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For Teachers:
Field Trips and Lesson Plans

Pre-school & Primary Grades | Grades 3 to 5 | Booking a Field Trip | Lesson Plans
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The Museum offers age-appropriate structured educational programs for children's groups, ages 4 thru 11 years, on Thursdays and Fridays from October 1 through November 15, and March 15 through May 15.


Children in primary grades participate in an interactive educational program of three 30 minute segments.
For 1st grade students from Montgomery County Public Schools, we use the activities below (classroom session, street car ride, visit to Street Car Hall) as opportunities to discuss:
  • Transportation past & present;
  • Museums;
  • Classification of objects, people or events as belonging to the past or present.
In our classroom with their teachers and chaperones, the students typically:
Teacher reading story to class
  • Listen to a trolley story;
  • Use a fare box;
  • Ring a demonstration trolley bell.

The group will board the street car for a ride into Northwest Branch Park where they might see a deer or other animals (birds, butterflies).
After the ride a docent will guide the group through Street Car Hall, the model street railway and the silent movies.
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National Capital Trolley Museum offers a multimedia, interactive educational program which supports the Social Studies component of Montgomery County Public Schools Curriculum 2.0 Grade 3. During the classroom session, the street car ride and the visit to Street Car Hall, students will learn:
  • How people adapt to and modify their environment;
  • How cities change geographically over time due to human activity.

During their classroom session, street car ride and visit to Street Car Hall, third grade students of Prince George's County Public Schools will learn:
  • How people lived in the past, based on primary and secondary resources; and
  • History of communities with special reference to street car service along the Route 1 corridor in Laurel, Beltsville, Riverdale and other communities.

The third grade program includes the following concepts and activities:
Map of DC and rail and trolley lines (around 1900)
From NCTM's Lt. Col.
John E. Merriken Collection

Early map of street car line to
Chevy Chase
  • Identifying natural physical and human-made features of places and regions;
  • Describing population distribution of rural and urban places;
  • Describing how transportation networks link places through the movement of people and enable them to live farther away from work;
  • Identifying reasons for the movement of people from one community or region to another using the example of the development of Chevy Chase, Maryland in the late 1800's & early 1900's.

In their classroom exercise, students will:

Students Building the Street Car Line at the Chevy Chase Lake Terminus
  • Work cooperatively to complete a model railway from the city to develop the suburbs;
  • Build a model community according to 1895 building restrictions;
  • Understand how development changes the natural environment;
  • See how cities change in geographic characteristics and human activity over time;
  • Compare/contrast rural, suburban and urban communities; and
  • Learn how people modify their environment.

On their ride on the electric street car, the students will:

School Group Leaves Street Car for Conduit Hall

  • Imagine the advantages of speed & distance compared to walking on foot or using horse-drawn street cars;
  • Learn that electricity provides the energy to move the street car;
  • Understand that the route is determined by the rails and switches; and
  • See that if a street car line is built into undeveloped areas, it would be an attractive way to travel into the city.

During their visit to Street Car Hall, the class will:

School Group in Street Car Hall

  • Learn about passenger and utility street cars; and
  • How street car size changed with time.

During their visit to Exhibit Hall, the students will have the opportunity to:

Visit to Exhibit Hall

  • Operate the model electric railway; and
  • Generate electricity for the buildings along the route.

A few minutes at the silent movie demonstrates:

1920's Theater Lobby
Silent Movies with Harold Lloyd
  • Entertainment that was popular when street cars were the most popular form of transportation;
  • Horse-drawn street cars still operated when electric street cars were introduced; and
  • Compared to today, there are very few automobiles on the street.
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All bookings must be completed 2 weeks prior to the field trip to assure that sufficient time and staffing will be available to accommodate your group.
For groups requesting our structured educational program:
  • The Museum requests that the person-in-charge organizes the participants into classes of approximately 25 students prior to the visit;
  • The educational program fee of $25 per group of 25 students must be submitted by check in the mail or in person to confirm the reservation;
  • Upon arrival at the Museum, the person-in-charge will pay the reduced Museum admission $4 per person for each of the students, teachers and chaperones;
  • Each class of approximately 25 will rotate through a series of 30 minute presentations including:
    • An interactive age-appropriate classroom lesson;
    • A ride aboard a vintage street car;
    • A guided tour of the Museum exhibits including:
      • A visit to the street car collection;
      • A stop at the model of Connecticut Avenue street railway in the 1930's; and
      • A silent movie experience from the 1920's featuring street cars.
Lunch/Snack Facilities
  • Snacks and drinks may not be consumed in exhibit halls or aboard street cars.
  • There is no picnic area available on the grounds, but picnic facilities are available at Layhill Park, 1 mile north of the intersection of Layhill Road and Bonifant Road.
Should you wish to schedule a field trip for times when the Museum is not normally open, there are additional charges. Please see the fee schedule with special opening charges.
A different alternative, without a special educational program, is to make group arrangements at regular admission and fare charges.
For more information or to discuss or schedule a field trip, send a message to the Museum Educator at Questions? Ready to make arrangements? Contact us at
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(A craft activity)
(Subtraction; graph report)
(Creative writing)
(Addition and subtraction with play money; quantity discounts)
Curriculum guides with these and additional exercises are available for school groups upon request.

For more information or to schedule your visit, please send an e-mail to

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