Education Next

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  • Vol. 14, No. 1

The Educational Value of Field Trips

field trip study

Jay P. Greene

field trip study

Brian Kisida

field trip study

Daniel H. Bowen

Jay P. Greene joined EdNext Editor-in-chief Marty West to discuss the benefits of field trips, including how seeing live theater is a more enriching experience to students, on the EdNext podcast .

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Crystal Bridges; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; School Tour © 2013 Stephen Ironside/Ironside Photography Bo Bartlett – “The Box” –  2002 • Oil on Linen • 82 x 100 – Photographer is Karen Mauch

The school field trip has a long history in American public education. For decades, students have piled into yellow buses to visit a variety of cultural institutions, including art, natural history, and science museums, as well as theaters, zoos, and historical sites. Schools gladly endured the expense and disruption of providing field trips because they saw these experiences as central to their educational mission: schools exist not only to provide economically useful skills in numeracy and literacy, but also to produce civilized young men and women who would appreciate the arts and culture. More-advantaged families may take their children to these cultural institutions outside of school hours, but less-advantaged students are less likely to have these experiences if schools do not provide them. With field trips, public schools viewed themselves as the great equalizer in terms of access to our cultural heritage.

Today, culturally enriching field trips are in decline. Museums across the country report a steep drop in school tours. For example, the Field Museum in Chicago at one time welcomed more than 300,000 students every year. Recently the number is below 200,000. Between 2002 and 2007, Cincinnati arts organizations saw a 30 percent decrease in student attendance. A survey by the American Association of School Administrators found that more than half of schools eliminated planned field trips in 2010–11.

The decision to reduce culturally enriching field trips reflects a variety of factors. Financial pressures force schools to make difficult decisions about how to allocate scarce resources, and field trips are increasingly seen as an unnecessary frill. Greater focus on raising student performance on math and reading standardized tests may also lead schools to cut field trips. Some schools believe that student time would be better spent in the classroom preparing for the exams. When schools do organize field trips, they are increasingly choosing to take students on trips to reward them for working hard to improve their test scores rather than to provide cultural enrichment. Schools take students to amusement parks, sporting events, and movie theaters instead of to museums and historical sites. This shift from “enrichment” to “reward” field trips is reflected in a generational change among teachers about the purposes of these outings. In a 2012‒13 survey we conducted of nearly 500 Arkansas teachers, those who had been teaching for at least 15 years were significantly more likely to believe that the primary purpose of a field trip is to provide a learning opportunity, while more junior teachers were more likely to see the primary purpose as “enjoyment.”

If schools are de-emphasizing culturally enriching field trips, has anything been lost as a result? Surprisingly, we have relatively little rigorous evidence about how field trips affect students. The research presented here is the first large-scale randomized-control trial designed to measure what students learn from school tours of an art museum.

We find that students learn quite a lot. In particular, enriching field trips contribute to the development of students into civilized young men and women who possess more knowledge about art, have stronger critical-thinking skills, exhibit increased historical empathy, display higher levels of tolerance, and have a greater taste for consuming art and culture.

Design of the Study and School Tours

The 2011 opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Northwest Arkansas created the opportunity for this study. Crystal Bridges is the first major art museum to be built in the United States in the last four decades, with more than 50,000 square feet of gallery space and an endowment in excess of $800 million. Portions of the museum’s endowment are devoted to covering all of the expenses associated with school tours. Crystal Bridges reimburses schools for the cost of buses, provides free admission and lunch, and even pays for the cost of substitute teachers to cover for teachers who accompany students on the tour.

Because the tour is completely free to schools, and because Crystal Bridges was built in an area that never previously had an art museum, there was high demand for school tours. Not all school groups could be accommodated right away. So our research team worked with the staff at Crystal Bridges to assign spots for school tours by lottery. During the first two semesters of the school tour program, the museum received 525 applications from school groups representing 38,347 students in kindergarten through grade 12. We created matched pairs among the applicant groups based on similarity in grade level and other demographic factors. An ideal and common matched pair would be adjacent grades in the same school. We then randomly ordered the matched pairs to determine scheduling prioritization. Within each pair, we randomly assigned which applicant would be in the treatment group and receive a tour that semester and which would be in the control group and have its tour deferred.

We administered surveys to 10,912 students and 489 teachers at 123 different schools three weeks, on average, after the treatment group received its tour. The student surveys included multiple items assessing knowledge about art as well as measures of critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance, and sustained interest in visiting art museums. Some groups were surveyed as late as eight weeks after the tour, but it was not possible to collect data after longer periods because each control group was guaranteed a tour during the following semester as a reward for its cooperation. There is no indication that the results reported below faded for groups surveyed after longer periods.

We also assessed students’ critical-thinking skills by asking them to write a short essay in response to a painting that they had not previously seen. Finally, we collected a behavioral measure of interest in art consumption by providing all students with a coded coupon good for free family admission to a special exhibit at the museum to see whether the field trip increased the likelihood of students making future visits.

All results reported below are derived from regression models that control for student grade level and gender and make comparisons within each matched pair, while taking into account the fact that students in the matched pair of applicant groups are likely to be similar in ways that we are unable to observe. Standard validity tests confirmed that the survey items employed to generate the various scales used as outcomes measured the same underlying constructs.

The intervention we studied is a modest one. Students received a one-hour tour of the museum in which they typically viewed and discussed five paintings. Some students were free to roam the museum following their formal tour, but the entire experience usually involved less than half a day. Instructional materials were sent to teachers who went on a tour, but our survey of teachers suggests that these materials received relatively little attention, on average no more than an hour of total class time. The discussion of each painting during the tour was largely student-directed, with the museum educators facilitating the discourse and providing commentary beyond the names of the work and the artist and a brief description only when students requested it. This format is now the norm in school tours of art museums. The aversion to having museum educators provide information about works of art is motivated in part by progressive education theories and by a conviction among many in museum education that students retain very little factual information from their tours.

Recalling Tour Details. Our research suggests that students actually retain a great deal of factual information from their tours. Students who received a tour of the museum were able to recall details about the paintings they had seen at very high rates. For example, 88 percent of the students who saw the Eastman Johnson painting At the Camp—Spinning Yarns and Whittling knew when surveyed weeks later that the painting depicts abolitionists making maple syrup to undermine the sugar industry, which relied on slave labor. Similarly, 82 percent of those who saw Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter could recall that the painting emphasizes the importance of women entering the workforce during World War II. Among students who saw Thomas Hart Benton’s Ploughing It Under , 79 percent recollected that it is a depiction of a farmer destroying his crops as part of a Depression-era price support program. And 70 percent of the students who saw Romare Bearden’s Sacrifice could remember that it is part of the Harlem Renaissance art movement. Since there was no guarantee that these facts would be raised in student-directed discussions, and because students had no particular reason for remembering these details (there was no test or grade associated with the tours), it is impressive that they could recall historical and sociological information at such high rates.

These results suggest that art could be an important tool for effectively conveying traditional academic content, but this analysis cannot prove it. The control-group performance was hardly better than chance in identifying factual information about these paintings, but they never had the opportunity to learn the material. The high rate of recall of factual information by students who toured the museum demonstrates that the tours made an impression. The students could remember important details about what they saw and discussed.

Critical Thinking. Beyond recalling the details of their tour, did a visit to an art museum have a significant effect on students? Our study demonstrates that it did. For example, students randomly assigned to receive a school tour of Crystal Bridges later displayed demonstrably stronger ability to think critically about art than the control group.

During the first semester of the study, we showed all 3rd- through 12th-grade students a painting they had not previously seen, Bo Bartlett’s The Box . We then asked students to write short essays in response to two questions: What do you think is going on in this painting? And, what do you see that makes you think that? These are standard prompts used by museum educators to spark discussion during school tours.

We stripped the essays of all identifying information and had two coders rate the compositions using a seven-item rubric for measuring critical thinking that was developed by researchers at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The measure is based on the number of instances that students engaged in the following in their essays: observing, interpreting, evaluating, associating, problem finding, comparing, and flexible thinking. Our measure of critical thinking is the sum of the counts of these seven items. In total, our research team blindly scored 3,811 essays. For 750 of those essays, two researchers scored them independently. The scores they assigned to the same essay were very similar, demonstrating that we were able to measure critical thinking about art with a high degree of inter-coder reliability.

We express the impact of a school tour of Crystal Bridges on critical-thinking skills in terms of standard-deviation effect sizes. Overall, we find that students assigned by lottery to a tour of the museum improve their ability to think critically about art by 9 percent of a standard deviation relative to the control group. The benefit for disadvantaged groups is considerably larger (see Figure 1). Rural students, who live in towns with fewer than 10,000 people, experience an increase in critical-thinking skills of nearly one-third of a standard deviation. Students from high-poverty schools (those where more than 50 percent of students receive free or reduced-price lunches) experience an 18 percent effect-size improvement in critical thinking about art, as do minority students.

field trip study

A large amount of the gain in critical-thinking skills stems from an increase in the number of observations that students made in their essays. Students who went on a tour became more observant, noticing and describing more details in an image. Being observant and paying attention to detail is an important and highly useful skill that students learn when they study and discuss works of art. Additional research is required to determine if the gains in critical thinking when analyzing a work of art would transfer into improved critical thinking about other, non-art-related subjects.

Historical Empathy. Tours of art museums also affect students’ values. Visiting an art museum exposes students to a diversity of ideas, peoples, places, and time periods. That broadening experience imparts greater appreciation and understanding. We see the effects in significantly higher historical empathy and tolerance measures among students randomly assigned to a school tour of Crystal Bridges.

Historical empathy is the ability to understand and appreciate what life was like for people who lived in a different time and place. This is a central purpose of teaching history, as it provides students with a clearer perspective about their own time and place. To measure historical empathy, we included three statements on the survey with which students could express their level of agreement or disagreement: 1) I have a good understanding of how early Americans thought and felt; 2) I can imagine what life was like for people 100 years ago; and 3) When looking at a painting that shows people, I try to imagine what those people are thinking. We combined these items into a scale measuring historical empathy.

Students who went on a tour of Crystal Bridges experience a 6 percent of a standard deviation increase in historical empathy. Among rural students, the benefit is much larger, a 15 percent of a standard deviation gain. We can illustrate this benefit by focusing on one of the items in the historical empathy scale. When asked to agree or disagree with the statement, “I have a good understanding of how early Americans thought and felt,” 70 percent of the treatment-group students express agreement compared to 66 percent of the control group. Among rural participants, 69 percent of the treatment-group students agree with this statement compared to 62 percent of the control group. The fact that Crystal Bridges features art from different periods in American history may have helped produce these gains in historical empathy.

Tolerance. To measure tolerance we included four statements on the survey to which students could express their level of agreement or disagreement: 1) People who disagree with my point of view bother me; 2) Artists whose work is critical of America should not be allowed to have their work shown in art museums; 3) I appreciate hearing views different from my own; and 4) I think people can have different opinions about the same thing. We combined these items into a scale measuring the general effect of the tour on tolerance.

Overall, receiving a school tour of an art museum increases student tolerance by 7 percent of a standard deviation. As with critical thinking, the benefits are much larger for students in disadvantaged groups. Rural students who visited Crystal Bridges experience a 13 percent of a standard deviation improvement in tolerance. For students at high-poverty schools, the benefit is 9 percent of a standard deviation.

The improvement in tolerance for students who went on a tour of Crystal Bridges can be illustrated by the responses to one of the items within the tolerance scale. When asked about the statement, “Artists whose work is critical of America should not be allowed to have their work shown in art museums,” 35 percent of the control-group students express agreement. But for students randomly assigned to receive a school tour of the art museum, only 32 percent agree with censoring art critical of America. Among rural students, 34 percent of the control group would censor art compared to 30 percent for the treatment group. In high-poverty schools, 37 percent of the control-group students would censor compared to 32 percent of the treatment-group students. These differences are not huge, but neither is the intervention. These changes represent the realistic improvement in tolerance that results from a half-day experience at an art museum.

Interest in Art Museums. Perhaps the most important outcome of a school tour is whether it cultivates an interest among students in returning to cultural institutions in the future. If visiting a museum helps improve critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance, and other outcomes not measured in this study, then those benefits would compound for students if they were more likely to frequent similar cultural institutions throughout their life. The direct effects of a single visit are necessarily modest and may not persist, but if school tours help students become regular museum visitors, they may enjoy a lifetime of enhanced critical thinking, tolerance, and historical empathy.

