The Big Trip of Spring, 2019!

The big trip is a trip toward the end of the year that the 5th/6th pay for with the pizza money we made throughout the year. Instead of adults planning the big trip, the kids plan it! The group makes agreements on where to go and then we break into planning groups. Our groups were: where staying, food, activities, and transportation.

The “where staying” group looked at houses and hotels, and decided where we were going to stay and where would be best for the group. The food group decided where we were going to eat and agreed on places that were both affordable and were large enough. The activities group decided what activities we were going to be doing while we were on our trip, and which activities related to our study the most. Finally, the transportation group decided what route we would take, how much the tolls would cost, and the route that seemed reasonable to try to avoid as much traffic as possible.

How we came to a budget agreement is by looking at how much money we made over three pizza sales and averaging to see how much we make each sale. Next, we estimated how much we would make before the big trip. Then we come to a reasonable agreement (a little less than our prediction) on our budget.

For planning, we first split up into the four groups mentioned above: food, transportation, activities and where we were going to stay. After we got some work done, we switched groups. There were another four groups, but two were new groups. The groups were now: itinerary, packing, eating, and transportation. The packing group decided what each individual should pack and what the group should pack, and the itinerary group planned the schedule for our group and what activity we were doing at what time.

Where and when we went on our big trip this spring is a hard subject. It takes lots of time to figure out where to go. The decision needs to match interest, money, what we are learning about, and distance. This year we decided to go to Cape Cod because of our study, which was colonization/decolonization.

Another large factor was weather, since we started planning for this trip in late January, and you can’t look at weather months ahead. Just in case the weather didn’t play out the way we wanted it to, we had a backup plan to make it a win-win situation. For example, since we planned to go whale watching, we knew that it would be very windy. Rain or not, we brought coats for the boat.

When to go was just as hard to figure out, since it had to match with twenty-one people’s schedules. After lots of tough weeks, we decided to go from the 15th to the 17th of May. After all the stress-y planning, we had a very successful and fun adventure!

Van groups for the big trip are the group of people you travel with in the van. The teachers make the van groups by balancing 5th and 6th graders. They are the same for the drive up and back.

Sarah’s van: Before we left, we had to get to school at 6:15 in the morning. It took about seven hours to get to our destination and around nine hours to get back on the last day. There were a lot of rest stops because some people drank too much water and they needed to use the bathroom. On the van ride to Massachusetts, that van group listened to a lot of music, and everyone got really close. Before we left Massachusetts, the van group made a playlist on Spotify so we could just listen to that, instead of people deciding on a song and having to look it up on YouTube, which takes a lot longer than making a playlist. 

Diane’s van: We listened to music for most of the time. 

Van rides are really fun. You get a lot closer to the people that are in your van, you can also get a lot of sleep if people LET you sleep. Try not to do anything annoying or mean. Try not to be loud, because the driver is trying to concentrate, and if you make a lot of noise, it’s hard to focus on the road. Thank you!

The 18 students and three adults on Diane and Sarah’s class trip stayed and slept in a house somewhere in the middle of Falmouth. The house was huge to the excited children. They spent the first three hours there, exploring the house and the yard and all the cool stuff that there was to do. There were major sleeping arrangement issues that were never really solved and never will be. However, everyone was happy when we found out that the house had seven flat screen televisions on which we ended up watching two long movies. During the stay, the whole class also had a game night, where everyone played cards until the sun went down. But there’s more to this.

When we first arrived at the house, We had to play until the teachers could decide what our sleeping arrangements would be. Personally, I didn’t know how choosing rooms among the girls would work. It was pretty obvious that the boys and girls would be separated, though. The girls had looked at the house before, on Vrbo, and we all knew which rooms we wanted. When the teachers called us in, they toured the boys’ side first, and the boys got the highly favored bunk-beds. All the girls were pretty disappointed, as the boys got their own bathroom and some really nice space. Still, we ended up with some nice space and two balconies. The boys and the girls each got a hang-out space.

It turned out that in that first arrangement, the boys and girls would be in rooms on the same floor. The girls really wanted the bunks, and eventually the teachers changed the sleeping arrangements {ed. to allow the girls a distinct floor of the house}.  We were a bit disappointed to find out that the boys would get the rest of the house. We had our own bathroom and four double size bunk-beds. The ladders on the bunks didn’t work well, so we had to climb up the fronts, which wasn’t too hard.They had both the hang-out rooms, two TVs and both balconies. Lots of girls were complaining. Some girls made rude remarks, and  others reacted. That night we started to watch “The Incredibles 2,” but the girls left half way through and tried to have a good time. We succeeded, even if some girls called their basement area “a dirt hole.” On the last night, we had officially named our space “the dirt hole,” because we loved the space now, and we’d miss it. It was our inside joke, and we said goodbye to the dirt hole at least ten times.    

