Field trips are supposed to be fun. But they also should be educational. To make the most of your next class outing, follow these suggestions to improve the experience for students.
Before the field trip day arrives, announce the location to students and assign a research project related to the destination. For example, if you have scheduled a field trip for younger elementary school students to the local zoo, have them choose the animal they most want to see then have them write a short paragraph about that specific animal.
Older students visiting a museum, planetarium, aquarium, or other destination can be assigned more comprehensive pre-trip assignments, such as a 300-word essay on what they most are looking forward to during their field trip.
Most children learn better if they have something tactile to hold onto during their experience. If possible, arrange to have pass-outs such as official brochures, maps, or information about the destination.
Inquire about educational programs offered by the venue. Free materials are often available from popular field trip destinations such as museums. But make sure to inquire early so that there is plenty of time to make arrangements for the delivery and distribution of materials.
Make It Count
During the bus ride back, ask students questions about their experience. What did they like most? What would they do again? Did their pre-trip research enhance their experience?
Prepare a field trip worksheet that includes both factual and subjective questions about their experience. Have them complete it at home and return it as homework the next day. This encourages students to think about their field trip experience so they can remember and learn from it.
Field trips should combine fun and learning in an environment that is new and engaging. Creating lasting memories while learning something new is the goal.