Fourth grade has amazing field trips. First we went to Dolphin Days at Carpinteria State Beach. We got to go on the beach for ascavenger hunt to make tools to live on an island. We did hands-on activities too like trying to make fire with sticks, sanding wood planks with large shells, assembling a redwood canoe, and separating yucca fibers to make string. In the ocean we saw sea lions, dolphins, and birds. It was a great connection to the book we read, Island of the Blue Dolphins.
Next we traveled to the Santa Barbara Presidio and Mission. The presidio is an old Spanish fort. We got to look inside it and see how they are reconstructing the historic site. We also learned about Saint Barbara and the story behind how she became a saint and why she is considered the saint of electricity. (she got her head chopped off and her dad was struck by lightning) We then went up the hill to the mission where we had lunch, went on a hike to explore the ruins, and toured the inside of the mission itself. The tour included the church, graveyard, and the priests quarters. We learned that Karana, the main character from Island of the Blue Dolphins, was buried on the mission grounds.
Gardens of the world was another field trip we went on. We got to tour the beautiful gardens. Our favorite was the Japanese garden with the beautiful koi pond and waterfalls. We then saw an assembly with a pretend Father Serra who welcomed us to California in the mission courtyard garden. A few of our classmates were chosen to be part of his act. Emily was a girl with a baby who stole chickens to feed her family, Destiny and Ryan were hungry chickens, and Alyssa was Father Serra’s friend Francisco.
We also went to Olivas Adobe as part of our study of the rancho period in California history. We roped Bernardo the fake bull, ground corn into masa, made tortillas, and toured the house. Our favorite part was going barefoot into the adobe mud pit to make adobe bricks. The tortillas were also very delicious. We learned about the Olivas family and were shocked to hear they had 21 kids with no twins. The girls all shared one bedroom while the boys had to sleep out on the porch.
Our last field trip took place on our school campus. We had our gold rush day. First we got to dress up like miners and merchants. We watched the movie Bullwhip Griffin which was based on the novel By the Great Horn Spoon. It was so different from the book, and we all agreed it should be redone. During the movie we ate cornbread muffins, beef jerky, and apple juice. Then we went to do activities led by travelers to California. We wrote letters with a feather pen dipped in ink. After that we washed clothes the old fashioned way. Next we ate sourdough bread and sang some gold rush songs. Finally we got to pan for gold. Caleb found the “chicken nugget”. It was a big nugget. We knew it was just pyrite, but it was still really cool. We had a miner’s lunch with hot dogs, chips, and oatmeal cookies. After that we had a classroom costume contest. It was an awesome experience. We wish we could do it again.
All these field trips were made possible by the fundraising done by the PTA. Thank you to all the parents who organize our fundraisers and to all the families who donate to our PTA. We could not have done these fun activities without you.