.

"I loved biking around the seawall, looking behind me and seeing everyone - the kids and the staff - with big smiles on their faces," he said. "And you should have seen people stop, stare and wave when they saw us with 55 students in tow. It was a great experience for everyone."

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