Some of the most salient and lasting experiences for students come from stepping outside of the classroom and into another, more immersive learning space.
Still, they can be a lot of work for the teacher. Planning, organizing, and then arranging for transportation and timing can all become stressful. Because of this, teachers often rely on field trip locations and activities that they know will be a sure win.
All the better! Spend a little time investigating a new field trip this summer and then relax, knowing it is a proven winner for your students with this list:
5 Unique Field Trips to Plan this Summer:
5. Investigate a Maker Space:
A Makerspace, by design, is a place where kids can tinker, create, and investigate with their hands. And while creating a makerspace for your for your school is a fantastic idea, though very involved and would work best with a collaboration between teachers.
To start, introduce your students to some maker fun by taking them on a maker field trip. It will depend on your area, but check with local universities, Lego and Apple Stores, and other school districts.
I was introduced to geocaching by a student years ago, and had a lot of fun watching my students catch the bug and spend time sharing experiences with each other. Some would convince their parents to stop on the way to basketball games or church activities just so they could explore a bit and search for a geocache. What a great way to get students out in nature!
There is a wealth of resources online about geocaching, and many many suggestions on how to use it for education. Here are a few:
- Organize a themed geocache day. A pirate event, where the students look for buried treasure? A story event, where students imagine the story that brought their geocache clues together?
- Tie in with Earth Day or Geography. Students all over the world play geocache games. How does viewing the earth as our playground affect the way we treat and care for it? How does knowing that students in Europe, Asia, South America play the same game outdoors as you do affect the way you connect with them?
- Create an event and then submit photos to geocaching.com. Students can see what other events have been planned, and you can connect with other educators as well!
3. Community Garden
Get your students in the dirt with a community garden field trip! Take the students in the spring or fall (or winter, if you have a local greenhouse!), and put them to work!
Students can work with community garden organizers to learn about the process of gardening as well as the benefits to a community garden. Send them home with some seedlings and start something in your classroom!
2. Service Field Trip
Students of all ages like to help, and enjoy knowing that they have made a difference. Lucky for you, there is no shortage of ways that our world needs caring people to step up and collect supplies, use some elbow grease, and change something for the better.
What about contacting a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, domestic violence shelter, hospital, or foster care facility in advance and asking them what they need? Organize a trip to the facility, yes, but spend a month ahead of time brainstorming as a class on different ways to raise money and get supplies for their worthy cause.
One year, I let my middle schoolers work in groups to design their own businesses. Some sold crafts, some sold food before and after school, some performed a service like washing cars, and together we raised almost $1000 in a couple of weeks for winter clothing for foster children.
1. Food Field Trip/How its Made
Reach out to a local bakery or restaurant, especially if they do any kind of farm-to-table or farmer’s market-to-table cooking, and get your students connected!
Besides seeing a behind-the-scenes process which is fascinating no matter your age, students will no doubt be treated to some delicious samples and get to see the time, effort, and art that goes into good food and real nutrition.
Another extension activity is to have students leave with a recipe card of their own and have a cooking day at school. Whether you teach math, science, or literature, you can surely connect the chemical processes of cooking and baking to the cultural processes of sharing food and eating together for a valuable learning experience.
What are your favorite field trips for your students? Which unique places have you taken them over the years?