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Informal Science

Science Trips

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Farah Aziz Farah Aziz 1035 Points

What are some ideas for science field trips that will be helpful for higher elementary students? I want to ensure that students are learning and are productive throughout the trip. Any possible science related location would be helpful!

Pamela Dupre Pam Dupre 92369 Points

I believe in taking field trips that are in our own backyard. If you happen to have a state park close by, or some type of industrial plant, and a college or university, those are great places that help students connect to their community. I work with the dean of engineering at our local university and take an entire grade level, about 75 students, to spend the day in the engineering and chemistry departments. The dean sets everything up on his end and I schedule the buses and get the lunches organized from the cafeteria or students bring their own. The classes rotate through different classrooms and the university students lead some of the lessons. We've learned about wind tunnels, robotics, polymers, biochemistry with real live alligators. The state park is about 20 minutes from most of the schools so we pack our lunches and get on the bus. Each student has a clipboard and a pencil tied to the clipboard in their backpacks. I have a box with handouts, field guides, magnifying glasses, thermometers, etc. (I encourage parents to come if possible and give them jobs to do.) The other teachers, even if they aren't science teachers, are assigned to a team and given the parameters of what has to be accomplished at the site. We went about a month ago and found an alligator slide. (It's a place where the grass is matted down by the weight of the alligator when they come up on the bank to warm up before they slide back into the water to cool off again.) We are always looking for evidence of wildlife. I also invite people to come to the school to give a demonstration and answer questions. Last year, I invited 3 engineers to come speak with 150 4th and 5th graders about their jobs. In the initial invitation I requested that they share what types of activities they like to do when they were around the same age as the students. I also made sure I had female engineers too. We went over with the students what types of questions were appropriate and asking about someone's salary is not appropriate. You might contact museums that are either in town or less than an hour away to see if they offer something for upper elementary students.

Allison Gandrup Allison Gandrup 3800 Points

I think there are many places you can go for field trips, even if they are not a well known museum or something of that nature. We used to go on field trips that were simply exploring the prairie by our school. Science is fairly easy in that sense, you can walk outside and there is science all around you.

Haley Wiebenga Haley Wiebenga 1353 Points

Pam, I really like your idea of visiting a local university with students! I know from experience that children at this age look up to young adults, which provides a much greater chance for the students to listen! A great idea for them would be to visit the greenhouse (in the university has one) or, doing something even in a science class, or EL ED methods course.

An Vu An Vu 370 Points

Hello there, I think that a good place to go beside the museums are places that are innate/traditional to that region. For me, it is the Rodeo since we are in Texas and the kids learnt so much from it! Best regards An Vu

Ambar Fernandez Ambar Fernandez 230 Points

Taking students to the zoo may be a good idea for a field trip because they can learn about many science subjects in there. They can learn about life cycles, what do animals eat, what habitat is the most convenient for animals, what they eat and much more. Also, most zoo have butterflies and reptiles section which can be very fascinating for children.

Hannah Tweedy Hannah Tweedy 2810 Points

I recently investigated a new, un-conventional type of field trip - virtual reality.  These two words I believe, typically, are viewed with some skeptiscim.  But I have found that bringing the field trip to the students instead of the other way around magnifies the opportunities that students are able to have.  Check out my presentation that gives more details on how you could use virtual reality in your classroom.  It's extremely doable!  Teachers would have to first purchase GoogleCardboards for all of the students, have a 1-1 technology ratio in the classroom, download the Explorations App. and set up a field trip specifically for students in your classroom.  


Alex Sudtelgte Alex Sudtelgte 2175 Points

The first thing that came to my mind was a nature preserve or state park. While there they can learn anything from earth science to life science. If travelling out of your city or town is not possible, you could bring them to science museums, public works building, or a business of some sort. There are many elementary students that are on my college campus during the day so that is another idea. Students will be engaged and productive if they are interested in what they are learning about, and placing them in an unfamilar place will make them interested. If your town has a community garden students may be interested in that. From what I have learned is it is possible to find science anywhere a person goes. There are very few wrong places to bring students for a science field trip.