We measured how school tours of Crystal Bridges develop in students an interest in visiting art museums in two ways: with survey items and a behavioral measure. We included a series of items in the survey designed to gauge student interest:

• I plan to visit art museums when I am an adult.

• I would tell my friends they should visit an art museum.

• Trips to art museums are interesting.

• Trips to art museums are fun.

• Would your friend like to go to an art museum on a field trip?

• Would you like more museums in your community?

• How interested are you in visiting art museums?

• If your friends or family wanted to go to an art museum, how interested would you be in going?

Interest in visiting art museums among students who toured the museum is 8 percent of a standard deviation higher than that in the randomized control group. Among rural students, the increase is much larger: 22 percent of a standard deviation. Students at high-poverty schools score 11 percent of a standard deviation higher on the cultural consumer scale if they were randomly assigned to tour the museum. And minority students gain 10 percent of a standard deviation in their desire to be art consumers.

One of the eight items in the art consumer scale asked students to express the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I would tell my friends they should visit an art museum.” For all students who received a tour, 70 percent agree with this statement, compared to 66 percent in the control group. Among rural participants, 73 percent of the treatment-group students agree versus 63 percent of the control group. In high-poverty schools, 74 percent would recommend art museums to their friends compared to 68 percent of the control group. And among minority students, 72 percent of those who received a tour would tell their friends to visit an art museum, relative to 67 percent of the control group. Students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are more likely to have positive feelings about visiting museums if they receive a school tour.

We also measured whether students are more likely to visit Crystal Bridges in the future if they received a school tour. All students who participated in the study during the first semester, including those who did not receive a tour, were provided with a coupon that gave them and their families free entry to a special exhibit at Crystal Bridges. The coupons were coded so that we could determine the applicant group to which students belonged. Students had as long as six months after receipt of the coupon to use it.

We collected all redeemed coupons and were able to calculate how many adults and youths were admitted. Though students in the treatment group received 49 percent of all coupons that were distributed, 58 percent of the people admitted to the special exhibit with those coupons came from the treatment group. In other words, the families of students who received a tour were 18 percent more likely to return to the museum than we would expect if their rate of coupon use was the same as their share of distributed coupons.

This is particularly impressive given that the treatment-group students had recently visited the museum. Their desire to visit a museum might have been satiated, while the control group might have been curious to visit Crystal Bridges for the first time. Despite having recently been to the museum, students who received a school tour came back at higher rates. Receiving a school tour cultivates a taste for visiting art museums, and perhaps for sharing the experience with others.

Disadvantaged Students

One consistent pattern in our results is that the benefits of a school tour are generally much larger for students from less-advantaged backgrounds. Students from rural areas and high-poverty schools, as well as minority students, typically show gains that are two to three times larger than those of the total sample. Disadvantaged students assigned by lottery to receive a school tour of an art museum make exceptionally large gains in critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance, and becoming art consumers.

It appears that the less prior exposure to culturally enriching experiences students have, the larger the benefit of receiving a school tour of a museum. We have some direct measures to support this explanation. To isolate the effect of the first time visiting the museum, we truncated our sample to include only control-group students who had never visited Crystal Bridges and treatment-group students who had visited for the first time during their tour. The effect for this first visit is roughly twice as large as that for the overall sample, just as it is for disadvantaged students.

In addition, we administered a different version of our survey to students in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Very young students are less likely to have had previous exposure to culturally enriching experiences. Very young students make exceptionally large improvements in the observed outcomes, just like disadvantaged students and first-time visitors.

When we examine effects for subgroups of advantaged students, we typically find much smaller or null effects. Students from large towns and low-poverty schools experience few significant gains from their school tour of an art museum. If schools do not provide culturally enriching experiences for these students, their families are likely to have the inclination and ability to provide those experiences on their own. But the families of disadvantaged students are less likely to substitute their own efforts when schools do not offer culturally enriching experiences. Disadvantaged students need their schools to take them on enriching field trips if they are likely to have these experiences at all.

Policy Implications

School field trips to cultural institutions have notable benefits. Students randomly assigned to receive a school tour of an art museum experience improvements in their knowledge of and ability to think critically about art, display stronger historical empathy, develop higher tolerance, and are more likely to visit such cultural institutions as art museums in the future. If schools cut field trips or switch to “reward” trips that visit less-enriching destinations, then these important educational opportunities are lost. It is particularly important that schools serving disadvantaged students provide culturally enriching field trip experiences.

This first-ever, large-scale, random-assignment experiment of the effects of school tours of an art museum should help inform the thinking of school administrators, educators, policymakers, and philanthropists. Policymakers should consider these results when deciding whether schools have sufficient resources and appropriate policy guidance to take their students on tours of cultural institutions. School administrators should give thought to these results when deciding whether to use their resources and time for these tours. And philanthropists should weigh these results when deciding whether to build and maintain these cultural institutions with quality educational programs. We don’t just want our children to acquire work skills from their education; we also want them to develop into civilized people who appreciate the breadth of human accomplishments. The school field trip is an important tool for meeting this goal.

Jay P. Greene is professor of education reform at the University of Arkansas, where Brian Kisida is a senior research associate and Daniel H. Bowen is a doctoral student.

Additional materials, including a supplemental study and a methodological appendix , are available.

For more, please see “ The Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2023 .”

This article appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Education Next . Suggested citation format:

Greene, J.P., Kisida, B., and Bowen, D.H. (2014). The Educational Value of Field Trips: Taking students to an art museum improves critical thinking skills, and more . Education Next , 14(1), 78-86.

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Different Types of Field Trips for Learning about our World

Who doesn’t love a great field trip? The opportunity to step outside of life’s normal routines and experience something completely new is always a good time and a great way to learn things you might not have known! 

There are tons of different possibilities for field trips, whether you’re traveling far from home or just exploring the woods behind the house, but sometimes it can be hard to see all the opportunities for learning that surround you. That’s why knowing what types of field trips there are can be super helpful for figuring out what sort of educational opportunity you want! This is my list of the different types of field trip opportunities that exist.

I typically divide field trips into two main groups: Nature-focused Trips and People-Focused Trips . 

Different Kinds of Nature-Focused Field Trips

field trip study

My first major category contains any field trip that is specifically focused on nature. That’s a lot . Whether we’re talking about trips aimed at teaching kids about plants or animals, exploring underground caverns, or learning about the night sky, it’s all about nature!

Learning about the natural world is a huge draw for kids and adults alike, and there is so much out there to choose from. To help narrow it down a bit, I’ve tried to further divide natural trips into smaller groupings.

Astronomical Field Trips

Astronomical field trips are all about space! There’s nothing quite like the unexplored reaches of the universe for sparking excitement and curiosity in the minds of kids. And new discoveries are being made all the time! 

Some of my favorite astronomical field trips have been stargazing in the Atacama desert and watching a rocket launch in Florida, but it could be as simple as taking the kids outside of town to identify constellations! 

Astronomical Field Trip Ideas

  • Stargazing (in your back yard or somewhere special!)
  • Trip to an observatory
  • Watching a rocket launch
  • Watching an eclipse
  • Space Museum Trip

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A tent in the woods with a picnic table in front of it.

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Visiting Wild Camels and Cleopatra’s Emeralds in Wadi el-Gemal

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7 Great Ways To Add Education To Your Next Beach Trip

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The Wonderful “Good-ness” Of Badlands National Park

Botanical field trips.

Botanical Field Trips are all about exploring the wonderful world of plants. Exploring how cactus survive in the desert, marveling at the diversity of wildflower in the spring, or taking the time to look at the leaves in the fall are all botanical trips.

Some of my favorite trips have been to botanical gardens around the world where we get the chance to see unique plants growing in their natural environments.

Botanical Field Trip Ideas

  • Visiting a botanical garden
  • Plant identification trip (works pretty much anywhere!)
  • Foraging Trip
  • Trip to an Arboretum

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A picture of the jungles around the Kilim River during sunrise in Langkawi.

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Two kids walking on a jungle path with temple ruins in the background.

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Two kids pretending to interact with a famous street art painting in Georgetown Penang.

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Geological field trips.

Geological trips are all about the earth and what makes up the ground we walk on. It’s about a lot more than just looking at some rocks. Getting to see the building blocks of our planet and how they fit together can be an amazing experience, and can take you to some incredible places. Let’s just say that geology rocks. (Hi, I’m a dad.)

There are plenty of amazing options for learning about the earth, but some of my favorites are caving trips, checking out the Grand Canyon, and hiking active volcanoes! 

Geological Field Trip Ideas

  • Fossil hunting trip! ( Fossil hunting with kids )
  • Going caving
  • Hiking a mountain/volcano
  • Visiting a Hot Spring (Yes, please)

Examples of our family’s Geological Experiences

A hidden gem for families visiting South Africa – The Drakensbergs

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A long tail boat is pulled up against a floating dock in Khao Sok National Park.

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Rows of crinoid fossils laid on on a wooden floor.

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A view of Ban Gioc Waterfalls from the river below it.

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Zoological field trips.

Zoological trips can include so much more than zoos, but they  are  a great place to start. Any trip that’s focused on the fauna of an area is a zoological field trip, whether that’s exotic animals in the zoo or the squirrels at the local park. Animals can be great for kindling a kid’s curiosity, and because of how interconnected the natural world is, they can be a great launching point for any number of exciting lessons!

My family checks out zoos and aquariums pretty much any chance we get, but my favorite trips have all been in the wild. If you get the chance to go reef snorkeling, definitely take it.

Zoological Field Trip Ideas

  • Animal Spotting/Bird watching trips
  • Visiting an Animal Conservation Center ( Grizzly and Wolf Conservation Center, Yellowstone )
  • Visiting an animal Rescue Center ( Proyecto Asis, Costa Rica )
  • Going on Safari! ( Kruger National Park, South Africa )
  • Swim with wild dolphins or go whale watching! ( Educational Family Adventures, Puerto Vallarta )
  • Visiting a zoo

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Beautiful Butterflies in Copan Ruinas, Honduras – Mayan Hills Resort

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Other ecological field trips.

I use the term “ecological field trips” as my catch-all for other nature-focused field trips. Really, any trip that gets you out into nature can be a great launching pad for learning. It’s just about getting into nature and seeing what you can discover! There’s no better way of helping your kid to appreciate the natural world than simply getting them outside to spend time in nature.

Some of my favorite ecological field trips are nature hikes, waterfalls, and dispersed camping.

Ecological Field Trip Ideas

  • Going camping ( Camping with Kids )
  • Visiting a National Park ( My favorite is Badlands )
  • Kayaking or rafting Trips
  • Go snorkeling ( Snorkel gear for Kids )
  • Take a day at the beach! ( 7 ways to add education to a beach trip )

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A river running between sets of limestone formations.

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Different kinds of people-focused field trips.

My daughter standing barefoot with the Great Pyramid of Giza in the background.

The other broad field trip category is field trips about Humanity . It’s all about the things that people do, and the ways that we do them. Whether it’s looking at the things we’ve built, the foods we eat, or the jobs we have, if it’s about humans it’s a people-focused field trip. 

Let’s break it down a bit more. 

Agricultural Field Trips

Agricultural field trips are trips that are focused on the farm. Farm trips are great options for teaching kids all about the life cycles of plants, the types and effects of weather, where our food comes from, and more! 

Some of my favorite agricultural trips include fruit picking, petting zoos, and bee farms! 

Agricultural Field Trip Ideas

  • Visiting a Bee Farm
  • Pick your own produce trips ( Picking Strawberries in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia )
  • Visiting a coffee or tea plantation ( Finca Filadelfia, Guatemala )
  • Visiting a farm ( Caoba Farms, Guatemala )
  • Visiting a petting zoo
  • Make your own Chocolate ( Chocolate Tours, Guatemala )

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Architectural field trips.

Architectural field trips are all about looking at the things that humans build. I typically only consider more modern buildings to fall into this specific category. Basically, if you’re looking at a building that is still actively being used today, it’s an architectural field trip. If it was built in the far past, or if it’s a set of ruins, it goes in the next one.

My favorite architectural field trip is probably Frank Lloyd Wright’s Waterfall house. I was taken there when I was in high school, and to this day I think about that trip any time I see a three-legged stool. Other great trips include going to famous buildings like the Space Needle, or checking out colonial-style houses from the 1700s.  

