School Stay-trips

If I work in a district where I am unable to take my kids on plenty of field trips, what are some alternatives or activities that could be done on school grounds, but that are still fun and eye-opening for students?
– B., Arkansas

Budgets, locations, and policies can all curtail your ability to take students out of school. Here are a few things that you could try:

On school grounds

  • Gardening: Apply for grants or contact local nurseries to help build raised beds or a greenhouse.
  • Video: Write, direct, and record urban wildlife short films.
  • Ecological studies: Conduct transects and make quadrats out of bendy straws. Drop them around the grounds and do species counts, biomass estimates, distribution maps.
  • Species counts: Have students research what they find and their ecological roles.
  • Soil analysis: Look for soil invertebrates. Do a chemical analysis and create a recommendation report for the principal.
  •  “Campfire science:” Teach stoichiometry by making s’mores in a self-contained fire pit or on a grill. (Be sure to follow proper safety protocols and check with the principal, first!)

Bring it inside

  • Visiting scientists: Many organizations have travelling shows and presenters.
  • Terrariums: Start up colonies of harmless invertebrates like crickets, sowbugs, and earthworms.
  • Bottle ecosystems: Search the NSTA Learning Center ( and check out my collection:
  • Pond water aquarium: Collect water, invertebrates, and plants from a local pond.
  • Plants: Grow plants from seed and monitor over the term.


  • Webcams: Many websites have nature cams.
  • Videoconferencing: Several organizations will connect your class with scientists.
  • Sister schools: Run concurrent experiments and exchange data via video, wikis, or shared drives.

Hope this helps!

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1 Response to School Stay-trips

  1. Andrea L Hesse says:

    Hello, my name is Andrea and I am a preservice teacher at Wartburg College. I know budgets are a large factor in allowing classes to take field trips and they may be out of the question. The Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation offers an Agriculture in the Classroom program that you could utilize in your classroom. Your students would be able to connect with farmers around the world through a FarmChat. A FarmChat essentially uses technology (FaceTime, Skype, etc.) to bring the farm to your classroom. This programs aims to inform and extend students’ knowledge on agriculture and how important it is to society.

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