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Informal Science

After the field trip

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Ashley Dang Ashley 2718 Points

I teach outdoor science at a residential site. We are generally viewed as a "weeklong field trip to science camp" (4th-6th grade levels), and we teach to NGSS and state standards. As a "field trip" educator, I have never been able to witness the long-term retention or learning of my students. I am curious what effect informal science field trips (museums, science camps, nature centers) have on students who participate in them.

If or when your students go on an informal science field trip, what are the most important things you want them to leave with? Should content or experience with scientific practices  be a higher priority in these settings? Do you use these types of field trips to introduce your students to concepts, or to reinforce them after teaching? Do you see an increase in retention for students who attend informal science field trips?

I am also interested in research surrounding the use and efficacy of informal education, especially field trips, in teaching. Does anyone have any leads on this?

Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5595 Points

NSTA has a few articles you may find useful:

Outside of NSTA, here are other resources:

Drew Foster Drew Foster 2640 Points

I beleive that one of the most important things for students to leave with is excitement about a certain content related to the field trip so that teachers can in return expand and build off the field trip itself. This could be ecosystems and all the moving parts within it. It can be expanded on and stair stepped into other topics such as predators and prey. Another thing within the field trips would be trying to relate it to the students lives. This will allow the field trip to stick with them more because of their prior knowledge or knowledge form their personal lives is being brought in. 

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