Drew Foster Drew Foster 2640 Points

I believe that one of the best ways to implement science field trips into the curriculum is by utilizing what you have. What's in your backyard so to speak. There are parks, or public grounds where nature is happening for instance that can be used as a nature walk type of field trip. Within the trip, you can participate in observable tasks and look for different things within the ecosystem you are walking through. After the field trip, you can bring the activity back into the classroom by asking questions or researching beyond what was seen and building off of your field trip. 


Elizabeth Reed Elizabeth Reed 2085 Points


I am currently a senior at the University of Northern Iowa. Recently, we did a project on field trips. The field trip I chose was going to the Community Recycling Center. I thought this was a great place for a field trip because it helps students to be aware of what they can recycle to help our planet. I didn't have a chance to actually tour the facility; however, that option was available if I were to take my students. In the tour, they show you all the big machines they use to compact the materials and the before and after looks of it. Another place I just thought of that goes along with recycling is another business in my community called Sumner Products. This place makes lids for aluminum pop cans so you can close the top, similar to what it is like while drinking out of a bottle. This would be neat for students because they get to see what happens when you recycle! Hope this helps! -Beth

Nancy Cuellar Nancy Cuellar 3195 Points


I think field trips are an excellent source of getting students engaged and are a great opportunity for students to learn new things. I think an important element to think of when planning field trips are deciding what standards and objectives you want your students to focus on. In my science methods class, I did a field trip project. For my field trip, I decided to visit the John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum. I would take my future students to this museum because it allows them to learn about agriculture as well as engineering. Some ideas for science field trips would be visiting a greenhouse, you can have students research what they know about greenhouses and how they work. I think also having them prepare questions to ask during your visit so that they are engaging themselves before exploring a greenhouse. Another great place I can think of would be taking them to a recycling plant so that they are able to learn how the process works. After visiting the recycling plant you can have students create their own process of recycling and see if they incorporate any of the processes that they learned about during their field trip.

Hope this helps!

Caroline Hunkele Caroline Hunkele 1875 Points

Hi Farah! 

Any trip you take can be connected to science. If you are looking for a low budget outting have the student walk around the community. On their way they can chart the plants or trees that they see. They can take a sketch the different parts of a community and then when you return to the school they can choose an aspect of the walk that they want to know more about and begin researching it! 

I hope this helps!


Anne Lowry Anne Lowry 8543 Points

Similar to many classes, mine has challenges with off-site trips.  However, Microsoft in the Classroom offers some great interactive Skype sessions.  Wyoming State Museum was very interactive and educational; my students still discuss what they learned!


Tyler Stark Tyler Stark 465 Points

Field trips are the most memorable experinces for young children. Taking students to greenhouses, forrests, and museums are always great options. you can even turn a local park into a science lesson, by having students think about how the park is a harbor for wildlife in an urban environment.

Brittney Ceniceros Brittney Ceniceros 10 Points

An excellent idea would be to attend a local wildlife park. This provides students an insight into a different nature environment that not all students will experience in their lifetime. It's essential to inform students about the different types of animals/plants that are filled around the area and how to preserve them to not become extinct. It will create a phenomenal experience for all students that will leave them speechless.

Question: How can teachers make a normal science field trip inside their classrooms? What are some materials that could be provided for this activity?

Caroline Cummings Caroline Cummings 160 Points

Interactive science museums are always a huge hit. Another great place to visit is the zoo to speak with the zoo keepers about habitats, in addition to the green house or a farm! My most memorable field trips was the butterfly garden and the aquarium!

Darcey Bodziony Darcey Bodziony 945 Points

There was a great science field trip that I got to observe in my students teaming called Days of Taste. It was a three day process that followed the process of a well-designed experiment and combined the subject of health and good eating all in one! A nearby farm partnered with the school to come to the school the first day and introduce the topic while giving the students different types of demonstration powders to get their taste buds flowing and practice prediction and data collections. The second day the kids went to the farm to see the process of making milk and cheese and harvesting the crops that they are growing. The third and final day, the farm comes back to the classroom alongside of a local restaurant that benefits and works with the farm to finish the investigation process and confirm or reject hypothesis. Then they get to use the foods that they learned about to create a salad that would be the best fit for your health. The combination of incorporating science, health and arts with they creation and display process works out great for the students learning benefits!