Architectural Field Trip Ideas

  • Explore Famous landmarks ( New 7 Wonders of the World )
  • Visit a lighthouse
  • Explore local architectural styles (French Quarter, New Orleans)
  • Explore Famous houses or buildings (Falling Water, Frank Lloyd Wright)

Examples of our family’s Architectural Experiences

A famous Red Bridge in Hanoi at the Hoan Kiem Lake.

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My family looking over the plaza

Copan Ruinas With Kids – Best Things To Do

A City Carved in Stone – Visiting Petra with Kids

A City Carved in Stone – Visiting Petra with Kids

Skyline of Kuala Lumpur from Taman Titiwangsi Park.

20+ Amazing Ideas for things to do with Kids in Kuala Lumpur

Archaeological field trips.

Archaeological field trips are trips out to see the buildings and artifacts of humanity’s past. It’s all about seeing the way the world was, and learning about humans got through life before our modern advances took hold. It’s about seeing where we’re from, and how far we’ve come.

Ancient ruins, cave dwellings, and the Wonders of the World all fall into this category and are among some of my favorite field trips. 

How to choose an Archeological Trip

Archaeological Field Trip Ideas

  • Visit Native American ruins (Cahokia Mounds, Illinois | Aztalan State Park, Wisconsin )
  • Visit more recent American ruins ( Dungeness Ruins, Cumberland National Seashore, Georgia )
  • Visit ruins in other countries ( Spanish Ruins, Guatemala | Egyptian Ruins, Luxor, Egypt )
  • Visit Petroglyph or Cave Painting sites ( Petroglyphs in America | Main Cave, South Africa )

Examples of our family’s Archaeological Experiences

The Best Roman Ruins in Jordan – Visiting Jerash with Kids

The Best Roman Ruins in Jordan – Visiting Jerash with Kids

Finding Adventure at the Lost Sea

Finding Adventure at the Lost Sea

Mayan Ruins and the Spirit of Adventure

Mayan Ruins and the Spirit of Adventure

17 amazing things to do in Luxor, Egypt

17 amazing things to do in Luxor, Egypt

A Worldschooler’s Guide to re-discovering the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

A Worldschooler’s Guide to re-discovering the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World

A Good Guide to the Great Pyramid

A Good Guide to the Great Pyramid

Historical field trips.

Historical field trips are  also  about learning from humanity’s past, but I feel like they’re a bit different from archaeological trips. In essence, historical trips are less focused on the buildings and artifacts of the past, and more focused on the actions and events. They’re about remembering the past, the choices that we made as a civilization, both good and bad. It’s sort of splitting hairs, at times, and in the end, I’m not sure the distinction matters, but it’s there. 

Some of my favorite historical field trips are historical reenactments and demonstrations, like at Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. Other good trips include visiting monuments and memorials, the USS Arizona, or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. These places make history more palpable and can anchor historical learning in a kid’s mind.

Historical Field Trip Ideas

  • Explore the local history of your town
  • Visit the site of a historical location or Reenactment (Colonial Williamsburg, VA)
  • Learn about major historical events in your own country’s past ( Crazy Horse, SD )
  • Learn about human history at a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site ( UNESCO Cultural Sites )
  • Learn about the history of wherever you happen to be! ( Jean Lafitte National Park, LA )

Examples of our family’s Historical Experiences

A Field Trip into Nashville’s Past at Historic Belle Meade

A Field Trip into Nashville’s Past at Historic Belle Meade

The entrance to Abu Simbel.

Abu Simbel With Kids: Visiting The Temple That Moved

5 Beautiful Spanish Ruins to visit in Antigua, Guatemala

5 Beautiful Spanish Ruins to visit in Antigua, Guatemala

The Desolate Prison Island where Nelson Mandela Spent 18 Years

The Desolate Prison Island where Nelson Mandela Spent 18 Years

My kids and I explore the visitors center at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve – New Orleans, LA

Two kids look out at the Nile

Best places to visit as a family in Aswan, Egypt

Gastronomical field trips.

I know I say that a lot of these categories are among my favorites, but this time I mean it! Gastronomical field trips are all about food. The food we make and eat as a culture has a lot to say about us. It both depends on and dictates our agricultural practices and our economy. If you want to learn about a culture, you should learn about its food , and that includes your own home culture! A nice culinary field trip pairs very well with an agricultural trips, so if you can find a farm that has its own restaurant, be sure to stick around for seconds.  

Some of my favorite culinary field trips have included cooking lessons, cultural restaurants, and local farm tours, but really any new meal you eat offers an opportunity to learn something new. 

Gastronomical Field Trip Ideas

  • Learn how to cook a favorite meal
  • Visit a farm and make, or eat, a meal made from what they grow ( Caoba Farms, Guatemala )
  • Explore street food options in a different country ( Street Food and Culture )
  • Learn about how a favorite snack gets from farm to table ( Chocolate Field Guide )

Examples of our family’s Gastronomy Experiences

Casco Viejo with Kids: Exploring Panama City’s Historic District

Casco Viejo with Kids: Exploring Panama City’s Historic District

Visiting Guatemala’s Beautiful Black Sand Beaches

Visiting Guatemala’s Beautiful Black Sand Beaches

Volcan Agua from Terrace

Restaurants with a view – 10 Rooftop Terraces in Antigua Guatemala

What not to eat in Egypt (plus some amazing meals you shouldn’t miss!)

What not to eat in Egypt (plus some amazing meals you shouldn’t miss!)

Fresh clams from a beach vendor in Guatemala.

Why Street Food is an Amazing Window into Learning a Culture

Me, holding a homemade shrimp empanada.

Want to learn about a culture? Learn to cook its food

Other cultural field trips.

People-focused field trips cover a wide array of experiences. Any trip that doesn’t easily fall into one of the other categories gets labeled as a “Cultural Field Trip.” These are the trips that are about the different ways that people do things today. They’re about exploring the way that the world around us works, and they can be considered trips into the “real world.” Trips to the bank to find out how banking works may not sound like the most exciting trip, but it’s a field trip that can help foster an understanding of cultural systems that can have a huge impact on our future. 

Some great cultural field trips could include a trip to learn about using looms to hand-weave a rug, to a local factory to see how they make things, or to a cultural festival to learn about how other people do things!

Honestly, these trips can be almost anything, so long as there’s a focus on learning. 

Cultural Field Trip Ideas

  • Visit a local capitol building ( Madison, WI )
  • Watch a live musical or opera
  • Explore musical instruments from other cultures (Nose flute, anyone?)
  • Take a factory tour, or visit a US Mint

Examples of our family’s Culture Experiences

The Best Places in the Anton Valley to Explore with Kids

The Best Places in the Anton Valley to Explore with Kids

Museum trips.

field trip study

I wanted to give a special note on museum trips.

Museums are often a blast to visit, and they can be super educational. I love museums, and I definitely suggest visiting them often. But, they don’t really fit with my personal definition of “field trip.” 

Museums typically bring a lot of materials for education together for people to enjoy, but they remove the context needed to allow kids to make cross-discipline connections. They pull things out of the “real world” and put them in a box.

Which is fine, really. I don’t think poorly of museums in any way, I just think that they go great  with  field trips, but maybe not  instead  of field trips. 

And, there are often exceptions to that rule.

One of my favorite museum experiences was chatting with a paleontologist who works in the Perot museum! We watched real-world paleontology getting done by a real scientist , right where she actually worked! That’s pretty much the definition of a field trip! 

Finding Egypt’s hidden desert whales in beautiful Wadi al-Hitan

Finding Egypt’s hidden desert whales in beautiful Wadi al-Hitan

Fossil under magnifying glass

Dinos in Dallas – 7 Fossil Themed Field Trips in the Metroplex

Truly, there is an astonishing variety of possible field trips that can be done, and every one of them can be an educational experience worth having. I’ve offered up a lot of different “types” of field trips, but remember that the real world often doesn’t fit itself in neat little categories. So long as you are open to teaching and learning in whatever opportunity presents itself, any field trip you take will be a success. 

So in the words of my favorite field tripper,

 “Take chances, make mistakes, and  get messy !”

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Fifth grade students observe nature during a field trip

Yes, Field Trips Are Worth the Effort

Culturally enriching trips can boost grades and decrease absences and behavioral infractions, new research reveals. 

As a teacher, Elena Aguilar often looked for opportunities to get her students out of the classroom and into different neighborhoods or natural environments. “We did the usual museum trips and science center stuff, but I loved the trips which pushed them into unfamiliar territory,” writes Aguilar , an instructional coach and author. Nudging kids out of their comfort zones, she says, “taught them about others as well as themselves. It helped them see the expansiveness of our world and perhaps inspired them to think about what might be available to them out there.”

Aguilar’s thinking made an impact: 15 years after traveling with her third-grade class to Yosemite National Park, a student contacted Aguilar on Facebook to thank her for the life-changing excursion. “You changed our lives with that trip,” the student wrote. “It's what made me want to be a teacher, to be able to give that same gift to other kids.”

As schools grapple with pandemic-related concerns about balancing in-seat instructional time with non-essentials like trips, new research published in The Journal of Human Resources argues that field trips, and the vital educational experiences that they provide—whether it’s a visit to a local museum or a big commitment like Aguilar’s national park trip—deliver a host of positive social and academic outcomes and are worth the effort.

“The pandemic should not keep schools from providing these essential cultural experiences forever,” asserts Jay P. Greene , one of the study’s co-authors and a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, in an opinion piece for the Daily News . “If schools make culturally-enriching field trips an integral part of the education experience, all students—especially those whose parents have a harder time accessing these experiences on their own—would benefit.”

In the study, researchers assigned more than 1,000 fourth- and fifth-grade students in Atlanta to two groups. One group participated in three to six “culturally-enriching” field trips—visits to an art museum, a live theater performance, and a symphony concert—while students in the control group stayed put in class. The outcome? Kids in the field trip group “scored higher on end-of-grade exams, received higher course grades, were absent less often, and had fewer behavioral infractions,” compared to students in the control group, according to a ScienceDaily brief . Benefits lasted two to three years, Greene writes, and were “most visible when students were in middle school.”

“We are able to demonstrate that a relatively simple intervention—and we consider it pretty low-touch; three field trips in a year, maybe six field trips in two years—can actually have some substantial impacts,” says lead study author Heidi Holmes Erickson in an interview with The 74 . “They’re not just limited to social benefits. It shows that smaller interventions can actually have some significant effects on academics as well.”

Field trips aren’t a threat to in-class instruction, Erickson notes, they’re a tool to help bolster engagement and expand students’ horizons. “It's possible to expose students to a broader world and have a culturally enriching curriculum without sacrificing academic outcomes, and it may actually improve academic outcomes,” Erickson says. Far from harming test scores, the researchers found that culturally rich excursions reinforce academics and “students who participated in these field trips were doing better in class.”

Meanwhile, class trips don't need to be elaborate productions to make an impact: small excursions outside the classroom—"low-touch," as the researchers call them—can pack a punch. Here’s how three educators recommend dialing it back with low-stakes options that are both engaging and stimulating for students, but might not require days to prepare and plan:

Make Them Bite-Sized : Instead of allocating an entire day to a field trip, educational consultant Laurel Schwartz takes her classes on micro field trips , or “short outings that can be completed in a single class period.” These real-world encounters, she says, are especially beneficial for English learners and world language students. A micro field trip to a nearby park or around school grounds, for example, can be a great opportunity to “enhance a unit on nature and wildlife while reinforcing vocabulary for senses, colors, and the concepts of quantity and size,” Schwartz writes. “Afterwards, students might write descriptive stories set in the place you visited using vocabulary collected and defined together by the class.”

Try Teacher-Less Trips : To encourage exploration and learning outside of the classroom, former social studies teacher Arch Grieve removes himself from the equation with teacher-less field trips rooted in students’ local communities. Grieve only suggests options that are directly tied to a unit being discussed in class—like attending a talk at a local university or visiting a museum or cultural festival—and offers extra credit to incentivize students. “These trips allow for a greater appreciation of my subject matter than is possible in the school setting, and perhaps best of all, there's little to no planning involved.”

Explore Virtual Options : It may not be as fun as visiting in person, but the Internet makes it possible to visit museums like The National Gallery of London and The Vatican Museums without leaving the school building. Middle school English teacher Laura Bradley likes to search the Museums for Digital Learning website by topic, keyword, and grade level, to find lessons and activities that meet her unique curricular needs. The site grants access to digitized museum collections, 3D models, audio files, documents, images, and videos. 

JUNIOR TOURS

Is There a Difference Between a Field Trip and an Educational Tour?

