Most schools have capstone Lower School experiences. In some cases, these involve a trip of some kind. At Triangle Day School, the students take charge of the entire process. Welcome to the Great Fifth Grade Adventure.

In this project, students:

  • choose a city within a certain radius from Durham, NC
  • research the city, and use the information to create a complete itinerary and budget for a two-night trip, including activities, meals, lodging and transportation
  • write a persuasive essay to convince the class that their trip is both educational and fun
  • create a display board to help with marketing their city
  • present their city, with full itinerary, to the class

From there, it’s democracy in action, as students listen to the presentations, form an opinion, and vote on their favorite city. Far from a theoretical experience, students then pack their bags and travel to the winning city for two nights in May, following the itinerary that the winner prepared.

Past GFGA trips:

2019 – Gatlingburg, TN
2018 – Hershey, PA
2017 – Charlottesville, VA
2016 – Gatlingburg, TN
2015 – Savannah, GA
2014 – Atlanta, GA
2013 – Baltimore, MD
2012 – Charleston, SC

Here’s a close-up look at our trip to Baltimore, MD:


6:30am – Depart from TDS parking lot on a charter bus.

12:00 – Arrive at Camden Yards for Baltimore Orioles baseball game vs San Diego Padres.

4:00 – USS Constellation tour – This was the last all-sail ship built by the US Navy in 1855, and we’ll get a guided tour of how this vessel was involved in the Civil War time period.

6:30 – Medieval Times – This is quite the show, with live jousting and horse-back riding, and they feed you a pretty big meal, although I don’t believe we get any silverware!

9:00 – Check into hotel and go to bed.


7:30 – Breakfast

9:15 – National Aquarium – Explore the exhibits first and then watch a 4D film.

12:00 – Lunch in the Aquarium at The Atrium Café.

1:30 – Science Center

5:00 – Dinner at Bagby Pizza

6:30 – Take water taxi to Top of the World Observation!  This city attraction offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, and should provide beautiful sites and help us get to know our GFGA city a little better!

7:45 – Vaccaros for a yummy dessert treat to end the night!

9:00 – Back to hotel


8:00 – Breakfast

10:00 – American Visionary Art Museum – Explore exhibits and do a hands-on class.

12:00 – Captain James Landing for lunch, the uniquely Baltimore restaurant

1:30 – Fort McHenry tour – this Fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem in the War of 1812.

3:00 – Leave for home.

9:30 – Arrive back at TDS.