Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

A Fabulous Example of a Twenty-First-Century Field Trip

For several years, Colchester High School students in Will Warren’s AP Biology classes have visited the DNA Analysis Facility at the Vermont Cancer Center with the University of Vermont.

CHS AP Biology students
CHS AP Biology students at the Vermont Cancer Center’s Advanced Genome Technologies Core

“The main goal is to connect the students to the use of modern biology techniques and technology to the ‘real world,'” Mr. Warren said. “It’s a bit of a culminating activity for our genetics unit and an opportunity to learn some things that aren’t in the textbook from practicing scientists as well.”

On the students’ most recent visit, UVM’s Tim Hunter, the director of the Advanced Genome Technologies Core, organized a truly state-of-the-art field trip experience. The students received an overview of current molecular technologies before visiting the pathology teaching lab where they viewed tissue specimens and engaged in a lung tumor discussion.

The students then received tours through the Advanced Genome Technologies Core, the Microscopy Imaging Center, and the Lung Center Lab before performing a microarray experiment.

gloving up in pathology_s

in lab_s


These are hugely valuable experiences for our students! The study of science is far more than simply the memorization of facts; it teaches fundamental, transferable skills in observation, critical thinking, evaluating and analyzing results, making meaningful connections, developing sound processes, and presenting ideas in a clear manner. Science teaches us how to frame and pose intriguing questions. It helps us to become engaged, conscientious citizens. Aeronautics … medicine … electronics … engineering … environmental conservation … communications … it is indisputable that science and technology have revolutionized the world in many ways, and as such, the importance of studying and applying these disciplines is clearly evident. A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas and the Vermont Science Curriculum and Standards also speak to the importance of rigorous science instruction for students of all ages.

Colchester School District’s students surpass the state’s average in NECAP examinations in every grade, including in science. Students’ ability to participate in hands-on, experiential learning is critically important, and your schools work to provide as many hands-on opportunities as possible for students—from partnering with UVM to conduct atmospheric research to working with a state official to design simple water filtration systems … and from seeking grant funding to support the construction of a human-powered generator to teaming up with Colchester Police Department to explore forensics, your schools work to align with the pathways in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017. This field trip in particular is a superb example of Pathway A: High Standards, Expectations, and Individual Engagement for All Learners; Pathway C: Learning Outside Our Four Walls; and Pathway E: Parent, Community, and School Partnerships Among Lifelong Learners.

If you would like more information about the students’ recent field trip to the Advanced Genome Technologies Core, please call CHS at (802) 264-5700 or e-mail Will Warren (

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