There is nothing more exhilarating for most students than hearing the news of an upcoming school trip. It gives students a reason to get out of the classroom, and educators a way to teach and connect with their students on another level. But what kind of trip should you take your students on – a field trip or an educational tour – and is there a difference?

While it might just be an issue of semantics for some people, there is an important difference between field trips and educational tours, particularly those organized by Junior Tours .

Field trips are the typical school trips that most schools plan for their students, lasting anywhere from a few hours to 1-2 days while visiting certain learning sites.

Educational tours are professionally planned tours that have been finely crafted based on the needs of the entire group.

Essentially, an educational tour is an enhanced and upgraded version of the traditional field trip.

While the difference between a field trip and an educational tour may seem unimportant, there are many ways that a professional tour organizer such as Junior Tours can enhance the learning and overall experience of any trip, making it well worth the time and money of every student involved.

Educational Tour VS Field Trip: What’s the Difference?

We’ve all been on field trips, whether as students or educators, and we know the typical expectations that come with school trips. Typical school field trips include:

  • The local museum for sciences or arts
  • A visiting play or musical performance
  • A local university or research center, with an expert or professional

While children always enjoy getting out of the classroom and experiencing something new, it can be difficult to truly engage with the entire group at all times. In many cases, school field trips end up with most students goofing around, not listening to the tour guide, or getting in trouble in unique ways.

And it isn’t always fair to educators to expect them to plan and execute the perfect field trip, as these skills aren’t in their everyday job description. Teaching a classroom of students and implementing a successful field trip are worlds apart.

An educational tour is like a field trip, but handled professionally and every aspect made perfect. With an educational tour planned by professional organizers, schools and teachers can focus on their roles – teaching – while the organizers focus on everything else that children want from a school trip – exciting destinations, interesting guides, awesome activities, effective planning for every step of the trip, and so much more.

Many schools do not realize how much value a professional educational tour organizer can add to a school trip, turning it from just another trip to something that will act as a key part of every school year.

Here are just a few of the places you might visit during an educational tour with Junior Tours:

  • Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal
  • The Plains of Abraham in Quebec City
  • Concerts, performances, and music festivals in North America and Europe
  • Rockefeller Center in New York City
  • Niagara Falls
  • Improv Chicago
  • Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London

And so many more. Whether for the sciences, business, culture, or the arts, no two educational tours are exactly alike, as each trip is planned with your group’s needs and expectations in mind.

What Can You Expect from an Educational Tour?

How exactly does a Junior Tours educational tour differentiate from a typical school field trip and what can you expect from it? A tour planned by our veteran tour organizers shares the same objectives as typical field trips, but then we do so much more:

Educational tours offer the full experience for students and educators who are looking for something more than just the average community school trip. With our tour, groups can pick their journey based on their subject interest, with popular choices of:

  • Music & Band
  • Foreign Language
  • African American

You can see that the difference between a field trip and an educational tour can be found at the most foundational level: the purpose for the trip, and the direction you build from there. With typical field trips, most schools will pick a local area of interest and try to explain a reason for how students can benefit from visiting it.

With professionally organized educational tours, the organizer and the school will discuss and pinpoint the desired learning experience, and then curate a trip around it to maximize what the students can learn. This means that we focus on enriching a student community with education-focused events, rather than building it the other way around.

How Students and Educators Benefit from Educational Tours Over Field Trips

Students – As a student or parent who might be interested in attending one of our educational tours, you might be looking to see how you or your child will most benefit from this journey. Here’s what you can expect as a student:

Out-of-Classroom Learning: Students will see how to truly learn in context, taking their learning out of the classroom and into the real world. They will see the purpose of what they are learning, and its impact on and how it works in the world.

Social Education Habits: Students will develop social education habits that they can carry with them beyond the classroom and their high school or university lives.

Maximum Engagement: Students will enjoy a trip that is curated to maximize their engagement, excitement, and learning, teaching that learning can be fun 24/7.

Educators and Schools: As an educator or school administrator, you might be interested in the tour but don’t know if our terms are worth the additional planning over a traditional field trip. Here are ways our planning and expertise can help you:

Your Choice of Involvement: A fully planned and organized trip. It is up to the school or educator to decide how much involvement they want with the planning and organizing of the trip; if they would like Junior Tours to handle every part of the itinerary, or if they want to be involved in crafting the perfect tour. We report to you and work on your terms.

As Easy as Possible: We make it as easy as possible to help get all your students and parents on board with the tour – we offer free promotional materials such as posters, flyers, and registration forms; professionally trained tour escorts to help hype up the tour 24 hours a day; complete planning of transportation, food, and first-rate hotel stays; and optional direct billing for your parents to pay directly online. And of course, no hidden costs are involved, with free scratch card fundraiser and scholarship suggestions if necessary.

Absolute Flexibility: We offer absolute flexibility with virtually every aspect of the trip. We only require a minimum group size of 20, while larger groups are gifted cheaper pricing. Trips don’t have to be approved by school boards or affiliated with any school, and travel dates can be picked at any time of the year. Whether this is your first time or tenth time organizing a trip for students, don’t sweat it: we can help you with everything.

The Educational Tour Experience with Junior Tours

Ready to start planning an educational tour to share to your group of students? You can start today – just fill in your information on our request form and we will send you over a free itemized price quote and itinerary within 72 hours. Our required information for now includes:

  • Potential destinations
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Based in New Jersey, Junior Tours has been helping schools and student groups tour around the country and the wider world since 1967, and we pride ourselves on our history and tradition as a family-run business with an impeccable reputation. Students and teachers who travel with us are guaranteed to have an amazing time – just read our reviews.

Have a question, need some tips? Contact us through our site or call us at 1-800-631-2241 (for group leaders) or 1-800-237-4797 (for students and parents) and let us know how Junior Tours can help your school or community today!

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Field Trips

Field trips are an excellent way to help your students relate what they learn in class to the world outside of class. There are many sites that can provide the basis for a meaningful field trip (e.g., aquarium, factory, historical museum). Here are some things to consider when planning a field trip.

  • A field trip should relate to something you are teaching in class.
  • A field trip should be age-appropriate for your students.
  • Be sure to follow all of your school’s procedures and requirements (e.g., parental permission).
  • Be sure that parents know about the field trip and any possible costs.
  • Clarify for your students your expectations for their appropriate behavior and any learning assignments associated with the field trip.
  • Have follow-up activities to the field trip such as a written paper or class discussion.

Oh yes – one more thing. Be sure to provide for restroom stops.

field trip study

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How to Plan an Educational Field Trip for Students

Features , Planning Advice

How to Plan an Educational Field Trip for Students

We help you craft a fun and engaging educational student itinerary packed with exciting learning in real-time settings outside the classroom

As an educator or trip organizer, educational field trip planning can be a rewarding experience if you have a clear roadmap and tips for creating an engaging itinerary. It’s crucial to design field trip itineraries that not only offer fun activities but also provide intellectual stimulation and opportunities for experiential learning. This approach fosters a deeper understanding and retention of knowledge among students.

Discover more amazing resources for student travel planners and educators when you  Subscribe for FREE  to Student Travel Planning Guide today.

By strategically planning your field trips, you can create a balance between educational value and exciting adventures. This approach ensures that students not only enjoy the trip but also gain maximum educational value, turning field trips into immersive and memorable learning experiences.

Here is a guide on how to craft student itineraries for field trips that are not only entertaining but truly enriching, intellectually stimulating and unforgettable.

field trip study

Connect Student Field Trip Activities to the Curriculum

One of the most impactful strategies to boost the educational value of a school field trip is to integrate the itinerary with your classroom curriculum. By planning your field trip in conjunction with your curriculum, you ensure that the trips content directly complements what students are studying, making their learning experience more comprehensive and meaningful.

Planning your curriculum and educational field trips together allows you to seek out destinations, landmarks, museums, parks, and experiences that directly relate to and expand upon what students are learning in the classroom. Not only are you saving yourself time by planning both together, but your curriculum can also provide a crystal-clear map for topical and sensical field trip planning.

For example, a history class studying the American Revolution will get far more educational value out of a trip to Boston steeped in significant historical sites versus a more generic itinerary that visits a history museum, which provides little experiential components.

Example itinerary for student groups:

Day 1: Start at the Boston Massacre site for an immersive historical reenactment. Then, visit the Old South Meeting House, the staging ground for protests like the Boston Tea Party. End the day at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, where you can participate in interactive multimedia experiences.

Day 2: Walk the famous Freedom Trail, passing sites like the Paul Revere House, Old North Church and Bunker Hill Monument. Tour Harvard University’s historic colonial-era buildings. Have lunch in America’s oldest public park, Boston Common.

Day 3: Travel to Lexington & Concord’s Minute Man National Historical Park, witnessing the hallowed grounds where the first Revolutionary War battles occurred. Tour the Hancock-Clarke House where Hancock and Adams took refuge. Conclude at Emerson’s house and Old Manse, two historic Concord sites intertwined with the Revolutionary era.

By carefully curating a field trip itinerary that directly aligns with their curriculum, students can experience history in a tangible way. This reinforces their classroom learning and creates lasting memories that will solidify their understanding of this pivotal era in American history.

Integrate Reflective Learning for Students

Students absorb and retain more information through experiences, and reflection is a key component of experiential learning. Consider building time into the itinerary for students to reflect on what they’re seeing, doing, and learning while on the trip, while the information and experiences are still fresh.

This could take the form of journaling prompts, small group discussions, or a creative activity like drawing or photography accompanied by student impressions. Encouraging students to actively process their experiences in real-time with an activity will help them solidify what they’ve learned and integrate it into their classwork later.

field trip study

Include Cultural Immersion on an Educational Field Trip

Travel offers students incredible opportunities to experience different cultures firsthand. Whenever possible, consider including authentic cultural activities or interactions with the local community on your itinerary.

This could be a hosted meal at a local family restaurant, a neighborhood walking tour led by residents, or a school visit to meet and engage with local students. Cultural immersion fosters greater global understanding and social skills in all facets of a student’s life.

Perhaps there are cultural landmarks or museums showcasing artifacts related to the area and its people past and present. Many places of cultural significance have regional museums that provide guided tours and lectures for classes, providing an enriching experience for students while supplementing their classroom education.

Plan Hands-On Workshops for Students

Lectures and tours certainly have their place on class field trips, but students learn best by doing and engaging their left and right brains at the same time. Look for interactive workshops and classes relevant to the trip’s educational themes.

field trip study

  • For a marine biology-focused itinerary, check if the local aquarium offers a dissection lab for high school groups.
  • Culinary arts students will gain much from a hands-on cooking class in regional cuisine for grades 8-12.
  • At Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Massachusetts, students can partake in Wampanoag Workshops, learning traditional skills like hide tanning, pottery, and gardening directly from Native educators. They offer workshops for pre-k to college students .
  • The National World War II Museum in New Orleans features many STEM workshops and student programs for multiple grades. They also provide Field Trip Plus for an immersive 45-minute, museum educator-led interaction for student groups grades 3-12.
  • At the Museum of Science in Boston, students can participate in hands-on engineering workshops where they design, build, and test prototypes like wind turbines, ensuring an immersive STEM learning experience.
  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate offers an interactive Colonial Classroom program, allowing students to step into the roles of students from the 18th century, practicing penmanship with quill pens and exploring early American curriculum.

The more hands-on the experience, the more impactful and memorable the learning is for your students. These are just some examples of the myriad workshops available for student groups on field trips.

Tap Local Experts for Student Groups

Enlisting local experts as speakers, guides or facilitators can elevate an itinerary’s educational quality. Reach out to university scholars, scientists, artisans, and community leaders at your destination who can share their niche expertise with students. A great place to start is your destination’s local visitors bureau.

Some examples might include:

  • A geologist’s guided hike that will illuminate more than just the typical sights.
  • An oceanographer could do a hands-on workshop at the lab or on the beach where children can interact with wildlife and ask questions.
  • An archaeologist may organize a mock dig site and bring artifacts for students to examine while teaching excavation and preservation techniques.
  • A meteorologist might conduct an interactive workshop on weather and atmospheric science.

Leave Room for Student-Led Discovery

While it’s good to have a thorough student itinerary, be sure to also give children some freedom to follow their own curiosity. Unscheduled time to explore a museum, gallery or neighborhood lets students delve into what interests them most.

