PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- At Discovery Charter School in West Philadelphia, instructors welcome any opportunity to take students outside of the classroom for transformative learning experiences.
In May, the fifth-grade class went on its annual trip to Detroit, which included a hands-on experience of the Underground Railroad leading into Canada.
The Underground Railroad was a vast network of secret routes, safe houses and churches like the First Congregational Baptist Church, that helped slaves escape north to freedom in the early to mid-1800s.
"I actually got to feel what the slaves went through and learned how they escaped," said 11-year-old Chase Davis.
Khai Ward, also 11, said: "Now we don't have to go through that anymore, and it's kind of shocking because all that we went through."
The students each wore a band on their arms that said "slave" and were walked through as if they were actually a part of the Underground Railroad.
The school has been sending its fifth graders on this trip for more than a decade now. It is an impactful and often emotional experience.
"We will have some kids crying here and there," said Robert Davis with Discovery Charter. "Actually, on this trip one of our girls she started crying and it was little emotional for her because she never saw anything like that."
In the end, it gives students a new perspective and pride in their ancestors' resilience and courage.
"It makes me proud because I was scared going through because we didn't know what was going to pop out at us," said Madison Smith, a fifth grader. "But our ancestors they didn't know but they continued to go through and they were very brave."
For more information on Discovery Charter's program or how you can contribute contact Robert Davis.
Discovery Charter students take field trip through the Underground Railroad in Detroit