Have a field trip planned for your class? Don’t forget to prepare them with some activities that get the thinking about what they’ll see. Taking some time to prepare the students with the activities can make the field trip more meaningful and educational for your kids.
Tapping Into Knowledge
Before you head to your field trip destination, do a little assessment to see what the kids already know. Most field trips are somewhat related to the things you teach in class so they should have some background knowledge. Do a KWL chart before going. In the “K” column, record what the kids already know about the field trip destination or the topic it covers. Under “W”, write what the kids want to learn on the field trip. After you get back, you can fill out the “L” column with things they learned.
Previewing the Destination
Another way to get ready is to give the kids a taste of what they’ll see and do on the field trip. Visit the website for the destination if one is available. Discuss the types of exhibits or activities the kids will do. Show pictures of the destination so they have an idea of what to expect. You might also read some non-fiction books about something related to the field trip spot. For example, if you’re visiting a historic battlefield site, you might read a book about that battle.
Are the kids simply observing on the field trip or will they be doing an assignment or activity? Having a specific activity, even something like a scavenger hunt, can help the kids focus their attention on the trip. If you plan to do a specific activity, go over it with the students so they know what to do. This will save you time on field trip day.
Also discuss specific responsibilities of students. For example, you might have two students in charge of carrying all of the lunches onto the bus. If you assign partners for the trip, do it ahead of time. Let the kids know they are responsible for keeping track of their partners throughout the field trip.
Another activity to do is explain to the students your behavior expectations for the trip. This can cut down on behavior problems when you are away from school. Discuss things like staying together as a group, listening for discussions and being respectful to all people and things. Let the kids know what will happen if they don’t follow your behavior expectations.