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Darcey, I would love to go on that field trip!!!

Corina Morales Corina Morales 70 Points

Hello Darcey, I am new to the NSTA website and happen to end up on your post about your 'Days of Taste' field trip. I am close to finishing my Interdisciplinary degree and will start my student teaching in the next few months. I used to work for a school district before and was given the opportunity to go on a few field trips but nothing like yours. I love how this field trip was a three step process, it allows the students to predict and like you mentioned test their individual hypothesis. Once I am an educator  I would to implement a field trip into my science lesson like this one. 

Brianna Salmond Brianna Salmond 455 Points

Hello Darcey! This is an amazing way to get students to participate as well as have fun. I would definitely love to go on a field trip like this myself. It involves an experimental process as well as a lesson on health. Covering multiple subjects is a great way to ensure that students can learn and retain information. Great suggestion! 

Ambra Asberry Ambra Asberry 65 Points

Hi Darcey!  My name is Ambra Asberry.  I'm from Houston, Texas and currently enrolled at the University of Houston Downtown for my teacher certification.  I enjoy reading your statement.  This was a great, engaging exercise for the children to explore.  In addition, it's a good way for students to learn how to eat healthy.  GREAT JOB!!!!

Brenda Velasco Mizenko Brenda Velasco 2695 Points

We studied habitats and what animals eat. We have a place here locally called Bear Country USA. We took a tour of the facility and then the nutritionist for the animals came and showed us how they prepare the meals for the bears and other animals. There was actually a Scholastic News article about how meals are prepared at zoos or animal sanctuaries. It was perfect timing with our field trip. If you have a local zoo or animal rescue place you can ask if you can take a field trip and talk about nutrition of animals .

Vanessa Gonzalez Vanessa Gonzalez 755 Points

Hi Farah, I believe informal education is extremely important for children and is very powerful for student learning. Depending on where you are located, you can utilize nature outside of the school, such as a state park, or museums. I am located in Maryland and had to opportunity to volunteer at the Maryland Science Center. During this time, I was able to observe children of all ages engage in different types of informal learning and actively engage in on-floor education. The museums also have a lot to offer on their websites for educators and provide very insightful activities that may interest you to use in your classroom. Hope this helps.

Megan Hill Megan Hill 435 Points

I think it is a great idea as well! I go to a college in NY and we love having children come and we can do workshops with them! It is hands-on learning both for the students and the college students!

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92369 Points

Megan, I'm glad you said this. From what I have seen, the college students really enjoy sharing what they are working on with the elementary students. The bonus is, some of those college students are former students of mine!

Harley Kitching Harley Kitching 617 Points

Hi Megan! I never thought of something so simple that can not only show students some really cool things about science but also open their eyes to some of the resources that are close by to help them further their understandings. It would also be cost effective because the universitys typically encourage growth of education and are happy to help grow interest in subjects which could also increase their application numbers. It is a simple and effective trip that I think everyone would be excited to go explore.

Taylor Luu Taylor Luu 365 Points

Where we do in Houston, Texas, is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! The Rodeo happens every spring and the students are able to connect with farmers, cattle, ranchers, etc. I would take my students in the future to these places because they are able to actually see the livestock animals themselves and hear from the breeder how they are raised up and fed as well. The students are able to touch and feel the cattle and even ride them if they wanted to! This shows the animals that surround our everyday community but in one place! Thanks for your post!

Kaylee Nungaray Kaylee Nungaray 3404 Points

This is so mart! I from the area as well and think this is something I may think about incorporating with class.

Shirin Nayani Shirin Nayani 405 Points

For upper elementary students a good field trip location would be the Museum of Natural Science. Because they have recently upgraded the museum and it is very student friendly and very interactive. The students would love the different stimulations that the museum has.

Katherine Chambers Katherine Chambers 2355 Points

Hello, in elementary students can have a field trip around the school if there is a garden, or just to look at some forms of life. Sometimes field trips can be expensive, but try seeing if you can visit the greenhouse or museum at the local college/university. You can also tour their lab facilities which will really fascinate the students! In Florida, there are sooo many museums. We also have the kennedy space center. Whatever state you are in, there should be planetariums or museums that would interest your students and be a great learning opportunity. If a trip can't be made to a local college, try a high school. Even to smaller children, that would be fascinating. Don't think too big, science is all around us!

