Every year, a highlight on the ASH school calendar is the IB science trip to the island of Texel off the coast of the Netherlands. This three-day trip is a unique experiential learning opportunity focusing on STEM and an important part of the #ASHexperience. It is a chance for IB Science and Computer Science students to work in mixed-subject groups to engage in intensive investigative work and answer a question of their own design through brainstorming, researching and completing experiments in the field and the lab.
The culmination of their efforts is a presentation made to the entire group of students and staff of the work they have done and what they have learned. Even if the weather doesn’t cooperate and decides to rain solidly for the whole three days like it did this year, it is always a memorable trip, both for the students completing their investigations and coursework and also for the teachers.
The Texel field trip has been running for many years at ASH and it started, in part, thanks to the efforts of the late Paul Terry, an ASH biology teacher, who was beloved by his students, colleagues and community. Two other crucial drivers behind the trip were Tom Kelley, a former ASH chemistry teacher, and Jim Tissel, former ASH physics teacher - the "founding fathers" of the Texel trip as it is known today. Tom recently said about the trip, the “goal to provide a unique experience for students to glimpse what science is, and how difficult it is to really “know” something in a fascinating world of innumerable variables. These students learned to trust and help each other and cooperate. They taught us how expecting the best of them helped them achieve more than they or their teachers could imagine. My best moments of teaching were learning from these students.”
Each year, after their trip to Texel, our IB science students reflect on what they experienced and learned. Click here
to read a full trip reflection by Journalism Club Editor-in-Chief Natasha F. Below follow student impressions of the highlights and observations:
“This project was a great experience overall, and most importantly, it shows students how to perform actual field research…”
“I learned about how difficult it is to control variables and how difficult it is to overcome confounding variables during a project. Working together for an interdisciplinary project was very interesting but it made it more difficult to come up with an overarching question that could be studied from several scientific perspectives.”
“It was a very fun trip—more than I thought it was going to be– where I was able to actually understand what it is like to work as a scientist in a field.”
“Working together with my team was enjoyable and I formed better bonds with the members in my group. The presentation was also nice to have because it was nice to see that all the research and data actually led to something that we could present to everyone.”
The Texel trip occupies more than just a moment in time for ASH students, we recently posted on our Alumni Facebook page and received a great number of comments, full of fond memories of the trip and Mr. Terry from past students and staff:
“This was the day I fell in love with science and conquered my nemesis. Thanks to Mr. Terry and the whole experience.” - Vaibhav A.
“My favorite time of the year, five times in a row!! Miss it every year since!!” - Chris D.
“This was the best trip! Missing Mr. Terry!” - Ashley G.
“I always loved the presentations and the arguments over methods and data analysis. Real science.” - Tom K.
This annual trip continues to be a memorable experience for our current ASH students and for many that have come before them. A big thank you to the team who makes this possible every year, the #ASHexperience wouldn’t be the same without experiential learning trips like this.