Learning Outside the Classroom

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Learning Outside the Classroom

We believe that every child should experience the world beyond the classroom as an essential part of learning and personal development at every age, in every grade level, and in any circumstance. While a classroom is a student's home during the school hours, at BASIS Independent McLean, we seek to provide a framework for learning that uses surroundings and communities outside their primary learning environment, which will ultimately add value to classroom learning. We want to enable our students to construct their own learning in order to live successfully in the world that surrounds them, gaining life skills like subject-based knowledge and problem solving.

From these beliefs, we have created a number of opportunities to allow our students to take in a variety of environments and other communities. These include the following:

Field Trips

Students will take 2–3 field trips throughout the year. We wholeheartedly believe that field trips are the best way to enrich the lessons being taught inside any of our classrooms. Our field trips are designed to make the curriculum come to life. 

Our location affords us enormous opportunity. In the greater D.C. area, we have an abundance of U.S. History at our fingertips. Our students will get the chance to experience some of the most significant buildings, structures, and museums in the nation, including the following:


  • National Museum of Natural History 
  • Smithsonian's Discovery Theater
  • The National Museum of American History 
  • The National Portrait Gallery 
  • The U.S. Capitol 
  • The Supreme Court
  • U.S. Botanic Garden
  • And more!  


Project Week

The last week of school means project week at BASIS Independent McLean! Project week is an opportunity for students in all grades to work with their peers on multi-disciplinary projects and to engage in a fun, new activity or trip with various other grade levels. Students will spend around 4–5 days in groups with Term Project Teachers.

These projects challenge our students to be cooperative learners and to function as a team. Below is a sampling of the projects students embarked on during Project Week last year:

  • We Like to Move it, Move it
  • The Land Before Time
  • D.C. Explorers 
  • Animal Explorers
  • Chinese Culture
  • Exploring the Civil War
  • Politics, Live!
  • Physics & Art Unite
Read more about our incredible Project Week and the wide-ranging adventures of our students here.

Making the World Our Classroom

At BASIS Independent McLean, not all classrooms have four walls! Exploring other countries and cultures first hand is an amazing opportunity for our students, and world travel is an amazing opportunity for any student looking to take their education outside their textbooks and standard lessons.

Senegal, Africa

This past year, our French Subject Expert Teacher Madame Seye led a group of students to Senegal, Africa. Senegal not only gave these students an immersive chance to practice and finesse the French language in real-time, but also allowed them to experience an entirely new cultural and societal viewpoint from what they were used to. These students have struck up pen-pal relationships with the students they met in Senegal, and they also worked as a group to deliver reading glasses, clothes, and six scholarships to those they met on their travels. 

Galapagos Islands

BASIS Independent McLean's Spanish Subject Expert Teacher, Dr. Isquith, will be head up a student trip to the Galapagos Islands to dive into the connections found between many core disciplines students study every day.