EdExplore SRQ Exploration at Patriot Plaza

The Patriot Plaza Exploration Captures the Hearts of Middle School Students

Posted on June 28, 2018 by Cindy Balistreri, consultant EdExploreSRQ

Patriot Plaza hosted many Civics* Explorations during the 2017-18 school year. More than 2,200 Sarasota County eighth-graders from 12 middle schools attended 44 tours – the highest number of field trips during any school year since Patriot Plaza opened in 2014. Patriot Plaza is a beautiful ceremonial amphitheater surrounded by stunning art installations within the Sarasota National Cemetery. It is designed to serve as a place of peace and reflection for veterans’ families. The art tells stories that showcase the military experience throughout history.

GeorgeAnn Morrow, an eighth-grade Civics teacher at Booker Middle School, is featured with her students in a video that showcases a Patriot Plaza Exploration from beginning to end. It follows them from the classroom to Patriot Plaza and captures a variety of students’ interpretations as they tour the artwork with a Patriot Plaza Guide/Veteran. Finally, you see Mrs. Morrow talking with her students back in the classroom after the visit, emphasizing the “why” of the field trip and honoring those who gave so much -- for our country and our freedom.


Mrs. Morrow remarked that before visiting Patriot Plaza, she was hesitant to plan field trips, or use EdExploreSRQ. However, she found that it was much easier to plan and implement than she expected. Once they arrived, the Patriot Plaza Guides “took over” and made everything easy for her, the chaperones, and the students. She also reiterated that Explorations are closely connected to curriculum standards, and the preparatory/follow-up materials are interesting, well written, and easy to implement. This was surprising to her and has inspired her to bring her Civics students next year to Patriot Plaza. She is also going to check out other Explorations on EdExploreSRQ. As she said, “The first part of learning is to engage students.” Explorations like Patriot Plaza and others innately offer students a real-world experience outside the classroom that is engaging and motivational!

It is gratifying to see teachers like Mrs. Morrow embrace the Civics Exploration at Patriot Plaza and to know that many teachers plan and experience these opportunities throughout the school year through a variety of exciting Explorations. Check out EdExploreSRQ.com’s Explorations! There are funding opportunities for Sarasota County Schools on the website, and students in Sarasota and surrounding counties can plan a trip to Patriot Plaza with transportation reimbursed. There are also Explorations at Patriot Plaza for students in grades 4-6 focused on Language Arts/Visual Art and grades 9-12 focused on American History/Visual Art. The Civics Exploration for grades 7-8 aligns with the Civics state standards, a course that is required and is tested by the state each year. View teaching materials and standards HERE.

Engage your students in Explorations during 2018-19!

EdExploreSRQ is a website managed by the Sarasota County Schools that features more than 250 stimulating Explorations that are aligned to curriculum in all content areas for Grades K-12 and hosted by over 50 community providers.

Explorations exist for all students in grades K-12, in public, charter, and private schools. All are welcomed from Sarasota County and the surrounding counties. EdExploreSRQ’s value increases as teachers understand the importance of individual Explorations.

Teachers and administrators in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and Desoto counties are invited to the 2018 ED-stravaganza:
  • Date: Saturday, August 25, 2018
  • Time: 10a-2p
  • Location: Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota

Enthusiastic providers of Explorations will exhibit information and provide demonstrations about many of their opportunities for students. There will be free refreshments and many prizes including free Explorations!


*Civics – What do all Florida students learn?
Civics content:
1) government, law, and the American political system
2) the roles, rights, and responsibilities of U.S. citizens, and methods of active participation in society
3) the four principles, functions, and organization of government
4) contemporary issues in world affairs and the role/impact of U.S. foreign policy.

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