Why Take Field Trips

For Teachers: Why Take Field Trips?

Field trips expand children’s learning through active hands-on experience with the rich resources of the local community. Field trips increase student knowledge and understanding of a subject and add realism to the topic of study. Good planning precedes meaningful field trips. Careful attention should be given to trip selection, pre-visit preparation, the trip itself, appropriate follow up, and evaluation. When considering a field trip, teachers are advised to first consult with their administrator regarding existing school board policies and follow those recommended procedures.

Trip Selection

  1. Identify the rationale, objectives and plan of evaluation for the field trip.
  2. Select the site to be visited. Contact the educational coordinator for the site and arrange the date and time. Obtain the pre-trip information package if one is available. Record addresses, directions, contact persons, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
  3. Conduct a pre-visit to familiarize yourself with the major features of the field trip. Purchase postcards and posters. Take digital photographs to share with students prior to the visit. Explore the exhibition(s) you plan to visit to get ideas for pre field trip activities.

Logistics Planning

  1. Apply for administrative approval from departmental chairperson, curriculum administrator, or building principal
  2. File requisition for bus transportation reservation
  3. Make arrangements for meal or sack lunch if needed
  4. Develop schedule for the day
  5. Arrange for special equipment -supplies, film, video camera, digital camera
  6. Prepare name tags for students and chaperones
  7. Collect money for admission fees
  8. Compose parent permission letter including
    • Date and location of field trip and transportation arrangements
    • Educational purpose of field trip
    • Provision for special needs students
    • Cost
    • Clothing for the trip
    • Lunch arrangements
    • Money needed
    • Trip schedule
    • Whether a child will need prescribed medication administered
    • Parent signature
  9. Send a letter to parents or include in the class newsletter a request for help as chaperones, communicate assigned duties/responsibilities, review field trip objectives, and list activities and schedule.
  10. Provide alternative arrangements for pupils who will not be going on the trip.
  11. Inform the cafeteria staff if students will be away during the lunch hour.
  12. Submit a list of students who will be attending the field trip to other teachers if their schedules will be affected.
  13. Collect the money for the trip and deposit it in your school’s account. If required, send the advanced fee to the field trip site.
  14. Create a list of all student names and home phone numbers for use in an emergency.

Preparing Students Before the Trip

  1. Discuss the purpose of the field trip and how it relates to the current unit of study.
  2. Introduce visual observation skills. Let students describe in detail ordinary objects, like a paper clip, paintbrush, clothespin, or comb to their classmates.
  3. Introduce vocabulary words that will be used by docents during the tour.
  4. Show photographs or posters of the field trip site or related to exhibits that will be viewed.
  5. Assign students “specialists” roles in one aspect of the topic that they will be studying during the field trip. Students could be grouped in different subject areas related to the field trip topic to research (e.g., history, art, religion, science, environment, etc).
  6. Explore the Website of the location you will be visiting.
  7. As a class brainstorm a set of standards of conduct for the trip and discuss suggested spending money, lunch plans, appropriate clothing to wear for the trip including gear for rainy weather.
  8. Discuss with students how to ask good questions and brainstorm a list of open-ended observation questions to gather information during the visit. Record questions on chart paper or in student field trip journals.

Final Planning –

Check all permission slips the day before the field trip.