A trip to the capital

On the morning of the 27 August, our Year 5 and Year 6 students assembled and boarded our coach, which was soon on its way towards Canberra. Our first planned activity was a guided tour of some of the monuments that are placed along Remembrance Drive, that leads from the Australian War Memorial towards Parliament House. The guide from the National Authority introduced our students to the story of several monuments, and especially focused the presentation on the Vietnam monument as its 50th year anniversary was commemorated only a few days earlier. Many students found the inscriptions carved in the monument and the citations written on the wreaths very moving, which set the tone for our visit to the War Memorial later in the day. 
After lunch, in the parklands beside Lake Burley Griffin the group headed past many of the embassies situated in Canberra. Students had already investigated these before heading towards the National Archives Centre and had the opportunity to explore some of the documents and artifacts stored there. Examining historical documents provides a completely new insight to the examination of history, and a simple activity, like a dictation passage gained so much more meaning to the history of The White Australia Policy, when any mistake could mean migrants were refused entry to Australia. 
After the National Archives, the student had the opportunity to view the overall image of the planned city of Canberra from the lookout, at Mount Ainslie, before returning to the Australian War Memorial for a short tour and the Last Post Ceremony. It was very moving to see our students lining the Shrine of Remembrance and our Junior School Captains, Scarlett and Caleb, laying a wreath as part of the service. 
Accommodation was a further 140km south. After arriving and enjoying dinner, our students got their ski clothes ready for their day in the snow on the following day. 
The Snowy Mountains saw our students learning about the alpine area through some great activities presented at the Sawpit Creek Kosciuszko Education Centre. Our next stop was Smiggins Holes and a chance for some snow play. The rest of the day was spent exploring Perisher Valley, and observing the features of this unique Alpine environment, before stopping on the way back to Berridale to view parts of the Snowy Mountains Scheme and Lake Jindabyne. 
Later that night, the students took time to view the night sky, which is far more visible with the reduced light pollution in this rural setting. 

In the next morning, students were up and packed for the trip back into Cooma, and our first stop at the Snowy Hydro Information Centre. Having done some study of the scheme, its purpose and construction, the students enjoyed the opportunity to see the exhibits of photos and artifacts, as well as the interactive mapping presentations. 
Then, back in Canberra, one of the most popular attractions of Questacon provided some great ‘hands on’ science experiences. From ‘the big slide’ to “earthquakes and lightning’, and finally laying beneath an enormous model of the moon, our students found that their two hours in the centre disappeared very quickly. 
Our final stops were at the Museum of Democracy, and then to Australian Parliament House. Our students were intrigued by the Lego model of Parliament House (built by Brickman and his team), and enjoyed the visit to both, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The trip back to Sydney was soon underway and a group of tired but happy students were soon back home having spent a great 3 days of learning outside the classroom. 
Our thanks also go to Michael, our driver from Port Stephen’s Coaches, the staff at Snowgate Motel and each of the guides and presenters at the venues we visited.