What are some ideas for science field trips that will be helpful for higher elementary students? I want to ensure that students are learning and are productive throughout the trip. Any possible science related location would be helpful!

Farah Aziz
Farah Aziz
1035 Activity Points

I believe in taking field trips that are in our own backyard. If you happen to have a state park close by, or some type of industrial plant, and a college or university, those are great places that help students connect to their community. I work with the dean of engineering at our local university and take an entire grade level, about 75 students, to spend the day in the engineering and chemistry departments. The dean sets everything up on his end and I schedule the buses and get the lunches organized from the cafeteria or students bring their own. The classes rotate through different classrooms and the university students lead some of the lessons. We've learned about wind tunnels, robotics, polymers, biochemistry with real live alligators. The state park is about 20 minutes from most of the schools so we pack our lunches and get on the bus. Each student has a clipboard and a pencil tied to the clipboard in their backpacks. I have a box with handouts, field guides, magnifying glasses, thermometers, etc. (I encourage parents to come if possible and give them jobs to do.) The other teachers, even if they aren't science teachers, are assigned to a team and given the parameters of what has to be accomplished at the site. We went about a month ago and found an alligator slide. (It's a place where the grass is matted down by the weight of the alligator when they come up on the bank to warm up before they slide back into the water to cool off again.) We are always looking for evidence of wildlife. I also invite people to come to the school to give a demonstration and answer questions. Last year, I invited 3 engineers to come speak with 150 4th and 5th graders about their jobs. In the initial invitation I requested that they share what types of activities they like to do when they were around the same age as the students. I also made sure I had female engineers too. We went over with the students what types of questions were appropriate and asking about someone's salary is not appropriate. You might contact museums that are either in town or less than an hour away to see if they offer something for upper elementary students.

Pamela Dupre
Pam Dupre
87174 Activity Points

I think there are many places you can go for field trips, even if they are not a well known museum or something of that nature. We used to go on field trips that were simply exploring the prairie by our school. Science is fairly easy in that sense, you can walk outside and there is science all around you.

Allison Gandrup
Allison Gandrup
3790 Activity Points

Pam, I really like your idea of visiting a local university with students! I know from experience that children at this age look up to young adults, which provides a much greater chance for the students to listen! A great idea for them would be to visit the greenhouse (in the university has one) or, doing something even in a science class, or EL ED methods course.

Haley Wiebenga
Haley Wiebenga
1343 Activity Points

Hello there, I think that a good place to go beside the museums are places that are innate/traditional to that region. For me, it is the Rodeo since we are in Texas and the kids learnt so much from it! Best regards An Vu

An Vu
An Vu
340 Activity Points

Taking students to the zoo may be a good idea for a field trip because they can learn about many science subjects in there. They can learn about life cycles, what do animals eat, what habitat is the most convenient for animals, what they eat and much more. Also, most zoo have butterflies and reptiles section which can be very fascinating for children.

Ambar Fernandez
Ambar Fernandez
210 Activity Points

Interactive science museums are always a huge hit. Another great place to visit is the zoo to speak with the zoo keepers about habitats, in addition to the green house or a farm! My most memorable field trips was the butterfly garden and the aquarium!

Caroline Cummings
Caroline Cummings
160 Activity Points

There was a great science field trip that I got to observe in my students teaming called Days of Taste. It was a three day process that followed the process of a well-designed experiment and combined the subject of health and good eating all in one! A nearby farm partnered with the school to come to the school the first day and introduce the topic while giving the students different types of demonstration powders to get their taste buds flowing and practice prediction and data collections. The second day the kids went to the farm to see the process of making milk and cheese and harvesting the crops that they are growing. The third and final day, the farm comes back to the classroom alongside of a local restaurant that benefits and works with the farm to finish the investigation process and confirm or reject hypothesis. Then they get to use the foods that they learned about to create a salad that would be the best fit for your health. The combination of incorporating science, health and arts with they creation and display process works out great for the students learning benefits!

Darcey Bodziony
Darcey Bodziony
945 Activity Points

Darcey, I would love to go on that field trip!!!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87174 Activity Points

Hello Darcey, I am new to the NSTA website and happen to end up on your post about your "Days of Taste' field trip. I am close to finishing my Interdisciplinary degree and will start my student teaching in the next few months. I used to work for a school district before and was given the opportunity to go on a few field trips but nothing like yours. I love how this field trip was a three step process, it allows the students to predict and like you mentioned test their individual hypothesis. Once I am an educator  I would to implement a field trip into my science lesson like this one. 

Corina Morales
Corina Morales
55 Activity Points

We studied habitats and what animals eat. We have a place here locally called Bear Country USA. We took a tour of the facility and then the nutritionist for the animals came and showed us how they prepare the meals for the bears and other animals. There was actually a Scholastic News article about how meals are prepared at zoos or animal sanctuaries. It was perfect timing with our field trip. If you have a local zoo or animal rescue place you can ask if you can take a field trip and talk about nutrition of animals .

Brenda Velasco
Brenda Velasco
2470 Activity Points

Hi Farah, I believe informal education is extremely important for children and is very powerful for student learning. Depending on where you are located, you can utilize nature outside of the school, such as a state park, or museums. I am located in Maryland and had to opportunity to volunteer at the Maryland Science Center. During this time, I was able to observe children of all ages engage in different types of informal learning and actively engage in on-floor education. The museums also have a lot to offer on their websites for educators and provide very insightful activities that may interest you to use in your classroom. Hope this helps.