Having a choice in their own learning path boosts engagement and takeaways. If a child or group of children show a keen interest in sharks while at the aquarium, have a parent or teacher stay with them for some extra time at the shark exhibit to ask questions and interact with the sharks along with the staff.

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Choose Suppliers with an Educational Ethos

The vendors and suppliers you select can greatly influence a student itinerary’s educational value. Seek out accommodations, restaurants, tour providers and activity partners that share your learning objectives. Many vendors and suppliers offer educational programs or content designed specifically for student groups. Ask about customized classes or tours aligned with your curriculum.

With a learning-centric approach to student itinerary design, class trips become more than just a fun getaway—they’re a meaningful extension of the classroom. Educational travel helps students develop critical thinking, cultural sensitivity, a broadened worldview and curiosity that will serve them well at school and beyond for years to come.

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The Importance of Field Trips in a Well-Rounded Education Process

Where did the lesson that you remember most in school come from? Chances are, a field trip would be the answer. According to Behrendt & Franklin, field trip by definition is a school-sanctioned excursion away from the classroom and other traditional study environments, to observe, interact with different settings, conduct basic research and/or experiencing new activities not readily found in school. Here in Upskill, it became one of our main learning tools for the student.

Field trips play a crucial role in a student learning process. Doing a proper field trip helps spark one's passion or curiosity. This will push students to take learning into their own hands and build a habit to do it more. Here in upskill, our study programs are not only based on theoretical learnings in classrooms. We always try to reinforce students with various different field trips as well so everyone can taste the learning experience first-hand. Here our upskill team has listed some of the essential benefits of learning through excursions and field trips experiences.

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Real World Learning

​Field trips are one of the best tools that can be used to provide every student a real-world experience. When students leave the classroom, they see the connections between what is happening in theory and in the ‘real-world’. Senses are allowed to be used, hearing, seeing, feeling, sensing and so on. Students begin to see that what they learn within the walls of the classroom can help them solve the problems they see in the world around them and can have a direct impact on who they become as people. In upskill's Summer Course program for example, students get the chance to explore some of Bali's most fascinating cultural and nature destinations, from the mystical Monkey Forest to the picturesque Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. Depending on the course taken, students would also be taken to visit some of the exciting yet insightful Marine conservations, such as Coral Reef rehabilitation center, turtle conservation site, and even explorin the Mangrove forest.

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Socio-Emotional Growth and Accessibility.

Research found that students who go on field trips become  more empathetic and tolerant . For example, those who participate in a field trip to an art museum show increased empathy, tolerance and critical thinking skills. Studying art on the field gives students a chance to think about a topic or theme from a different perspective. This resonates well with the study program of Upskill, which was created to enhance and maximize student's learning experience. One of our field trip sessions will take the student to participate in a Cultural Workshop. During this workshop students will explore and dive into some of the iconic Balinese traditions. During this workshop students will explore and dive into some of the most fundamental and fascinating Balinese traditions from the smallest parts of Balinese family household to everyday's religious practice of worship, prayers and religious ceremonies and celebrations. By participating in field trips, students are able to access tools and environments that are not available at school. Our local communities are rich learning laboratories where students can participate, learn and experience every tool used in the practice directly at their disposal. Each of this first-hand experience solidifies learning and supports important academic concepts.

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Positive Academic Impact

It is already proven that regular, proper field trips will increase the student test scores. Field trips and hands-on learning make concepts become more memorable. Just think back to what you learned in school, the field trips you took, and what you learned on them are still some of the clearest concepts. Additionally, field trips are important because students are able to engage with content in a variety of ways. Concepts are presented through all different media and different modalities, so students who struggle with traditional learning can feel smart and confident as well. Within this beautiful island, there are people and places that students can access that cannot be replicated by the Internet or in the classroom . This multisensory learning experience can bring one dimensional lessons to life and create enthusiasm for a subject that is hard to replicate through other media. 

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Field-trip study shows improvements in critical thinking

Students learning on their trip to Crystal Bridges Art Museum (photo by Education Next, © 2013 Stephen Ironside/Ironside Photography)

Students learning on their trip to Crystal Bridges Art Museum (© 2013 Stephen Ironside/Ironside Photography)

What is your first memory of a school field trip? A recent study on students in grades K-12 found that a short one-hour field trip to an art museum improved their critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance, and interest in art museums. While school field trips are declining, in part because of budget cuts and an increased focus on teaching to the test, this study shows their importance by comparing the performance of over 10,000 students in Arkansas, 50% of whom attended a field trip to the new Crystal Bridges Art Museum in the first half of the school year.

The researchers found that field trips are more important for disadvantaged students because of their lack of opportunity for such experiences in other parts of their life. In high poverty and rural schools, the gains that students made in critical thinking and other skills were two or three times as large as the average. Similarly large gains were made by students from all backgrounds who were visiting a museum for the very first time, supporting the idea the influence of a field trip is greater if the students have no prior experience and that schools can be instrumental in providing this opportunity.

The researchers conducted a related study to see if the benefits of field trips were unique to art museums, or also applied to other forms of art such as plays, dances, or music performances. By looking at over 2,000 seventh grade students in adjacent counties in Arkansas, they were able to find increasing benefits with the number of field trips taken to cultural institutions, especially among disadvantaged students. The findings from these two studies suggest the benefits of educational field trips, whether to a museum, historic site, park, or other venue outside of the traditional classroom.

At Freshkills Park, we try to give every student the opportunity to attend a field trip by proving them free of charge. Find out more about our walking tours that teach critical thinking skills through stakeholder role playing and environmental education as students explore the former landfill. Giving New York City students the opportunity to discover this unique park fosters environmental stewardship and children’s development as engaged citizens. For life-long students, we also offer public hiking , kayaking , and bus tours .

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What is a Field Trip: Exploring the Benefits, Challenges, and Creative Ideas

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By Happy Sharer

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Introduction: What is a Field Trip?

A field trip is an educational excursion outside of the classroom environment. It is an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience with the material they are learning in class. Field trips can take place at local attractions, museums, historic sites, nature centers, and more. They can also be conducted virtually, allowing students to explore faraway places without ever leaving the classroom.

Overview of Field Trips: Exploring the Benefits and Challenges

Field trips are an important part of any school curriculum. They provide an opportunity for students to gain real-world experience with the material they are learning in class. However, there are both benefits and challenges associated with field trips that must be considered before planning one.

Benefits of Field Trips

The most obvious benefit of field trips is that they give students the chance to experience the material they are learning in class in a real-world setting. According to a study conducted by the National Education Association, “Field trips provide students with experiences that cannot be replicated in the classroom. They offer opportunities to explore concepts from a different perspective, to observe firsthand what has been read about in textbooks, and to make connections between course content and real life.”

In addition to providing an opportunity for experiential learning, field trips can also help to engage student interest in the subject matter. A study conducted by the University of Texas found that students who went on field trips were more likely to remember the material they had learned than those who did not go on the trip. Furthermore, field trips can spark curiosity and inspire students to ask questions and seek out further knowledge.

Challenges of Field Trips

Despite their many benefits, field trips can present some challenges. One of the biggest challenges associated with field trips is the cost. Depending on where you are traveling and the size of your group, the expenses can quickly add up. Additionally, finding the time to plan and execute a successful field trip can be difficult for teachers who already have a full schedule.

Safety is another issue that must be taken into consideration when planning a field trip. It is important to ensure that all students are supervised at all times and that the destination is appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students.

Tips for Planning a Successful Field Trip

Planning a successful field trip requires careful consideration of multiple factors. Here are some tips to keep in mind when planning a field trip.

Establish Goals

Before planning a field trip, it is important to establish clear goals. Ask yourself why you are taking the students on the trip and what you hope to accomplish. This will help to ensure that the field trip is meaningful and relevant to the material being taught in class.

Choose an Appropriate Destination

Once you have established your goals, it is important to choose a destination that is appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students. When selecting a location, consider the interests and abilities of the students and make sure that the destination offers something that will be interesting and engaging for them.

Develop an Itinerary

Once you have selected a destination, it is important to develop an itinerary that outlines the activities for the day. Make sure there is enough time for each activity and that the activities are relevant to the goals you have established for the trip.

Manage Safety Issues

Safety should always be a top priority when planning a field trip. Make sure that all students are supervised at all times and that the destination is appropriate for the age and maturity level of the students. Additionally, be sure to review any safety policies or procedures with the students prior to the trip.

A Guide to Creating a Meaningful Field Trip Experience

A Guide to Creating a Meaningful Field Trip Experience

Creating a meaningful field trip experience requires careful planning and preparation. Here are some tips to ensure that your students get the most out of their field trip.

Set Clear Expectations

Prior to the field trip, it is important to set clear expectations for the students. Explain to them the purpose of the trip and what you hope they will gain from the experience. Additionally, discuss any rules or guidelines that need to be followed during the trip.

Make Connections with Course Material

When planning the activities for the field trip, look for ways to connect the material to the course content. This will help to ensure that the students gain a deeper understanding of the material and that the trip is meaningful and relevant.

Utilize Time Wisely

Time management is key to ensuring a successful field trip. Make sure that all activities are planned in advance and that the students understand what is expected of them. Additionally, leave room for flexibility in case something unexpected arises.

How Field Trips Enhance Learning in the Classroom

Field trips can be an invaluable tool for enhancing learning in the classroom. Here are some of the ways that field trips can benefit students.

Engaging Student Interest

Field trips can help to engage student interest in the subject matter. Experiencing the material firsthand can make it easier for students to understand and relate to the material being taught in class.

Building Critical Thinking Skills

Field trips can also help to build critical thinking skills. Students are exposed to new information and must process it in order to gain a better understanding of the material. This helps to develop problem-solving abilities and encourages students to think more deeply about the material.

Developing Problem-Solving Abilities

Field trips can also help to develop problem-solving abilities. Students are exposed to new environments and must find ways to navigate them. This helps to build confidence and teaches students how to think on their feet.

The Value of Field Trips for Students

The Value of Field Trips for Students

Field trips can be a valuable learning experience for students. Here are some of the ways that field trips can benefit students.

Developing Self-Confidence

Field trips can help to boost self-confidence. Being in unfamiliar surroundings can be intimidating, but it can also be a great opportunity for students to practice problem-solving skills and develop self-confidence.

Strengthening Interpersonal Relationships

Field trips can also help to strengthen interpersonal relationships among students. Working together to navigate new environments and solve problems can help to foster teamwork and collaboration.

Acquiring New Knowledge and Experiences

Finally, field trips can open students up to new knowledge and experiences. Seeing things firsthand can help to bring the material to life and make it easier for students to understand and remember.

Creative Ideas for Field Trips

Creative Ideas for Field Trips

There are many creative ways to incorporate field trips into the classroom. Here are some ideas for fun and engaging field trips.

Museum Visits

Museums are a great way to introduce students to a variety of topics. From art and history to science and technology, there are a variety of museums that offer educational experiences for students of all ages.

Local Attractions

Local attractions can be a great way to introduce students to the community and its culture. Consider visiting historical sites, parks, zoos, or aquariums for an interactive and fun learning experience.

Nature Walks

Nature walks are a great way to get students outdoors and exploring their natural surroundings. Not only can this be a fun activity, but it can also be a great way to introduce students to concepts such as ecology and conservation.

Virtual Field Trips: Taking Education Beyond the Classroom

Virtual Field Trips: Taking Education Beyond the Classroom

Technology has opened up a world of possibilities for educators looking to take their students on field trips. Virtual field trips allow students to explore faraway places without ever leaving the classroom.

Advantages of Virtual Field Trips

Virtual field trips come with a number of advantages. They are often less expensive than traditional field trips, and they can be used to explore destinations that would otherwise be inaccessible. Additionally, virtual field trips can be tailored to fit the curriculum and the specific needs of the students.

Types of Virtual Field Trips

There are a variety of types of virtual field trips available. These include virtual tours of museums and historical sites, live video streams of events, and interactive simulations of different environments. Each type of virtual field trip offers a unique experience and can be used to enhance learning in the classroom.

Tips for Planning a Virtual Field Trip

When planning a virtual field trip, it is important to do your research. Check to see if the destination offers a virtual tour and make sure that the technology needed is available and easy to use. Additionally, make sure to set clear expectations and goals for the virtual field trip and to create an itinerary that outlines the activities for the day.

