Learning Adventures for 3rd – 5th Grade Students

Magellan International School offers overnight field trips for upper PYP students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. The trips take place during school hours and students are strongly encouraged to participate, but they are optional.

The overnight field trip program offers new opportunities for our students to grow and learn, and new ways for our students, teachers, and staff to interact and come together as a community. Students need to apply all IB learner traits in order to successfully navigate the overnight field trip experience, and we enjoy supporting them in these exciting adventures.

The overnight field trips have been a wonderful development opportunity for my kids. Initially, neither child was eager to participate and I had my doubts about the program. However, the trips turned out to be a great opportunity to develop closer ties with classmates, develop independence, and have fun.

Frequently Asked Questions about Overnight Field Trips

Why do we offer overnight field trips?



As an IB World School, we

“…prepare(s) students to become active, caring, lifelong learners who demonstrate respect for themselves and others and have the capacity to participate in the world around them. It focuses on the development of the whole child as an inquirer, both within and beyond the classroom.”
–International Baccalaureate.

An overnight field trip is the ultimate “beyond the classroom” experience. We believe the experience helps students become lifelong learners, develops social skills in a caring environment, and promotes participation in the world around them. The trips help students learn independence, self-reliance, and social emotional skills.

“The field trip was a phenomenal experience from start to finish: exceptionally
valuable from an academic standpoint – as a complement to the classroom
curriculum – and from a social and interpersonal development perspective as well.
My son had a great time with his friends and teachers, while also getting to
practice and live up to all elements of the IB learner profile that Magellan strives
to reinforce. Hats off to the faculty, staff, and parent volunteers who made this
trip a reality! They truly exemplify the spirit and values of our amazing school.”
– MIS Parent


What is the focus of overnight field trips?

The field trips all have a science focus, with each of the trips building on the prior year’s experience. We expect students to exhibit and continue working on all 10 IB Learner traits: Inquirers, open-minded, thinkers, caring, balanced, knowledgeable, risk-takers, reflective, communicators, principled.

“Our Child loved it and still talks about the many great experiences on the trip. It
is exactly what we send him to Magellan to experience, the joy of learning,
inquiring, community, working together and so many other IB attributes. We are
beyond pleased with this trip and think it is prime example of him becoming an
explorer for life.”
-MIS Parent



Why the focus on Science?

“An inquiry-based classroom stimulates the natural curiosity of students and encourages them to ask questions.”
A science-focused field trip aligns perfectly with the school’s inquiry-based approach.

“Respects different learning styles”
A science field trip enables students to experience different types of learning styles, and interact with scientific concepts in new ways.

“Offers a transdisciplinary approach, where learning is authentic and relevant to the real world”
A science field promotes a lifelong love for science, making abstract concepts more accessible and inspiring, and turning ideas like space exploration into tangible experiences for our students.

“My daughter loved the field trip and the entire experience. She not only enjoyed
the time with her peers but came away with a new appreciation for space and
scientific careers.”
-MIS Parent

What do we expect students to have gained from these field trips?

Independence and Self-Reliance – For many students, these field trips are their first experience away from family.

“I am so grateful for this trip! My son learned so much about personal
responsibility. I think the NASA people also inspired him to want to be an
astronaut. This is the sort of activity that makes Magellan the exceptional
education experience that it is!”
-MIS Parent

Social Skills – For most students, these trips represent the longest continuous time they have spent with their classmates.  The experience requires students to improve their cooperation skills, learn how to iron out differences when they arise, and build trust with classmates as they work together and lean on each other for support.

“My son was absolutely enriched by the experience, not only because of the
NASA context in it of itself but mainly because he was able to bond with friends
and feel independent. He was able to ponder risks and make good decisions
about his own behavior.”
-MIS Parent

Critical & Creative Thinking – As students interact with scientific concepts in new ways, they are forced to interpret data, evidence, and experimental results with a critical scientific eye – and often come away inspired to apply new concepts and principles to their own studies, personal explorations, and creative endeavors.

“Our daughter came home literally fired up about Neutral Buoyancy, the
difference between NASA and JPL, how they work together, the Mars Rover, and
how great it was to see her teacher learning and engaging right alongside her. We
really could not have asked for a better first-time sleepover field trip experience!”
– MIS Parent


Is there financial aid available?


Yes, this trip is meant to be inclusive of all students. Financial aid is available from $50 to fully paid “scholarships”. The price per student includes all meals, snacks (with the exception of the sack lunch on the bus the first day), transportation, all special programing, Magellan staff chaperones, and overnight accommodations.

What do students have to say about field trips?


“Next year, can we go on the field trip for the whole year?”
“I had the best time!”
“So fun!”
“Is Isaac Newton really more famous than Cam Newton?”
“I learned that the sun takes 250 million years to go around the galaxy.”
“I learned the sun is really white but we see it as yellow and orange because of the earth’s atmosphere”
“It was really fun but cold at night”
“I liked seeing into a telescope and seeing a nebula”
“I had to be open minded, when we were doing the egg drop, and take everyone’s ideas for what we should do for the safe landing of the egg.”

“I had to be a risk taker to try the ozobots.”

“We had to be caring to everyone who stayed in our hotel room, chaperones and the other kids.”


What do teachers have to say about field trips?


“This year’s overnight trips have been amongst the most enjoyable and memorable moments of my time at Magellan so far.  Watching and helping each of our young navigators approach and explore the unknown in their own special way was an absolute treat!  These safe adventures away from home have expanded the values, skills and knowledge of us all.  Thank you students for being so thoughtful and fun! Thank you parents for this opportunity and your trust!  Thank you organizers and chaperones for your wonderful organization and support!” – Nicolas Puga, Deputy Head of School

“It was a blast! I’m glad I had the chance to go on this adventure with such a great
group of kids!”

“It was awesome and I would do it again!”

“The kids are fantastic! I would go with them on more trips.”

“I had an awesome time.”

Where do the students go?



3rd Grade – NASA’s Johnson Space Center for a 2-day, 1-night field trip. Students plan an exciting mission to Mars, requiring them to collaborate and solve problems when faced with engineering challenges for a Mars launch and landing system. Participants learn about Newton’s Laws and the four forces of flight while designing rockets and preparing an “eggstonaut” for a landing on the red planet. Learn more.

4th Grade – Moody Gardens and the Houston Museum of Natural Science for a 3-day, 2-night field trip. At Moody Gardens, students explore the rainforest after dark on a “Creatures of the Night” Overnight Adventure. They hear, touch, taste, and smell their way through the night to discover how nocturnal creatures live. The evening includes a variety of activities, including a tour of the Rainforest Pyramid, and finishes with a sleepover in the Rainforest Entrance.

At the Houston Science Center, students visit prehistoric beasts, dazzling gems, and fascinating cultures from around the world. They work with museum educators to explore exhibits and complete hands-on activities, including a scavenger hunt in one of the permanent exhibition halls. Students finish the night with a movie under the stars in the Burke Baker Planetarium before laying down to sleep in a museum exhibit. Learn More.

5th Grade – McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis, and Prude Ranch for a 4-day, 3-night field trip. Located high in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, the Observatory gives students a deeper understanding of astronomy through an evening spent gazing at the stars – far from big city lights and pollution. Students are led on a guided tour of the observatory, and participate in hands-on, inquiry-based activities where they investigate the principles of optics through lab experiments and empirical observation.

Students stay at the Historic Prude Ranch where they participate in team-building exercises and hear guest speakers. Along the way, they also visit Fort Davis, the highest town in Texas and one of the best-surviving examples of a frontier military post in the American Southwest, where they explore the history and customs of that time. Learn More.