Field trips are an important part of any child’s education. After all, sitting in a class reading about a subject is all well and good, but experiencing it firsthand is a great way to have it firmly sit in their memories for years to come. That said, field trips can be difficult to organize, and finding the right places to go to get the maximum benefit for your students can cause a lot of head-scratching.
What are the Benefits of Taking Your Class on a Field Trip?
If you were still undecided, there are plenty of benefits to taking your class on a field trip, but there are four that stand out:
#1 Allows the class to get ‘up close with the subject matter
As has already been pointed out, not every child will get the best from a subject while sitting in a classroom. This will be because some will be kinaesthetic learners, but in general, there is very little that can’t be understood better by getting hands-on.
#2 Increases motivation
The experience of visiting a place in person, or handling the subject matter (like a moon rock or a neolithic flint axe) is likely to make the child more motivated to learn more. In addition, the fact that you have left the classroom to visit somewhere can it seem more important in the child’s mind.
#3 Increases good behavior
The equation is simple here - a child that is engrossed in what they are doing, or learning is less likely to act out. Chances are they are also having fun, which means that any frustrations they might normally feel about being confined to a classroom are not a factor
#4 Open them up to new ideas
Field trips can offer new experiences to children that give them new ideas or start them on a career path. For instance, seeing cattle on a farm trip might have some thinking about where their burger came from, or inspire a child to become a vet when they grow up.
Places to Take Your Class on Field Trips
Now you are fully aware of the reason why you should not just be teaching your students from out of a book, you need to find places to go that are worthy of their attention.
A space field trip
This does not, unfortunately, involve going into space yourself, but it does include plenty of subject matter that will expand your students’ minds. This immersive experience can involve virtual reality to explore space and the science involved. This includes a look at space exploration and other STEM-related content, to make the idea of space field trips more appealing than ever to children.
A local theater
This should engage more children than just the literary and drama students, as there is much more to theatre than what happens on the stage. There is lighting, music, costume make-up, and stage management that children will find fascinating, even if the actual content of the play might not be to their taste. Many field trips like this can also include a workshop with the actors, so they can also learn what it could be like to break in to show businesses.
A forest, farm, or outdoor center
The goal here is to get children who might live in a city or the suburbs to get an insight into a more rural lifestyle and the factors involved. They could learn more about where their food comes from or the environmental impact of their activities on the world around them. They could learn to understand ecosystems, or just see and form bonds with animals they might only have seen on TV. This is, of course, without the obvious benefits of fresh air and sunlight on their physical and mental health.
A Few Final Thoughts
Field trips for any class will have a number of benefits other than simply having a better understanding of the subject matter. It can increase motivation and encourage good behavior among students who do not get the best from classroom learning. The trip can also open their young minds to ideas that could shape their futures.
Finding places that can do all of these things won’t be easy, and deciding on somewhere that is a good fit for everybody might seem almost impossible. However, taking a trip to a farm or outdoor center should pique the interest of almost anybody – and a trip to a theater group has much more to it than meets the eye. You could also pick something that makes STEM interesting to all children, by showing them more about what happens in space.