Field trips can be a valuable learning experience for students. They provide an opportunity for students to gain first-hand experience with the material they are learning in class and can help to engage student interest in the subject matter. Additionally, field trips can help to build critical thinking skills and develop problem-solving abilities. Finally, virtual field trips offer an exciting way to explore faraway places without ever leaving the classroom. With careful planning and preparation, field trips can be a fun and educational experience for everyone involved.

(Note: Is this article not meeting your expectations? Do you have knowledge or insights to share? Unlock new opportunities and expand your reach by joining our authors team. Click Registration to join us and share your expertise with our readers.)

Hi, I'm Happy Sharer and I love sharing interesting and useful knowledge with others. I have a passion for learning and enjoy explaining complex concepts in a simple way.

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Ten tips for a successful field trip.

Planning a field trip to a national park near you? Here a 10 quick tips to help you and your students get the most out of your trip:

  • Plan everything well in advance. Call to schedule the field trip or request an educational fee waiver, get a confirmation, and make necessary arrangements for school and parental permission and transportation. Plan the educational experiences and activities for the field trip. Know how to get to the field trip site, how long it will take, and where you will have lunch. Bring along any supplies and materials needed for activities that you have planned. Share this with all the teachers and chaperones involved.
  • Use pre-visit activities to help prepare the students for the field trip. Make field trip planning a part of in-class learning.
  • Develop clear learning objectives and share them! Make sure that the students and other teachers know these objectives.
  • Chaperoning is not a spectator sport. Chaperones can be a big help if they understand their role.
  • Give everyone nametags. Make sure that even the teachers and chaperones are wearing readable nametags. It also helps to divide large groups into smaller sub-groups before the trip and color code their name tags.
  • Keep the students engaged. Encourage the students to participate in the activities but remember you are responsible for their behavior.
  • Keep students accountable for learning. A field trip is not a day off from school! Did you accomplish the planned learning objectives?
  • Encourage independent observation time. Constructive free time can help make the trip more memorable.
  • Bring the experience back home. Use post-visit activities back in the classroom to make the field trip relevant and reinforce concepts.
  • Use evaluations and sharing. Improvements can only be made through honest feedback and evaluation.

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260+ Field Trip Ideas for Grades Pre-K Through 12 (In-Person and Virtual)

Get out of the classroom and explore the world!

Students on field trips to the local theater and a fire station.

Field trips are a quintessential school experience. You usually only get one or two a year so it’s important to do it right! Our roundups of unique field trip ideas have something for every age, subject, and interest. We’ve even got resources like permission slip forms and chaperone tips. Get ready to leave the classroom behind to take learning on the road!

Preschool Field Trip Ideas

Preschooler wearing a fire helmet and standing in front of a fire truck (Field Trip Ideas)

Early-grade field trips help kids learn about the world and also teach them good field trip behavior. These are our top picks for the pre-K crowd, but many of the options on our kindergarten list are perfect for this age group too.

  • Library: Not every student’s parents take them to story time. Schedule your own trip, and show kids that having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card!
  • Farm: Whether you learn how vegetables are grown or where milk and eggs come from, the farm is always a hit.
  • Grocery store: Go behind the scenes at the supermarket, and use this trip as the foundation for lessons on healthy eating.
  • Park: From local playgrounds to majestic national parks, it’s always worth getting kids into the great outdoors.
  • Children’s museum: This is the age group most children’s museums were designed for! They’ll love all the hands-on fun and excitement.
  • Post office: Learn how mail is sorted and shipped, and teach students about stamps and other mail-related items.
  • Bank: Money is a new concept for these kiddos, and they’ll be fascinated to step inside the vault and learn other bank secrets.
  • Fire station: There’s just something about a fire truck that gets every little one excited.
  • Nursing home: Is there anything sweeter than watching seniors and wee ones spend time together?
  • Animal shelter: For kids who don’t have pets at home, this can be a good introduction to animals. Others will just enjoy the time with dogs and cats waiting for their forever homes.

Elementary School Field Trip Ideas

Child looking down on stage set up for orchestra concert

@mjdstoronto

These are the prime field trip years! Here are our favorite trips for every grade.

  • 14 Kindergarten Field Trips (Virtual and In-Person)
  • 15 First Grade Field Trips (Virtual and In-Person)
  • 15 Second Grade Field Trips (Virtual and In-Person)
  • 15 Third Grade Field Trips (Virtual and In-Person)
  • 23 Fourth Grade Field Trips (Virtual and In-Person)
  • 22 Fifth Grade Field Trips (Virtual and In-Person)

Middle and High School Field Trip Ideas

Middle school students on a field trip to a water reclamation facility

@salinasvalleybasingsa

For this age group, you’ll need to step up your game a bit. (They’ve probably already been to the zoo, the aquarium, and the art museum.) Try some of these locations, which offer educational, social-emotional, and real-life learning opportunities.

  • Food bank: Hold a food drive, then arrange a trip to your local soup kitchen or food pantry. Volunteering makes for truly meaningful field trips.
  • Recycling facility: In a time when reducing landfill waste is more important than ever, a trip to a recycling facility can help drive home the message.
  • Theater: Many theaters offer behind-the-scenes tours for schools and discount pricing when you buy tickets in bulk. (Want to go virtual? Check out the Hamilton Education Program !)
  • Community college: Parents sometimes take kids on college visits, but a community college trip offers opportunities for even more students to see themselves getting a higher education.
  • TV station: Kids interested in communications or technology will find this completely fascinating.
  • Courtroom: There’s no better way to understand the justice system than to see it in action.
  • State or county capitol: Every government class should visit a local capitol to meet with officials and see how the government works.
  • Local business: This can be a cool way to learn about managing a business, working with customers, or discovering how products are made.
  • Wildlife rehab facility: Introduce students to the people who help injured wild animals recover and live free once again.

Virtual Field Trip Ideas

Students taking a virtual field trip to Glacier Bay

@edtech_tusd

The terrific thing about virtual field trips is that they eliminate so much of the hassle. No need to collect permission slips, arrange for buses, or recruit chaperones. Plus, they’re usually free!

  • 40 Amazing Educational Virtual Field Trips
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  • 15 Fascinating Aquarium Virtual Field Trips
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Field Trips by Location

If you live in one of these cities, check out some of our favorite spots.

  • 16 Cool Field Trips in Houston, Texas
  • 21 Terrific Field Trips in Chicago, Illinois
  • Top 10 Washington D.C. Field Trip Ideas

Field Trip Tips and Resources

Young student visiting a pumpkin patch in the rain

There’s a lot to do when you’re organizing an off-site field trip. These resources are here to help.

  • Preparing Parent Chaperones for a Field Trip
  • Free Printable Field Trip and School Permission Forms To Make Your Life Easier
  • Things To Do Before Taking Your Students on a Major Field Trip
  • Mistakes To Avoid When Planning a Field Trip for Students
  • Why I Hate Field Trips (And How I Learned To Deal)
  • Help! Is There Any Way I Can Get Out of Our End of the Year Field Trip?

Bonus: Looking for a laugh? Check out  Ways School Field Trips Are Like The Wizard of Oz !

What are your favorite field trip ideas? Come share your thoughts in the  We Are Teachers HELPLINE group on Facebook !

Plus,  virtual college campus tours to explore from home ..

Looking for some exciting new field trip ideas? Find them here! Unique ideas for every grade and interest, including virtual options.

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The Best PreK and Kindergarten Field Trips (Both Virtual and In-Person!)

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Field Trips: Pros and Cons

Off-campus excursions can enhance learning, but they pose challenges

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Are field trips worth all the time and effort required to make them successful? Most teachers have asked themselves this question at one time or another, typically when feeling overwhelmed as they prepare for a field trip. The truth is that field trips at any grade level can cause quite a few headaches for teachers. At the same time, well-planned field trips can provide students with truly educational experiences they cannot get in the confines of the classroom. Following is a look at the pros and cons of field trips.

Benefits of Field Trips

Field trips provide students with new opportunities for learning through experience:

Different Learning Modalities

Information is presented to students in a way that meets different learning modalities. Field trips provide students with the ability to learn by doing instead of just passively listening to the information being taught in class. 

Students are exposed to new experiences that, hopefully, broaden their horizons. This can be especially helpful for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who may not have been exposed to these opportunities before. 

Reinforcing Concepts

Concepts that have already been learned in the classroom can be reinforced. Sometimes seeing information being taught in a new way can make a big difference in student comprehension. There is quite a difference between being taught about something like hurricanes and wind speed and experiencing them in an exhibit at a science museum. 

Shared Reference

Students are provided with shared reference points that teachers can then refer to and use in future lessons. There may be an opportunity to have two or more disciplines use a field trip as an enrichment activity. For example, a trip to an art museum (art) may couple with a timeline for social studies (political systems in place when art was created) or math (measurements) can combine with science in a biosystem (river, beach, and meadow). In this manner, several teachers can then refer to things that students saw and experienced during the field trip for the remainder of the school year. 

Increased Student-Teacher Communication

Students and teachers can see each other in a different light, helping to increase communication between them. Some students who might be overlooked in class because they are quiet might really come alive on field trips. 

If parents are involved as chaperones, they can feel more connected to the teacher and the lessons being taught. They can get to know the teacher better and understand what teachers deal with daily.

Meeting Standards

Standards in social studies and science  require students to have experiences related to concepts in the discipline. In social studies, students are required to take informed action. In science, students need to be exposed to a series of concepts to help them to better understand the world around them. Field trips help teachers meet these objectives.

Problems With Field Trips

Teachers face a number of concerns and challenges when designing field trips that they need to recognize and address before planning a field trip.

Preparation Needed

Field trips take preparation if teachers want to make them meaningful. They have to coordinate locations and transportation. They also need to create an effective lesson plan that they will follow when on the excursion.

Students will be out of the school building for a field trip, which means they will miss other classes—at least in middle and high school. If each core subject area (ELA, math science, or social studies) offers one field trip during a school year, students would be out of the building for four days. School attendance policies may count these as excused absences, but any field trip that removes students from class reduces the number of classroom hours. 

Trips Can Be Costly

Field trips can be expensive, and some students may not have the funds to attend. Organizers of the field trip may consider asking for parents to add a few dollars to help students in need. School boosters may need to host a fundraiser for students to raise money for more expensive trips.

Teachers have to organize the collection of money and the assigning of chaperones. Teachers need to spend some time creating student groups that work for all students and ensuring that chaperones are assigned accordingly. 

Teachers will likely have to deal with red tape as they plan field trips including permission slips, medical information, and emergency procedures. Schools typically require paperwork from teachers and their students. 

Potential Discipline Problems

Students will be placed in a larger environment than the classroom. New surroundings could possibly lead to additional discipline problems. Because teachers typically only lead a small group (such as 30 to 40 students), they may not be able to maintain control over the behavior of every student on the field trip, especially if the group is large. Teachers should go over rules and expectations before the field trip, enforce the rules strictly while away from school grounds, and create effective consequences for misbehavior. 

May Be Disappointing

The field trip destination might not live up to the teacher's expectations. The location might not be as interesting as the teacher thought it would be. The time to complete the field trip might be considerably less than was expected. Therefore, it is a good idea to have some contingency plan in mind just in case.

There may be students who, for one reason or another, will not attend the field trip. Teachers must leave lessons, usually enrichment offerings, that mirror some of the concepts being experienced on the field trip.

Requesting Feedback

One of the best ways to measure the success of a field trip (other than returning all students back to the school) is to ask for feedback. Teachers can post a survey for participants and for other chaperones asking them to express how they would evaluate the trip.

Opportunity to Reflect

Students should have the opportunity to reflect on the trip and write a response in a journal or essay. Requiring journal responses after the trip can solidify the information learned as students reflect on their new experiences. Asking students to write a thank you to the school principal for allowing the trip may even smooth the path to additional field trips. 

Worth the Difficulties

Many teachers feel that well-chosen field trip destinations are worth the difficulties they may create. The key is taking the time to plan each aspect as much as possible. Teachers should be proactive when thinking about and planning field trips. Students, on the other hand, may remember the experience of the school field trip as a highlight of the school year, and the time they learned more than anything taught in class.

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field trip study

Structured Field Study Toolkit

Structured Field Study WBL Experiences (aka CTE Field-trips) allow students to gain first-hand knowledge on their chosen career major while building important relationships with professionals.

Usually planned to occur between 8:30am and 1:30pm, these visits to local organizations often serve as the first step toward deeper WBL experiences like Internships and Youth Apprenticeships.

Each WBL experience is custom tailored to fit the needs of students and teachers. Students should be well-prepared beforehand to ensure an optimal educational experience.

