St. Mary's An IB World School

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Field Studies


The World is Your Classroom

A student can read about the Italian Renaissance or watch a video about the ocean, but it does not have the same impact as seeing the sculptures and paintings in Italy or enjoying the marvels at an aquarium. Our unique Field Studies program integrates academic content areas into a realistic approach to learning beyond the classroom environment. Through one-day field trips or weeklong field studies, students experience learning among a natural setting, reinforcing the concepts taught in the classroom. This program offers distinctive opportunities for observation, research and interaction all within native settings. Field studies build responsible and cooperative learning that occurs in real-world situations to provide academic enhancement while creating cultural awareness amidst historic and educational settings.

Grade 4: Sacramento, Californiagroup at the Gold Bug Mine

Students embark on a field study to Sacramento, our State Capital, to reinforce the IB unit of inquiry “How We Organize Ourselves.” The central idea looks into natural resources, boomtowns, the discovery of precious minerals and the effect on the area and the people.  Students visit the Capitol Building, Sutter’s Fort, the California State Railroad Museum, and other historic sites, including a chance to explore mines of the Mother Lode and the original gold discovery site in Coloma.

Sacramento Field Study - February 25-28, 2019

Grade 5: Astro Camp in Idyllwild, California Kids in the pool building

Students spend three days at Astro Camp focusing on various astronomy and physical science including rocketry, rock climbing, microgravity snorkeling and many other team building activities.  The experience is designed to sharpen student interest in the scientific study of the universe and directly connects with the IB Unit of Inquiry on Space and Exploration.

Astro Camp Field Study - November  5-7, 2018

Grade 6: Catalina Environmental Leadership Program in Catalina Island, California   

Kids at Catalina

Each fall, St. Mary’s sixth-grade students attend a four-day field study at Santa Catalina Island to close an IB Unit of Inquiry investigation into oceans. The journey to Howlands Landing with Catalina Environmental Leadership Program allows students opportunities for marine and terrestrial field research. Rich program offerings like marine snorkeling, kayaking, investigating tide pools, hiking, researching in a kelp lab and composting help foster environmental stewardship, peer relationships, and self-confidence. 

Catalina Island Field Study - October 8-11, 2018

Grade 7: Yosemite National Park grade 7 group photo in Yosemite

Students spend a week experiencing the dramatic landscapes of Yosemite National Park under the guidance of the Nature Bridge at Yosemite Program.  They explore the valley floor, wander through meadows, and challenge themselves to reach the tops of waterfalls.  In the process, connections are made across the curriculum including Life Science and Ecology, Cultural History, Literature, Current Environmental Issues, Art, and Physical Endurance. 

Yosemite Field Study - October 8-12, 2018

Grade 8: Williamsburg, Virginia and Washington, D.C. kids on steps of Jefferson Memorial

Students explore the earliest roots of our nation as they follow a historic trail from Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia to Washington, D.C. This trip presents a fascinating look at how America developed as a nation and ties into several units of inquiry as well as subject matter ranging from math to history to politics. 

Williamsburg & Washington DC Field Study - December 1-6, 2018



Grades 4-8: New York City Field Study The Met

Students accompanied by a parent chaperone travel to the Big Apple to experience multiple cultural venues including the Frick Collection, the Guggenheim Museum— where student take apart in a hands-on workshop relevant to current featured exhibitions— and the Metropolitan Museum of Art where students visit galleries that highlight IB units of inquiry. Performing arts experiences include a night at Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, contemporary dance or traditional ballet as well as a Broadway show. Students also enjoy multicultural dining experiences, such as Sofrito, the Russian Tea Room, Café Un-Deux-Trois and Café Fierello. Travelers navigate the city on foot and by the subway and the bus systems.

 Grades 4-8 New York City - February 27-March 3, 2019