Quality pre-planning is essential to the success of any field trip! Here are some general tips on preparing the students so that the quality of learning is maximized!
Prepping Students BEFORE the Trip
A. Discuss the purpose of the field trip and how it relates to the current course of study.
B. Show photographs of the field trip site or related exhibits. Visit the website to learn more. Introduce vocabulary words that will be used.
C. Teach visual observation skills. Let students describe in detail ordinary objects, like a marker, book, vase, or cell phone to their classmates; then be sure to apply
these skills to things they see at the trip.
D. Assign students into specialist roles studying various aspects during the field trip. Group them into different subject areas and form teams. Great team experience.
E. Brainstorm with students how to ask good questions including preparing a list of open-ended observation questions. May be a good idea to record questions on student field trip journals.
F. Discuss trip conduct and preparation such as amount of spending money, lunch/snack, clothing and other gear as well as other supplies to have on hand.
Engaging Activities DURING the Field Trip
A. Plan activities that allow students to work alone, in pairs or small groups. Some fun activities might include engaging in:
- An Mystery or Adventure game with clues, for students to solve.
- Scavenger hunt for objects of interest to search, or collect objects for a class project.
- A Field photography competition for best pictures to include in a school/camp bulletin or publication.
- A Sketching contest of objects found in the exhibits. Perhaps sketch only a portion of the exhibit and let others describe what they see.
- Being Reporters using field notebooks for recording answers to prepared questions, or conducting a team interview.
B. Ask follow-up questions as students make observations and listen to presentations.
C. Provide ‘think’ time for students to work in their Field Book to write questions, describe favorite displays and sketch a picture. Have them summarize their trip on a postcard.
D. Encourage students to use tape recorders, cameras or videos for recording what they see or hear – useful for followup work.
E. Round Up and Vote: Ask students to discuss the various activities that they were involved and vote based on different criteria. What did they like best, least, and what would they change.
POST-Field Trip Activities
The post-field trip activity is important too! Planning for appropriate follow-up activities will facilitate student learning and enhance the value of hands-on experiences outside the classroom.
A. Have students share general observations and reactions to field trip experiences. Share team assignments while on the field trip and share notes from student field books.
B. Create a classroom bulletin board displaying materials developed and trip observations while on the field trip.
C. Develop a classroom museum with collections of student artwork and sketches, photographs, letters, and postcards.
D. Link field trip activities to multiple curricular areas. Expand the field trip favorite topics and apply them to art, writing, history, math, performing arts.
E. Have the class send thank you letters to the field trip site host, chaperones and others supported the field trip. Include favorite objects or special information learned during the field trip.
F. Publicize the trip with an article in your local newspaper, school bulletin newsletter, trip presentation, or class web page.
Good Luck Planning Your Trip!