Field Trips

Published on Jan 24, 2016

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Field Trips

Bringing Learning Alive
Photo by FullofTravel

The purpose of the field trip is first hand observation and interaction.
A trip to a site can increase the meaning and add value to a subject matter.

Field trips can be:

  • an authentic learning experience
  • an important experiential educational practice
  • an opportunity for students to bond together as a learning community
  • a wonderfully immersive experience
Photo by johnno_oz

They can also be:

  • a lot of time consuming preparation
  • difficult to access for all students due to time and travel constraints
  • seen as lacking in educational value
Photo by LaPrimaDonna

“We don’t just want our children to acquire work skills from their education; we also want them to develop into civilized people who appreciate the breadth of human accomplishments. The school field trip is an important tool for meeting this goal." 1

Preparation for a Great Trip

  • find a site that inspires and reflects the topic being taught. Include students in the process
  • organize behind the scenes: check venues for availability/accessability- book ahead- if possible find free venues
Photo by zoutedrop

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  • design an activity that links the site to what you are learning
  • create alternate assignments for students who cannot attend
Photo by zoutedrop

Setting Learning Expectations:

  • be clear about what the trip will accomplish- set clear learning goals
  • create assignments for learning
  • prepare material so students can plan their approach to the assignments

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  • craft a follow- up activity such as class discussion
  • create a journal or essay assignment to connect the field trip experience to what they are learning

Communicate Student Responsibilities

  • do they need to research the site?
  • do they need special clothing or equipment?
  • if activities are planned they must engage to learn
  • they must reflect and complete assignments

Consider the Pros

  • it's an enriching experience to connect to learning
  • gives context to help memory and meaning of a subject
  • promotes enquiry based learning
Photo by Daniel Y. Go

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  • creates a bonding experience that helps form a learning community
  • great for smaller classes
  • great motivator- nothing like a break from routine to encourage engagement
Photo by Daniel Y. Go

"The study found that, regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, youth who take educational trips have better grades (59 percent), higher graduation rates from high school (95 percent) and college (63 percent), and greater income (12 percent higher annually). In fact, 89 percent said educational trips had a positive, lasting impact on their education and career because the trips made them more engaged, intellectually curious and interested in and out of school." 2

Photo by Mark Brannan

Consider the Cons

  • needs a lot of preparation and planning
  • not easy for larger classes
  • cost/time prohibitive for some students
Photo by Leo Reynolds

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  • needs permission and funding from institution
  • liability and safety risks must be assessed and prepared for
Photo by Leo Reynolds

A lot of work goes into making a field trip relevant, accessible, fun, educational and meaningful.

Photo by mikecogh

A field trip can " help students understand the value and meaning of what they are learning in the classroom as well as see how this knowledge can be applied in different situations." p.296 3

Photo by aakash_gautam

The concept of incorporating a beautiful venue with a beautiful day is one of the oldest methods to teach photography.
I try to make sure that the venues I choose for my class outings have history and/or cultural meaning to hold my student's interest and connect them to their learning.

To help my students learn that awareness and engagement with their environment gives meaning to their work, I allow them to have input on venues that have interest to them.

My planning and preparation are made easier by the use of technology and social media. I use it to research and preplan. It also allows me to send class assignment information and expectations to my students as well as accept and grade any assignments attached to the field trip.

"Tell me and I forget.
Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."

Benjamin Franklin

Photo by duane.schoon


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