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Informal Science

Museum Trips

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Jane Kim Jane Kim 2130 Points

Hi - I recently had an experience with a field assignment teacher who took her students on a field trip to a local museum. A couple of the students who were unable to go because they haven't turned in their permission slips or they didn't want to. Since it was only two students, the teacher decided to put them in another classroom until the others came back from the field trip. How do you think the teacher should have approached this problem? It's not fair to the ones who did get their permission slips signed and want to go, and it's also an educational experience for students to visit museums with historical information. Let me know if you have any ideas! Thanks. Jane

Jessica Orozco Jessica Orozco 1140 Points

There is really nothing the teacher could do. It is by law that without those permission slips the students cannot go. In any case for those students that did went could tell their classmates two to three things they learned about.

Cassidy Henle Cassidy Henle 2150 Points

Hello Jane,

Unfortunetly, the teacher wouldn't have been able to take the students on the field trip with out guardian consent.  Reaching out to the students parents and meeting face-to-face may be a good option, to find out their reservatiosns. You never know, maybe they could be resolved.

Otherwise, there are some great online field trips that the students could 'go on'.Take a look at these links: Discovery education  or Google for Education! You could also give the students (who did get to go)  a mission to bring the field trip to them. They could do this by taking videos and pictures and writing about things they learned to share with the students who couldn't go. 

Ezra Hidaya Ezra Hidaya 65 Points


Raechel Waddy Raechel Waddy 965 Points

In my experience, I have always worked at Title I schools and therefore have run into this problem multiple times. For each science field trip that I orchestrated my department would include an option to 'donate' funds for students who could not afford the trip but still wanted to go. The hardest part was finding out which children wanted to go and those who simply did not care to go. We instituted multiple methods such as having the parent liaison contact certain students or collecting money separately from the permission slip, and then contacting students who didn't follow up and pay. Also, I do not know what the teacher left for those students remaining at the school but guided virtual field trips are easy to create or find online so that students still get a version of the same experience.

Demi Andrews Demi Andrews 685 Points

I think other than reaching out to the parents and making them aware of the education opportunity their child may be missing out on, there is not much you can do. Maybe after the field trip you could have a class discussion about everything the students learned on a the museum so the students that didn't get to go could still learn something from the trip. 

Stephanie Lobo Stephanie Lobo 435 Points

The teacher acted correctly. Even if the teacher believes this is the best opportunity for the students to learn, rules are rules. It would be unfortunate if something were two happen to those two students outside of the classroom, when they were never allowed to leave. Hopefully, the teacher gave those students work that relates to whatever the field trip may have covered. -Stephanie L.

Rebecca Brockman Rebecca Brockman 885 Points

I think that the teacher approached the problem in a reasonable way. The students were going to feel left out regardless because they were not with the class. This way they get to spend the days still part of a class. It would have been unfair for them to just sit in the office all day.

Scott Williams Scott Williams 490 Points

There's not much the teacher can do in this situation (as far as the trip goes). Students who do not return their permission slips are legally not allowed to go on the trip. However, the teacher should have something planned for just such an occasion. Even though students could not go on the field trip does not mean that they should not have some sort of an educational experience that day in school. This does not mean they will be doing worksheets all day. Instead, the teacher should have designed some sort of "fun" activity related to what students on the field trip would be learning. Maybe a scavenger hunt for items related to the field trip experience.

Brittney Geelhaar Brittney Geelhaar 760 Points

I actually just experienced this in the school that I'm interning for. Every year, the school plans a 4-day field trip to an adventure camp to learn about the Chesapeake Bay, its ecosystems, and how our actions affect them. This, of course, requires a permission slip in order for students to attend. A group of students were unable to turn in their permission slips, and thus couldn't participate. As an alternative, the teacher put together packets about the Chesapeake Bay that the students would complete while sitting in other classes in order for them to still gain the necessary information. While it is certainly not fair that the students left behind have to learn in this manner (especially if it wasn't their choice to stay behind), there isn't much of an alternative, though I do agree the alternative activities should be more engaging than a packet of worksheets. One thing that occurred to me is **if** the museum permits photography/ recording (some do), perhaps a student could volunteer to document the experience in order to show the other students upon return? Like a vlog of sorts? Or, as mentioned above, an oral/ written 'report' could also suffice in filling them in.

Chase Shikada Chase Shikada 595 Points

Hi Jane,

As others have mentioned, without the permission form the teacher can't take the students on the field trip.  If these are kids who consistently don't get permission, the teacher could look into virtual field trips.  The class would stay on campus and depending on the virtual field trip, there can be narrated tours or self-paced explorations.   

Hello Jane,


In this case, I don’t think the teacher had a choice. Teachers cannot take students on field trips with out guardian consent. I think it is important to give those students alternative learning opportunities as similar to the learning opportunities the other students had at the museum. The teacher could have taken photos for the students, and/or the students could have taken a virtual field trip” - National Geogrphic offers some interesting options! 


I hope that offers an alternative assignment that is meaningful for students! 

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