By R. Brady
“Woah!” whispered the crowd as the tour guide clicked off the lights, allowing the model airplane in front of us to be illuminated. A toy-sized jet floated in water while thin luminescent streams of liquid traveled quickly towards the model. The crowd gasped again as the liquids collided with the jet, sending the incandescent light streams off in different directions. As time passed, the streams formed patterns along the jet, and a mixture of all the liquids collected behind the model. Our tour guide smiled at our looks of amazement. “And that’s how we model wind currents,” he said. “Now who is ready for the wind tunnels?”
A few weeks ago, our school visited the NASA’s Ames Research Center as a field trip for our physics class. All of the students in the physics class visited multiple wind tunnels, including the largest wind tunnel in the world, a reproduction of an air traffic control center, which showed simulations of an airport, and more. The trip left an impact on the class, and recollections of the field trip have come up many times in following classes. Not only was the trip entertaining and enjoyable, but it was also educational and left a lasting impression on the students.
Throughout my experiences in school, I have noticed that the amount of field trips for older students diminishes each year. Though I have been on some trips that students pay for, such as an unforgettable trip to Ashland, Oregon, it is very rare that the entire grade or class takes a field trip together. The trip to NASA’s Ames Research Center was the first grade-wide field trip I’d been on in a while, and it was refreshing to have that experience again.
Field trips are a chance for students of any grade to learn and have experiences that they might not have otherwise. On that field trip, the participants bonded as a grade, learned valuable information, and visited unforgettable historic places. I will never forget first stepping into the world’s largest wind tunnel and taking in the vast space around me. And the memory of the tour guide showing us real panoramas of Mars taken by drones will always stay in my mind. The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will have a lasting impact on the participants. I hope that schools will encourage more of these remarkable field trips in my future years of high school.