Our advice is not to get really excited or attached to a room or a bed, because you may have to move. Don’t get mad at people for taking the room you wanted or you were planning to stay in, because you don’t want to to be mad at someone for several days or even one day. Be flexible and open; consider hotels and houses. 

On the big trip, Plimoth Plantation was the first stop (besides bathroom stops). The group chose Plimoth Plantation due to their current study, colonization. (The big trip should have at least one main thing to connect to the group’s past or current study.)

When the group first got to Plimoth, we were invited to watch a short film about the backstory to Plimoth and an introduction to the areas we could explore. During our time there we learned about colonizer’s pottery, Wampanoag headdresses, and much more. Plimoth Plantation is a recreation of the Wampanoag villages and colonizer’s homes. In most of the recreated homes, there’s information about them or people in them, and they will usually tell you about themselves and what they do, did do, or what their ancestors did. Some of the people at Plimoth Plantation still practice their ancestors’ religion and/or practices. We were at Plimoth Plantation for about three and a half hours until we moved on about with the rest of our trip.  

On Thursday, May 16 after breakfast, we went on a whale watch with a company called Hyannis Whale Watchers. There were about 150 people on the boat, so it was fairly crowded. We saw several different kinds of whales, including minke whales, humpback whales, and finback whales. We were out on the water for around four hours.

After the whale watch, we went over to a mini golf course. At the mini golf course we got ice cream and played mini golf. Some groups played mini golf, and some of the groups just hung out and didn’t play mini golf, but overall I think everybody had a great time.  

All the activities were very fun, although we have some advice to future planners in order to make their activities just as fun. The biggest thing is plan safe and fun activities that everyone will enjoy, not just the activities the planning group likes. Have different options. It is okay to have a lot of activities, but don’t overbook it. Make sure there is time at the house, too. If you have any worries while at an activity, try to forget about them because they won’t do any good in your head. If the activity is not the most safe but not too unsafe, make sure you keep yourself safe. No one wants to go to a hospital. At anytime on the trip, it is best for everyone if you don’t use dirty language and are nice to everyone. That might also mean stay out of drama, don’t start it, and make new friends. Our last tip is don’t stress too much — relax and enjoy the big trip!       

When you’re on the big trip, you need to know we are going to eat well beforehand. We had a planning group work out places to eat close to where we were. On Wednesday, we came to school with breakfast already eaten and a packed lunch for that day’s lunch. That night we went to the Chapoquoit Grill for dinner. The next morning we went shopping and had breakfast at the house. That included things like: eggs, fruit, bacon, and pastries. On Thursday afternoon, the group split we had one big midday meal at either a Thai place called Bangkok Kitchen or an Italian place called Palio’s Pizza. We split into two vans and chose were we wanted to eat. Then we had ice cream in the evening. On Friday, we went to breakfast at Percy’s Place before heading out. For our dinner, we were going to go to Panera Bread, but it was out of our way, so we ate at a rest stop, with choices like Subway, Panda Express, Moe’s, McDonald’s, and more.

Overall, we ate pretty well on the big trip, but it was not perfect. So here is some advice about eating on the big trip that the group came up with:

  • Don’t be worried about eating. There will be things that everybody likes.
  • Try not to go to a really expensive restaurant, because you’ll end up spending more money and you most likely won’t have any money leftover.
  • Lots of people love fast food, but some people don’t like fast food and would rather go to a fancier place with better options for them.
  • You might want to get water, because it’s free and you can save up all your money for the end and get something extra if you want.
  • Make sure that you keep vegetarians, dairy-free and vegan people in mind when picking restaurants.
  • Take care of yourself. Don’t eat junk food and candy the whole trip. Eat healthy — like sometimes get a salad with your pizza — and don’t get candy every time you see it. If you want to get some, don’t get lots and lots of it.
  • Try to put lots of different kinds of food on the list (for example: Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and so forth).
  • Have different options. For example, one afternoon for lunch we had the option of going to a pizza place or a Thai place.
  • Last but not least, don’t be stressed. Everything will turn out fine and you will have soooooooo much fun, you won’t even care if it’s not the best food you have had. All that matters is that you are having a good time.

Our group has come up with some advice for handling money during the big trip. Handling money can sometimes be hard, so having people who have done this before give some tips on it can be very helpful!

  • Don’t spend all of your money on candy.
  • Be responsible with your money. 
  • Spend your money wisely.
  • Be sure to keep your money in something safe.
  • Be conservative about your money.
  • Keep your money in mind while buying things.
  • Be aware of your spending, but don’t stress too much about it.