Planning a Science Field Trip? Follow These Six Steps to Make It Unforgettable

Field trips are an exciting way to expose students to new experiences and increase student interest and engagement in science. But they can also be daunting to plan! These six tips will help you plan an unforgettable field trip for your students—with less stress for you!

  1. Make sure the trip is applicable for the age, grade level, and needs of the students. When planning a field trip, make sure you consider the needs of your students. Plan a field trip that is challenging enough to retain their attention, but not so challenging that they will lose interest. Make the experience fun by choosing a site with hands-on activities and interactive learning. Make sure the field trip is appropriate for all kinds of learners, including visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
  2. Connect the field trip to the current content or unit of study. Choose a trip that connects what students are learning in the classroom to real-world experiences. For instance, if you are studying sedimentary rock formation and soil, take the students to a quarry so they can see first-hand and connect. If students do not come to your classroom with the schema you desire, create it for them!
  3. Plan ahead! Careful planning of any field trip will help avoid disasters and lead to a successful event. If possible, conduct a pre-visit to scout the site. It is best to get to know the area so you will be able to quickly locate the restrooms, water fountains, picnic areas or food locations, and accessibility sites for physically challenged students. Look for the spots that will create the most connections to your lesson and create those teachable moments.
  4. Prepare your students before the trip. Prepare pre-visit activities that you can do with the students prior to visiting. Get a map of the location and share the site with students. Explore the location by visiting the site’s website. Review safety rules for outdoor field trips. Cover the content beforehand, and give the students content questions that they should be able to answer after the experience.
  5. Prepare yourself before the trip. Make a list of materials that you will need, such as name tags, first-aid kit, cell phone, and emergency contact numbers. Plan for manageable groups and send a note home to request the parent volunteers needed for the trip. Do all the paperwork on time!
  6. Plan a follow-up activity. Plan an activity that will tie classroom learning in with the field trip. The activity should help reinforce everything the children have gained from the field trip experience. Make sure you follow up with your content questions!

Celena Miller teaches science at Cesar Chavez Elementary in Pharr-San Juan-Alamo. She won the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science in 2016.

What are your top tips for field trips? Share your planning ideas and favorite field trip spots in the comments below!

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