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Informal Science

"Field trips"

Author Post
Francesca Blanco Francesca Blanco 405 Points

Although field trips are one of the most exciting and fun ways to learn, unfortunately, they are not always realistic due to a lack of funding and/or lack of time before testing begins. However, I think that in-house field trips can be just as effective for students since the exciting part of it all is definitely the change of environment/scenery! A visit to the school garden or playground can easily be turned into a science lesson. Inviting guest speakers is also a way for students to see science content being used and delivered in real life. Any other in-house field trip suggestions? 

Samantha Montoya Samantha Montoya 180 Points

Hello Francesca!

     I remember this fun acctivity my classroom participated in when I was in fourth grade. We were learning about the solar system and we took a sort of "in-house" fieldtrip. Our teacher took us to the big open field next to the cafeteria/phisycal education buildings. We placed a representation of the sun on the upmost corner of the field, then she helped us take steps. Each step represented a unit of measurement I cannot remember, something like, each step equals "x" amount of miles. We placed a representation for every planet after completing the corresponding number of steps/miles. I remember being shocked and overall overwhelmed by the amount of steps we took and how far away we were from the sun once we put down pluto. Pluto was still a planet back then. I am very grateful for a science teacher that allowed us to participate in science. I retained a lot of the science knowledge from her classroom specifically. I also noticed that you mentioned a school garden. Do you have a school garden in your school? How can I go about starting a school garden at my school? Who gets to care for it? Do you suggest any activities or resourcces I can use?

Jennifer Montoya Jennifer Montoya 440 Points

Hi Francesca! 


I remember when I was in elementary and I would get so excited to go on field trips. I am a very visual and kinethetic type of learner, so field trips were fun and an easy way for me to learn. I love your idea of "in-house" field trips, I had never thought of that, and think it would be a great way to keep the kids learning at home. I would suggest a fun project like creating slime or something simple, yet fun and educational for them to try and do at home. 

Tsz Lai Tsz Ching Lai 4255 Points

Hi Francesca!

I also think that in-house field trips could be as effective as regular field trips. It's something that I haven't thought about until you brought it up, but it is a very good idea! When I was in elementary school, my school would sometimes hire musicians or storytellers in to talk with us, as well as local policemen and firemen. Even though my classmate and I were not technically out of the classroom, it was still a fun learning experience. I think another good in-house field trip is if we could get parents to visit and bring in items or food from their homes to share their culture. This was done recently in a school that I am student-teaching in for a Thanksgiving party and everybody had such a fun time. 

Anne Lowry Anne Lowry 7425 Points

Hi everyone.  I love in house field trips. Because wehicular trasnportation is a challgne, we can only do walking field trips....and there are not that many palces within walking distance.

So I do a lot of in-house where I invite speakers in.  Most are very gracious about coming.  I try to give them a list of student questions a week or so in advance to help.  We have had the water department, department of wildlife, architects and engineers, doctors, dentists.

Using your families is an often overlooked resource.  In addition to talking about jobs, they are great for cultural and travel resources.  One of my students last year had a grandfather who had had to travel a lot for work and had lots of interesting stories to share

Virtual field trips are another avenue.  Skyping, webcams, online programs by natrue centers and museums are always good to do when relevant to what we are studying

And if you are doing an auhtor study in conjuction with your science work, don't ignore authros websites.  Sometimes they will come and read stories at school; other times you can just listen to the author read.  All very good

Next fall, Science and Chidlren, is doing a themed issue Beyond the Field Trip.  That should have a lot of excellent ideas and resources as well


Have fun!


Zach Millan Zach Millan 629 Points

Sometimes I feel an in-house field trip can be even more exciting for kids, since they can see the science that they pass by daily and be able to view that location in a new way! One in-class field trip we have done was going to our school's soccer field near the wooded area and had students observe the forestry lining the field. Students were able to see the plant and animal interactions in front of them and create predictions on the food web structure of our school. Afterwards, students would walk by this forested area and continue to add to their predictions previously made in class!

Lily Albertson Lily Albertson 530 Points

Many schools I have been to have been near wooded areas or had trees of some sort on campus. You could take the students on a field trip to observe the ecosystems in those areas. They can see how the animals interact with each other and the environment. You can then have them get a little creative a draw what they saw to refer back to later. From their drawing and observations, they can expand on their knowledge of food webs. 

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