Please be realistic about completing all requirements 28 days prior to your requested WBL experience date.

*** Please plan ahead to help ensure ALL Work-based Learning experiences are able to be documented in PowerSchool. ***

field trip study

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What is field trip | definition of field trip in education.

What is Field Trip - Definition of Field Trip in Education

The term “field trip” has been known for decades in many sectors and it is a common term used in worldwide schools. It seems that a field trip is a favorite part of both teachers and students who are keen on learning and discovering. So, what is a field trip in education? Scroll down to find out the field trip definition and its many types.

practical lessons from educational field trips

Educational Field Trip Definition

A field trip or excursion is a journey taken by a group of people to a place away from their usual environment. In education, field trips are defined as visits to an outside area of the normal classroom and made by a teacher and students for purposes of firsthand observation. A field trip can be expressed in many terminologies. People call educational trips or school tours in the UK and New Zealand, and school tours in the Philippines. Field trips are a popular method carried out for students to introduce to the concepts, experiences, and ideas that cannot be given in a classroom environment. School tours can be considered as short-term learning activities providing students the opportunity to observe their chosen subject outside of a classroom setting. Exploring other cultures and customs, getting to the motherland of languages, uncovering pristine nature and experiencing fascinating local life are striking demonstrations of educational school trips

Educational-Field-Trip-Definition

Types of Field Trips

Those listed field trip ideas that help to clear field trip meaning. Efficient educational tours can spark students’ imagination, give them valuable experiences and refresh their minds after days with pencils and papers. A school tour can be themed with one type of field trip or combined by various school trip ideas.

Types-of-Field-Trips

Sightseeing Field Trip

Students are definitely eager the most to sightseeing school trips enchanting them by a myriad of appealing attractions in their wish destination. Admire well-known attractions, explore historic structures, discover World Heritage Sites, unwind on spectacular landscapes and freshen in front of scenic vista are incredible activities that gain huge interests from students and strongly inspire them.

Language and Culture Educational Field Trip

For students learning foreign languages, field trips are very important and helpful to improve the language and explore the alluring indigenous culture. Join immersive activities, stay at a local homestay, take language lessons and visit local markets enable students to practice the language, get a deeper understanding of local culture and their captivating paces of life.

Gardening and Farming Field Trip

This might be an interesting activity attracts lots of students’ attention thanks to its strangeness to their usual life. Discover specialty farms that grow the normal crop and even irregular crops will surprise curious students. Learn how vegetables are produced, explore and give a try to do traditional farming techniques of local people leaves memorable experiences for students.

Gardening and Farming Field Trip

Manufacturing Facility Field Trip

Students can be guided to any factory where equipment, cars, tools, packaging or any other things are made. The mechanized facilities and assembly lines are interesting for students to learn about the production process, how raw materials are utilized and how workers use them to make the final product.

Manufacturing-facility-field-trip

Eco-adventure Field Trip

Discover the natural world is a highly important perspective in the educational sector. Students can be entertained and refreshed by trekking through untouched natural beauties to inspect local plant life and wildlife animals. This opportunity also adds to local historical factors such as early life remnants.

Eco-adventure field trip & school tour

Business Educational Tour

Take business study trips, your students will be delighted by bustling financial and business centers. Business study trips help process business theories in the classroom into life as students explore great commercial organizations. Business field trip gives students the chance to immerse in stimulating and dynamic environments. Visit a range of famed organizations and large corporations will perfect business school trips.

Business-educational-tour

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20 Engaging and Educational Field Trip Ideas for Preschoolers

  • brightwheel
  • Child development

educational field trip ideas for preschoolers

Field trips are momentous times in a preschooler’s life. Preschool field trips allow children to enjoy a change of scenery and spend time outside the classroom doing more hands-on learning.

In addition to the memories children create on field trips, they’re a valuable opportunity for educators to reinforce lessons. With the right planning and preparation, field trips for children can be an engaging, educational day for all involved.

Children standing on the shore pointing out toward a body of water

Why are preschool field trips important?

Field trips are more than extra-curricular activities. They can be an integral part of a child’s early education. Preschool field trips afford many substantial benefits for children:

Broadens their education

Children are exposed to only so much in a classroom setting. Field trips allow children to get a richer picture of educational subjects by observing them outside of books, lessons, or videos.

Exposure to real-life experiences

In preschool, children are developing their understanding of life and the world around them. Field trips expose them to everyday life in a setting where their teacher can help them connect what they’re learning to what happens in the real places in their community. Experiential learning (authentic, first-hand, sensory-based learning) through field trips is a way for children to reflect on and apply their new knowledge.

Research shows academic improvement

Studies support the idea that field trips have real effects on a child’s education. Field trips are linked to improvements in academic performance. According to a study on youth educational trips by the Wagner Group and the U.S. Travel Association, adults who took educational trips when they were younger…

  • Had better grades (59% of study respondents)
  • Graduated from high school at a higher rate (95% of study respondents)
  • Reported that educational trips had a positive impact on their education (89% of study respondents)

Expands their world

Field trips allow all children to experience more of the world. Whether they live in a busy city or a rural town, field trips introduce children to experiences and environments they may not have access to otherwise. Preschool teachers have the opportunity to make a child’s world a little larger with each field trip and show them new places, people, and adventures.

Child holding pinecones outside in nature

How to plan and prepare for preschool field trips

A lot of preparation goes into a successful field trip. For teachers and administrators, there are people, places, and schedules to coordinate weeks or months in advance.

Consider the below areas as you plan your trip:

Teaching moments

Sometimes preschool field trips are planned around a specific topic the class has been covering. Sometimes trips are simply a good learning opportunity that you’ll weave a lesson into. No matter which scenario you’re in as a teacher, it’s helpful to have your notes and activities prepared in advance.

How many adult chaperones will you need for the field trip? When you’re planning field trips for kids, it’s crucial to have a confirmed, appropriate number of chaperones based on the number of children attending. 

You can request family volunteers or set up a rotating schedule so families can plan ahead. Consider offering incentives like free lunches or gift cards and remind them it’s a great opportunity to have a meaningful experience with their child and get to know the other children and families in your program.

Plan to bring extra snacks in case meal times run late. Prepare to answer questions from parents about whether to pack a lunch or work out an eating arrangement at the field trip location. If you'll be serving meals on the field trip, prepare the food before and determine how you will transport it. Consider packing a cooler for any perishable foods that need to be kept cold, and pack plenty of water if there is no water available at your destination.

Transportation

Some preschool policies require that school vehicles are used for field trips. Before the trip, determine transportation needs, such as how many vans or buses will be needed and if parents are permitted to drive.

If there’s a cost associated with the trip, how will you secure funds from the school or handle payments from parents? Use your communication platforms to alert parents of any expenses they’ll need to cover as far in advance as possible.

Sometimes drop-off and pick-up schedules can be impacted by field trips. Create an agenda and itinerary that shows where the class will be and breaks down how long you’ll be at each location. This helps parents plan their day and gives school administration information they would need in an emergency. 

If any children have medication, medical equipment, or anything else that needs to be on hand for them, it needs to be accounted for in field trip planning. Bring any health and safety documents such as an accurate roster to count the children and emergency contact information. Teachers should also pack first aid kits and antibacterial hand wipes if there is no access to clean running water on your trip. 

Families' participation on field trips is a great way to include them in the curriculum and share a day in the life of the class. Check out our calendar template to keep families up-to-date with all major school events and spark new ideas for family engagement year-round. 

Download our free calendar template for early education programs for more  activity ideas!

Field trip safety tips

Taking young children on a field trip can be an overwhelming experience without the right preparation. Field trips are very exciting, so be aware that the children may have extra energy or be more distracted. To have a fun, safe, and smooth trip, focus on safety measures before and during the excursion.

Before the field trip

  • Review the schedule with the children and tell them what to expect 
  • Give children safety guidelines and procedures to follow
  • Assign pairs or small groups for headcount checks
  • Involve children in checking the field trip supply checklist
  • Instruct children to wear bright clothes or a certain color to make them easy to spot
  • Prepare and bring a first aid kit

  During the field trip

  • Do headcount checks frequently and always before leaving or entering any location
  • Follow pedestrian rules carefully when walking such as using sidewalks and crosswalks and only crossing the street when traffic signals say it is safe
  • For traveling by bus or van, check every seat before exiting
  • Ensure children understand and follow the security and safety measures of the field trip location
  • Continue practicing basic hygiene, such as washing hands or using hand wipes before eating
  • Keep a copy of emergency contact lists with you at all times
  • Take bathroom breaks together as a group

Field trip ideas for preschoolers

Choosing where to take the children in your preschool class is one of the most exciting parts of field trip planning. Here are 20 engaging and educational field trip ideas for preschoolers:

Apple orchards and pumpkin patches can show children how these foods are grown and offer a truly hands-on education as they pick their own.

Nature walk

Nature walks are an educational adventure that allow children to discover various plants, leaves, critters, and trees. It’s also great physical activity!

Farmer’s markets

A field trip to the local farmer’s market or grocery store can be an opportunity to teach children lessons about nutrition and where their food comes from.

Many children’s books are full of stories and illustrations of sea creatures, so the aquarium is sure to be a hit with preschoolers. They’ll get a chance to see these creatures up close and learn more about them.

A local bakery is another food-focused field trip that supports a small business and allows children to see how some of their favorite sweet treats are created.

Zoos are a common preschool class favorite! Children can visit and hear facts about a wide variety of animals, including birds, mammals, and reptiles.

Local library

Libraries are often a familiar place for young children, but a preschool field trip to the library gives children a chance to learn details about what a librarian does and the many types of books available to them.

Fire station

Preschoolers tend to love fire trucks. Use a field trip to a fire station to teach them about the work that happens behind the scenes and age-appropriate fire safety tips.

Local events

Sometimes the best educational events don’t need to be booked—they’re already happening in your community! From holiday celebrations and parades to the annual fair, local events can provide children with a wealth of learning opportunities.

Farmers have so much they can teach young children, from lessons about the way food is grown to how the animals are raised.

Children’s museum

Museums that cater specifically to young children are educational and interactive places that are ideal for preschool field trips. They also tend to change exhibits regularly, which means they’re a great choice for multiple trips.

Home improvement store

Show children how chairs, tables, and other items they use on a daily basis are built. Another way to do this is to find a local builder with a small shop who’s willing to give a workshop tour and demonstration.

If you have a child-friendly state park nearby, they make excellent field trip destinations. State parks are a beautiful place to teach about the great outdoors and ways to protect and respect our planet. 

Recycling center

Teach children the importance of recycling and how everyday items like plastic water bottles and aluminum soda cans are recycled. 

Local ponds are perfect for a low-cost, science and nature focused field trip. They’re often home to frogs, ducks, and aquatic plants, making great lesson topics for preschool children.

Around town scavenger hunt

Teach children about where they live with a scavenger hunt in your community. Downtown areas are usually ideal locations for this field trip activity.

Expose children to the performing arts with a preschool field trip to the local theater. This trip can teach them about storytelling on the stage, theater etiquette, and stage acting as a career.

Train station

Learning about different types of transportation expands children’s minds and view of the world. Add in a train ride to make it both engaging and educational!

Botanical garden

Botanical gardens are a stunning environment to teach children about the beauty of nature and various types of plant life.

Historic monuments

A field trip to an age-appropriate historic site can provide early lessons on important historical figures and events.

Post-field trip actions and education

Get the most out of your day away from the classroom by following up with children and their families after your field trip. Parents will appreciate knowing what their children learned and children will get a chance to relive the best moments of their trip.

To update families, consider including a brief summary of your field trip in your preschool newsletter . Ask children to share their favorite parts of the trip and include photos! 

Plan a memorable outing

There are plenty of details to consider and plan when it comes to executing preschool field trips. Taking a trip is a great opportunity for educators to build upon everything their children are learning in the classroom and engage them in hands-on, memorable experiences. 

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UA Little Rock Take Immersive Study Abroad Trip to Argentina

  • July 10, 2024 June 14, 2024
  • Angelita Faller
  • Community Featured Homepage News
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UA Little Rock business students and professors visit Argentina during a study abroad trip to learn about international business operations and management. Photo by Benjamin Krain.

A dozen University of Arkansas at Little Rock students embarked on a transformative study abroad experience to Buenos Aires, Argentina , to learn more about international business operations and management.

