Whatever you may feel about current American politics, there is no doubt of the importance of the government of the United States in any discussion about world politics. For many students, a residential trip to Washington, DC is an inspiring experience that will bring the facts and figures of your classroom alive. |
For those studying politics, there is so much to see and do in the Capital that a four-day residential trip will be laden with interesting discoveries, fascinating insights and informative facts. Here are my suggestions for the key sights to see over your four days.
The National Mall
The National Mall, which spans from the steps of the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, is peppered with national monuments and museums – there are so many, in fact, that exploring all of them could easily take you four days! If you’re on a tight schedule, however, your students will love seeing the iconic structures that are familiar from news reports and feature films. From the Washington Monument to the US Capitol building to the regal Lincoln Memorial, a walk here allows you to see the history and politics of the nation written in stone.
Memorials to History
The National Mall has some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, immortalising America’s momentous past. A stroll for your class through the capital’s memorials is like flicking through the pages of American history. Students can explore:
• The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial • The Korean War Veterans Memorial • The Thomas Jefferson Memorial • The Vietnam Veterans Memorial • The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial • The World War II Memorial • The Washington Monument • The Lincoln Memorial
These beautiful tributes to key moments and people in the nation’s history will give your students an insight into the politics that formed modern-day America.
A Visit to US Capitol
Probably one of the most iconic buildings in the world, the Capitol is the building that houses the American House of Representatives and the Senate. It is hard for students not to be impressed by the structure and what it represents. During your residential trip, take a visit to the Visitor Galleries to watch Congress in session, which will allow your pupils to watch the laws of a country being debated and made.
Other highlights at the Capitol include a tour, which provides a brief history of American politics before exploring the building itself.
A trip to Washington wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Smithsonian Institute’s various museums. Before you leave school, it’s worth discussing with your students which exhibitions they are particularly interested in, as subjects range from ‘Air and Space’ to ‘National History’.
A must-visit for politics students amongst the Smithsonian museums, however, is the Museum of American History. The museum highlights the progression of the United States from its colonial past right through to its modern position as a world superpower. To make the very most out of your residential trip, it’s worth getting in touch with a specialist educational tour operator. That way you can be sure that all the details – such as museum tickets, tour places and accommodation – are taken care of, leaving you free to inspire your students with facts about America’s past and present politics.
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in residential trip itineraries for school and youth groups to the UK, Europe and beyond. As a father and avid traveller, John is very passionate about providing students with valuable and engaging learning experiences outside of the classroom. By sharing his expert advice with teachers, he allows them to inspire their students and bring their studies to life.
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