Claudia Corrales Claudia Corrales 450 Points

Field trips are always a great idea to have student's engaged in a fun physical activity while they learn. It can be the zoo, a Museum, a University. I strongly feel that field trips are a fun yet different way to have the students facilitate students. I am in complete favor with field trips and as a future educator I hope to have the opportunity to take my students to as many educated field trips possible.

I work on a science museum and had the opportunity to talk to a lot of teachers that bring their classes in field trips. The museum offers classes and workshops but on my opinion those always end up a bit rushed because they are required to stick to time constrains and it's hard to move big groups of students around the museum efficiently which looses a lot of time. What I saw some teachers do and think is very effective is, they visited the museum before and came up with worksheets and a list of activity students are required to do so groups are free to roam around the museum and finish these tasks in whatever order they prefer. This option also tends to be a lot cheaper than the workshops. This allows students to experience a wider variety of activities (as opposed to one single activity in the classes and workshops) and they feel like they have more choice on their visit and choose to spend more time on the activities they like best. Some museums also offer floor facilitation (which is what I do) so you'd also get some help attending to groups that have questions. At least on my end we love when students come with a specific task and are willing to engage deeper in an activity.

Katelyn Shultz Katelyn Shultz 3430 Points

There are many ways to get your children out and interactive with a field trip to another places without the buses. Where you can take your students on a virtual field trip where they can engage and ask questions, just like this article is saying But I still feel that getting the children out and interactive but not every school has the budget and volunteers to go out and do all of the field trips. Another thing that is affordable for schools is that you can use your environment around you so that it does not break the budget for the really important field trips. this article is showing you that you can use the resources around you to make a better learning environment for your students and have room to explore.

Rene Moss Rene Moss 65 Points

I brought my students down to the local river where they collected water samples and identified the organisms they found with Dichotomous keys. They later analyzed the water samples and the wildlife they found to determine the 'health' of the ecosystem. We brought them to various sites some, some near industrial zones where the water was a bit more polluted so they can see the impact we are making on the encironment.

Sydney Compton Sydney Compton 460 Points

I think it is super important make some field trips local! This gives the students an opportunity to not only learn about the evironment but also a chance to learn about their community. I hope to help my future students become very informed and familiar with their community. You could also teach them about the history of the areas you are visiting in relation to your community. 

Alyssa Schulte Alyssa Schulte 2305 Points

I am currently student teaching here in Ohio, and last spring one of the classrooms in which I was working took a field trip to a local nature park. The students got to go on a hike and play in the creek! Volunteers from the organization that ran the park came to discuss the different creatures living in the creeks. A lot of student were apprehensive at first, but by the end of the day they all loved the creek!! They caught so many different creatures (including crawfish and a salamander) before releasing them back into the creek. The volunteers were so knowledgeable about local creek life. I would highly recommend looking into any local park districts and seeing if you could take a field trip there! 

Molly Hart Molly Hart 525 Points

Hi all,

Informal learning in any subject is important in fostering an interest and love for the content area and material. As mentioned by one of my classmates, the Maryland Science Center located in Baltimore, MD is an incredible informal learning opportunity for science education. Not only does it encompass many different forms of science, but it is very hands on and interactive learning. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with current staff members twice so far. This is a great experience for students of all different diversities. It has Spanish on many of its exhibits and is accessible to many different types of people. This would be a great place to bring students of all different levels. Thanks for the other suggestions!

Caitlyn Cobb Caitlyn Cobb 1228 Points

I have found such high-value trips come from the simplicity. My class goes to a Texas Forestry Museum every year for free, and it is always SO rewarding for them all. It is hands-on, geared to their specific age group, and focused on what the teachers have previously selected. In the past, we have also been able to explore the college campuses nearby and that has really instilled in students the steps of an education. With this, the nearby college has a planetarium and theh ability to explore their STEM building there. It seems like such a great opportunity for students of any age!