Over the course of their visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina, from May 9-18, the 12 students from the School of Business engaged closely with local businesses, explored bustling ports, and participated in a series of enriching excursions across this vibrant economic and cultural hub.

The students who went on the trip include Lakesha Cathy, Kuei-Ho Chen, Christine Cotton, Chloe Deaton, Emma Dorsey, Chad Files, Tariq Jones, John Major, Tara Mitchell, Angie Cervantes Raya, Jessica Salas, and Jordan Snellgrove.

Kuei-Ho Chen, an MBA student from Taiwan, described the trip as an incredible opportunity for both study and exploration.

“I appreciate having this chance to study abroad,” Chen said. “This trip has been a rich learning experience that has broadened my understanding of business and its impact on our global interconnectedness.”

The study abroad trip was led by Dr. Joe Felan, associate professor of management, Dr. Otmar Varela, professor of management, and Dr. Ashvin Vibhakar, Joe T. Ford Professor of Finance.

“The focus of our study abroad trip was to learn about supply chain management and global operations,” Felan said. “We took the students to the Port of Buenos Aires, one of the busiest ports in South America, and discussed issues related to import and export. Argentina ended up being a fascinating place to visit.”

The group also visited the Puerto Madero Distribution Center to learn about logistics operations, an agricultural organization to learn about agribusiness in the region, the National Bank of Argentina, the Buenos Aires City office regarding the city’s business promotions, and a trip to a yogurt manufacturing plant to see operations management practices in action.

The group also participated in fun group excursions like going on neighborhood tours, horseback riding, seeing a tango show, and watching a local soccer match. Varela, who used to play soccer in college, even demonstrated some of his soccer skills to the group before the soccer match.

UA Little Rock business students learn about traditional dances during a study abroad trip to Argentina. Photo by Benjamin Krain.

“Soccer is a huge part of the culture in Argentina, and I think we were all impressed by Otmar’s soccer skills,” Vibhakar noted.

“Argentina offers a larger cultural shock for our students,” Varela said. “We took several tours of the area with local cultural experts. I found it interesting to visit the market and some of the trendy neighborhoods with coffee shops and museums. This trip exceeded my expectations in terms of experience. The feedback from students was amazing.”

While the students had many fun experiences, for one student, the foreign cuisine was the best part of the trip.

“We were introduced to facets of Buenos Aires culture from open air markets, life in the Parana River delta, the Catholic cathedral of Pope Francis, a local soccer match, tango show, and fine dining experiences,” said John Major, a senior business administration student from Little Rock. “I had the opportunity to join some of my fellow students in trying at least two Michelin Star restaurants and four other wonderful dining experiences. These are some of the top 10 meals I have ever had. The steak, pasta, and fusion dishes make other meals diminish in contrast.”

Every student who went on the study abroad trip received a scholarship from the UA Little Rock School of Business. Varela and Felan plan to lead another study abroad trip for School of Business students in 2025. The details will be announced in the fall, and scholarships will be available for the participants.

“For many of our students, this is the first time they’ve been outside of the state of Arkansas, the United States, or even the first time they’ve traveled on an airplane,” Vibhakar said. “The program gives them an outstanding experience to grow. Having lived in multiple countries, I emphasize to students that you should seek every opportunity to experience another nation and culture.”

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This Stunning Country Has the Friendliest People in the World, According to a New Study

You're bound to make a new friend in South Africa.

field trip study

Alessandra Amodio/Travel + Leisure

If you're hoping to find a friendly smile and a welcoming "hello" on your travels, Remitly , a digital financial service company, has a new report. The company released the results of its new study, which named South Africa the friendliest country in the world.

To uncover which places are just a bit happier to see you than others, Remitly used the program Prolific to test 3,000 participants from 27 countries on the "agreeableness" trait from the Big 5 Personality Test . The test asked each participant questions, which gave them a score between one and 30 on how "agreeable" they really are. The higher participants scored, the more friendly they are perceived, or as Remitly explained, "those who have high traits of agreeableness generally display more prosocial behaviors and are also generally highly empathetic, showing great consideration for the welfare of others." 

Remitly then calculated the average score of all the participants from each country to find each nation's "friendliness" score. After looking at all the information, South Africa came out as the winner, with a normalized score of 34.63 out of 40. 

"Known for being warm and welcoming, South Africans are generally happy to engage in conversation, socializing, and plenty of jokes, helping visitors and new arrivals feel at ease," the findings noted. "Their affable nature, coupled with the country's varied landscapes and affordable cost of living, makes it a popular place to move or travel to." 

Coming in a close second is Greece, which scored 33.71 out of 40, making it the friendliest country in Europe, followed by Croatia in third with a score of 33.5.

Mexico took the fourth spot, and the title of friendliest nation in North America, and Sweden rounded out the top five. The United Kingdom was a lowly 18th, and the U.S. 15th as the global superpowers fared less well in the friendliness stakes than many of their European and North American neighbors.    

"Friendliness is such a crucial trait in life, even more so if you're moving or traveling to a new country where you might feel nervous or lonely," Ollie Cassel, head of growth marketing at Remitly, noted in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure . "The warmth and conviviality of strangers can make all the difference in helping people feel more welcome and settled, enhancing an experience beyond recognition." 

However, as Cassel added, though some nations may seem friendlier than others, it's critical that no matter where you travel "immersing yourself in local communities, cultures, and customs will help you to create your new home away from home."

See the full listings and where your favorite country ranks at remitly.com .

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  1. The Educational Value of Field Trips

    The Educational Value of Field Trips. Jay P. Greene joined EdNext Editor-in-chief Marty West to discuss the benefits of field trips, including how seeing live theater is a more enriching experience to students, on the EdNext podcast. The school field trip has a long history in American public education. For decades, students have piled into ...

  2. Different Types of Field Trips for Learning about our World

    Agricultural field trips are trips that are focused on the farm. Farm trips are great options for teaching kids all about the life cycles of plants, the types and effects of weather, where our food comes from, and more! Some of my favorite agricultural trips include fruit picking, petting zoos, and bee farms!

  3. Yes, Field Trips Are Worth the Effort

    In the study, researchers assigned more than 1,000 fourth- and fifth-grade students in Atlanta to two groups. One group participated in three to six "culturally-enriching" field trips—visits to an art museum, a live theater performance, and a symphony concert—while students in the control group stayed put in class.

  4. Is There a Difference Between a Field Trip and an Educational Tour?

    Essentially, an educational tour is an enhanced and upgraded version of the traditional field trip. While the difference between a field trip and an educational tour may seem unimportant, there are many ways that a professional tour organizer such as Junior Tours can enhance the learning and overall experience of any trip, making it well worth ...

  5. How to Plan a Field Trip: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Plan Your Schedule. Arrange Your Supervision. Create a Permission Form. Decide Who's Allowed To Go. Tie in Your Field Trip to Your Curriculum. These are the steps you will need to cover for your field trip plan. The order of these steps may be different for you, but be sure to think about all of these points. 1.

  6. A Short Review of School Field Trips: Key Findings from the Past and

    The study suggests that visitors to museum-type settings, including students on field trips, might learn more by reading than they themselves realize. By focusing student attention, well-designed worksheets might tap into the power of existing interpretive materials while providing students with a visit experience that is more reflective of ...

  7. The Benefits Of Learning Through Field Trips

    Museums, and many other kinds of field trips are multi-media experiences; therefore, learning is enriched and reinforced with superimposing sensory and intellectual inputs. Most museums are designed to stimulate curiosity and actively engage the visitor, so you have a very professional partner working with you to help your students learn.

  8. The Benefits of Field Trips

    Students who go on field trips become more empathetic and tolerant. A study conducted by the University of Arkansas found that students that participate in a field trip to an art museum show increased empathy, tolerance and critical thinking skills. Studying art gives students a chance to think about a topic or theme from a different perspective.

  9. Field trip

    A field trip or excursion is a journey by a group of associated peers, such as coworkers or school students, ... A 2022 study, which used randomized controlled trial data, found that culturally enriching field trips led students to show a greater interest in arts, ...

  10. Field Trips

    Here are some things to consider when planning a field trip. A field trip should relate to something you are teaching in class. A field trip should be age-appropriate for your students. Be sure to follow all of your school's procedures and requirements (e.g., parental permission). Be sure that parents know about the field trip and any ...

  11. How to Plan an Educational Field Trip for Students

    Day 1: Start at the Boston Massacre site for an immersive historical reenactment. Then, visit the Old South Meeting House, the staging ground for protests like the Boston Tea Party. End the day at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, where you can participate in interactive multimedia experiences. Day 2: Walk the famous Freedom Trail, passing ...

  12. The Educational Value of Field Trips in 2024: Advantages and

    Similarly, students are known to retain a significant amount of information when visiting a museum. According to a 2013 study based on tours to the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas, over 70% of the students who visited recollected the historical context behind some of the paintings (Greene et al., 2013). Upon assessing the reaction papers to the tour, the participants displayed a 9% growth ...

  13. Field Trip: Definition & Benefits

    A field trip is a visit to an area outside of the normal classroom where children can try new things, have different experiences, and learn valuable life lessons. A field trip can be to countless ...

  14. The Importance of Field Trips in a Well-Rounded Education Process

    Chances are, a field trip would be the answer. According to Behrendt & Franklin, field trip by definition is a school-sanctioned excursion away from the classroom and other traditional study environments, to observe, interact with different settings, conduct basic research and/or experiencing new activities not readily found in school.

  15. Field-trip study shows improvements in critical thinking

    A recent study on students in grades K-12 found that a short one-hour field trip to an art museum improved their critical thinking, historical empathy, tolerance, and interest in art museums. While school field trips are declining, in part because of budget cuts and an increased focus on teaching to the test, this study shows their importance ...

  16. What is a Field Trip: Exploring the Benefits, Challenges, and ...

    A comprehensive guide to field trips, covering their benefits, challenges, tips for planning, how they enhance learning in the classroom, and creative ideas for field trips. Also included is a section on virtual field trips. ... According to a study conducted by the National Education Association, "Field trips provide students with ...

  17. Ten Tips for a Successful Field Trip

    Here a 10 quick tips to help you and your students get the most out of your trip: Plan everything well in advance. Call to schedule the field trip or request an educational fee waiver, get a confirmation, and make necessary arrangements for school and parental permission and transportation. Plan the educational experiences and activities for ...

  18. 260+ Field Trip Ideas for Grades PreK-12 (In-Person and Virtual)

    Early-grade field trips help kids learn about the world and also teach them good field trip behavior. These are our top picks for the pre-K crowd, but many of the options on our kindergarten list are perfect for this age group too. Library: Not every student's parents take them to story time. Schedule your own trip, and show kids that having ...

  19. Field Trip Tips for Safe, Fun Learning & Success

    Make it a point of pride and reward them afterward for a job well done. Give your students a learning task ahead of time. Your students should show up for the field trip with a base of knowledge on the subject at hand, as well as questions to answer before returning to the classroom. Spend some time in the weeks before the field trip discussing ...

  20. Pros and Cons of Class Field Trips

    Different Learning Modalities. Information is presented to students in a way that meets different learning modalities. Field trips provide students with the ability to learn by doing instead of just passively listening to the information being taught in class. Students are exposed to new experiences that, hopefully, broaden their horizons.

  21. Plan a Structured Field Study

    Structured Field Study WBL Experiences (aka CTE Field-trips) allow students to gain first-hand knowledge on their chosen career major while building important relationships with professionals. Usually planned to occur between 8:30am and 1:30pm, these visits to local organizations often serve as the first step toward deeper WBL experiences like ...

  22. Definition of Field Trip in Education

    A field trip or excursion is a journey taken by a group of people to a place away from their usual environment. In education, field trips are defined as visits to an outside area of the normal classroom and made by a teacher and students for purposes of firsthand observation. A field trip can be expressed in many terminologies.

  23. Faculty-Led Field Trips

    A faculty-led field trip is a study abroad opportunity for students who have enrolled in specific courses, and must participate in the field trip as a required component of the class. These are typically up to 10 days long and offer at least 3 hours of credit through Texas A&M (as part of the course itself).

  24. 20 Engaging and Educational Field Trip Ideas for Preschoolers

    Use this guide for creative field trip ideas for preschoolers. These 20 ideas offer a variety of experiences and learning opportunities. ... (89% of study respondents) Expands their world. Field trips allow all children to experience more of the world. Whether they live in a busy city or a rural town, field trips introduce children to ...

  25. UA Little Rock Take Immersive Study Abroad Trip to Argentina

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