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?