Vanessa Gonzalez
Vanessa Gonzalez
755 Activity Points

I think it is a great idea as well! I go to a college in NY and we love having children come and we can do workshops with them! It is hands-on learning both for the students and the college students!

Megan Hill
Megan Hill
435 Activity Points

Megan, I'm glad you said this. From what I have seen, the college students really enjoy sharing what they are working on with the elementary students. The bonus is, some of those college students are former students of mine!

Pamela Dupre
Pamela Dupre
87174 Activity Points

Where we do in Houston, Texas, is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo! The Rodeo happens every spring and the students are able to connect with farmers, cattle, ranchers, etc. I would take my students in the future to these places because they are able to actually see the livestock animals themselves and hear from the breeder how they are raised up and fed as well. The students are able to touch and feel the cattle and even ride them if they wanted to! This shows the animals that surround our everyday community but in one place! Thanks for your post!

Taylor Luu
Taylor Luu
365 Activity Points

This is so mart! I from the area as well and think this is something I may think about incorporating with class.

Kaylee Nungaray
Kaylee Nungaray
3394 Activity Points

For upper elementary students a good field trip location would be the Museum of Natural Science. Because they have recently upgraded the museum and it is very student friendly and very interactive. The students would love the different stimulations that the museum has.

Shirin Nayani
Shirin Nayani
405 Activity Points

Hello, in elementary students can have a field trip around the school if there is a garden, or just to look at some forms of life. Sometimes field trips can be expensive, but try seeing if you can visit the greenhouse or museum at the local college/university. You can also tour their lab facilities which will really fascinate the students! In Florida, there are sooo many museums. We also have the kennedy space center. Whatever state you are in, there should be planetariums or museums that would interest your students and be a great learning opportunity. If a trip can't be made to a local college, try a high school. Even to smaller children, that would be fascinating. Don't think too big, science is all around us!

Katherine Chambers
Katherine Chambers
2355 Activity Points

Field trips are always a great idea to have student's engaged in a fun physical activity while they learn. It can be the zoo, a Museum, a University. I strongly feel that field trips are a fun yet different way to have the students facilitate students. I am in complete favor with field trips and as a future educator I hope to have the opportunity to take my students to as many educated field trips possible.

Claudia Corrales
Claudia Corrales
450 Activity Points

I work on a science museum and had the opportunity to talk to a lot of teachers that bring their classes in field trips. The museum offers classes and workshops but on my opinion those always end up a bit rushed because they are required to stick to time constrains and it's hard to move big groups of students around the museum efficiently which looses a lot of time. What I saw some teachers do and think is very effective is, they visited the museum before and came up with worksheets and a list of activity students are required to do so groups are free to roam around the museum and finish these tasks in whatever order they prefer. This option also tends to be a lot cheaper than the workshops. This allows students to experience a wider variety of activities (as opposed to one single activity in the classes and workshops) and they feel like they have more choice on their visit and choose to spend more time on the activities they like best. Some museums also offer floor facilitation (which is what I do) so you'd also get some help attending to groups that have questions. At least on my end we love when students come with a specific task and are willing to engage deeper in an activity.

Beatriz Santos Lima de Moraes
Beatriz Santos Lima de Moraes
30 Activity Points

There are many ways to get your children out and interactive with a field trip to another places without the buses. Where you can take your students on a virtual field trip where they can engage and ask questions, just like this article is saying http://static.nsta.org/files/ss1109_52.pdf But I still feel that getting the children out and interactive but not every school has the budget and volunteers to go out and do all of the field trips. Another thing that is affordable for schools is that you can use your environment around you so that it does not break the budget for the really important field trips. http://common.nsta.org/resource/?id=10.2505/9780873550987 this article is showing you that you can use the resources around you to make a better learning environment for your students and have room to explore.

Katelyn Shultz
Katelyn Shultz
3430 Activity Points

I brought my students down to the local river where they collected water samples and identified the organisms they found with Dichotomous keys. They later analyzed the water samples and the wildlife they found to determine the 'health' of the ecosystem. We brought them to various sites some, some near industrial zones where the water was a bit more polluted so they can see the impact we are making on the encironment.

Rene Moss
Rene Moss
55 Activity Points

I think it is super important make some field trips local! This gives the students an opportunity to not only learn about the evironment but also a chance to learn about their community. I hope to help my future students become very informed and familiar with their community. You could also teach them about the history of the areas you are visiting in relation to your community. 

Sydney Compton
Sydney Compton
440 Activity Points

I am currently student teaching here in Ohio, and last spring one of the classrooms in which I was working took a field trip to a local nature park. The students got to go on a hike and play in the creek! Volunteers from the organization that ran the park came to discuss the different creatures living in the creeks. A lot of student were apprehensive at first, but by the end of the day they all loved the creek!! They caught so many different creatures (including crawfish and a salamander) before releasing them back into the creek. The volunteers were so knowledgeable about local creek life. I would highly recommend looking into any local park districts and seeing if you could take a field trip there! 

Alyssa Schulte
Alyssa Schulte
2025 Activity Points

Hi all,

Informal learning in any subject is important in fostering an interest and love for the content area and material. As mentioned by one of my classmates, the Maryland Science Center located in Baltimore, MD is an incredible informal learning opportunity for science education. Not only does it encompass many different forms of science, but it is very hands on and interactive learning. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with current staff members twice so far. This is a great experience for students of all different diversities. It has Spanish on many of its exhibits and is accessible to many different types of people. This would be a great place to bring students of all different levels. Thanks for the other suggestions!

Molly Hart
Molly Hart
170 Activity Points

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