McKenna Tow McKenna Tow 2240 Points

A few field trip ideas for upper elementary students, or any students, would be to go to the recycling center, planetarium, aquarium, factory, a zoo and a firestation. These are just a few ideas. The recyling center would be a great way to introduce recycling. Students can learn a lot about how to recycle and what to recycle. A planetarium would be a great way to talk about star, planets and constellations. This would be great for upper elementary! An aquarium would be a greta place for a field trip because it would keep the students involved and help them to learn more about the ocean and what kind of creatures live there. A factory would also be a great place to take students. A factory would help the upper elementary students to learn more about how jobs work and how everything in a factory works. A zoo would be great for students of all ages. They could learn about certain types of animals and where those animals are from. A firestation would be an absolutely great place to take upper elementary kids because they are very fascinated with what they want to be when they grow up. Going to a firestation can also help them to learn about fire saftey. 

Paige Kayvan Paige Kayvan 2740 Points

Hey Farah! 

I am currently studying Elementary Education at the University of Northern Iowa. I think field trips are a great and fun learning opportunity for students. There are so many different types of field trips you can take with your students. I think it depends on what standards and unit you are focusing on to make a choice of a field trip location. I think some general great options would be a local waterplant, recyling center, nature preserves, and greenhouses. I recently did a project on a field trip. I chose a greenhouse for my field trip. I designed my field trip for 2nd graders, and the standards aligned great with it! Good luck!


Hayle Gaul Hayle Gaul 1715 Points


If you live close to a university you could visit their science department, or you could pair with a science teaching in your high school to create a field trip to a high school classroom in your school district. You may even be able to walk there! You could then have them pair with a high school student to do an experiment that connects to both grades standards. Universities often have botanic gardens that offer an experience to students about plants from different climates. 


Hope this helps!

Tori Jones Tori Jones 1138 Points

My 5th grade students learning about helpful and harmful microorganisms were quite interested in the Waste Water Treatment Facility. Since it was local, we were able to go there during our regular class period. We also took a visit to the Water Treatment Plant. Both were very engaging, but I think the Waste Water Treatment Facility was their favorite between the two. And they asked great questions!

Amy Kelley Amy Kelley 2420 Points

I don't know what age group this is for, but my son's 2nd grade class goes to a local game reserve every year and explores the reserve.  They explore the reserve.  They look for wildlife, collect leaves and look at the different trees, take a tour, and eat lunch there.  It is just a couple miles from their school and is an all day field trip for students.  My son's teacher has already started talking to the kids about it as she teaches different science topics.  He is already so excited for the trip.

Viridiana Ramirez Viridiana Ramirez 190 Points

Hi Ambra and Darcey, 

my name is Viridiana Ramirez, and I am from Edinburg, Tx. I am currently enrolled at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. I am very excited to have my certify teaching for bilingual. It's very helpful for students to experience field trips during elementary school because it can be used for them when they grow. Also, it will engage them to explore other things besides being in school or house. 


Jeremy Goforth Jeremy Goforth 1456 Points

One of our local state universities has an annual science day. I just learned about it this year, and our school was able to take science and AVID students to attend on a Saturday. It was open from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. It was awesome. We were met by student ambassadors who accompanied our group for the entire day. There were at least two buildings with chemistry, physical science, health science and other exhibits. Each classroom had a theme and separate exhibits for the students to explore. There were current students on hand, and faculty to engage the students and to answer questions. We had a room set aside for our student group to eat lunch in. The students loved it and I felt that they got so much out of it. The event was open to the community. We will definitely be going again next year.

Martin Weiss Martin Weiss 20 Points

How was this fair made safe for everybody? Martin On Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 4:36 PM NSTA Learning Center wrote: >

Harley Kitching Harley Kitching 617 Points

I really like all the ideas mentioned here. I don't know all the policies for the school I will be working for in the fall, but in south Georgia we have a lot of nature parks and universities to visit in order to create an educational experience for our students. I look forward to exploring some of the ideas mentioned and see what opportunities I can create for my students to get out of the classroom and be able to explore science in a real world way. When I was in school, I really enjoyed all the field trips we were able to go on, so I know it is exciting for students to get out of school but still be learning.

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