The long and short of field trips.

What do you think of the value of extended field trips? What should be considered?
– M., Florida

I love field trips and students often say that they are the highlights of school! Whether it is extended or just a single day, going outside the school gives students a chance to observe or experience things much better than videos or text. You also introduce them to enthusiastic professionals and role-models. However, I always made sure that field trips weren’t just walking around with our hands in our pockets.

Scout out what the field trip is all about and look for hands-on and authentic experiences. Most places will allow teachers to tour their facilities and check things out with no cost. Don’t be afraid to ask for modifications to suit your class – you are the customer and you know what your students need! I always made sure that a field trip wasn’t a completely isolated event. So, I recommend planning some preparatory and follow up activities. Make sure that your field trip fits your curriculum.

There are several things to consider on extended field trips: travel, time and cost. Ask yourself if you can do the same activities in your classroom for less? Can you borrow equipment or have outside people come to your class and run activities? Can you manage taking students out yourself?

I’d also ask the students for their feedback after a field trip. I often passed their comments on to whomever we visited or used the information to make changes myself.

Hope this helps!


Photo Credit: USembassy via Wikimedia Commons

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