Field trips are oftentimes the highlight of the school year for both students and teachers. My fondest memories while teaching often include the time I’ve spent with my students on field trips. It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with them one-on-one outside of school. There are also so many teachable moments during field trips for my students and even myself! While leaving the school building is already enough of a thrill for the students, why not make sure you have a cool field trip planned? Here are 10 cool field trip ideas that students and teachers will enjoy!
1) Art Museum
Art Museums are a great way to connect art and history- a subject that young students struggle to identify with. Art comes in so many different mediums. Growing up, I always struggled with making art that I was content with. However, I finally found a love for using watercolors. Monet ended up being a huge inspiration for me. I love to pass this opportunity on to students to give them the time to identify with art that they experience at the museum. There are also many teachable moments from a historical standpoint as well. Students oftentimes struggle with history because they are unable to relate to historical events and figures. Being exposed to art and sometimes seeing the events on canvas helps students gain a deeper understanding of history.
Going to the aquarium is a cool experience for any student. The opportunity to immerse yourself in aquatic life is a unique experience for both adults and children. How often do you get to see sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays up close? Our school was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the aquarium my first year teaching; the look on my students’ faces when we arrived at the first exhibit was absolutely priceless. My students learned a ton as well. We managed to tie in writing, mathematics, and (of course) science into the trip effortlessly. Out of all of these cool field trip ideas, the aquarium definitely has a special place in my heart.
3) TV Station
Students from all backgrounds are familiar with television. However, it’s hard to imagine what goes on behind the scenes! TV stations are always happy to give tours to students; it might even inspire some students to pursue a job in broadcasting. While this is a cool field trip idea, it’s also relatively inexpensive in the long run. A win-win!
4) Botanical Gardens
A field trip to the botanical gardens is worthwhile- especially for inner-city students. Growing up in the desert, my exposure to plants was minimal. My first trip to the botanical gardens was eye-opening to say the least! Students from rural and suburban backgrounds are able to experience plant diversity that they may not be familiar with. It’s also easy to tie in science standards throughout your trip to the botanical gardens.
The theatre is a great place for a field trip. From a young age, students are exposed to the structure of plays through reader’s theatre. However, it’s truly a remarkable experience to see a play put on by professionals! Between the acting, the props, the set- students are always blown away by a field trip to the theatre. Most towns and cities have a nearby community theatre- you could even take your students on a field trip to see a high school theatre performance. Hopefully, this field trip might even inspire students to get into theatre!
I will always remember going to the movies with my class in fourth grade. We had just finished a book study on Holes by Louis Sachar, so our school had allowed an educational field trip to view the movie adaptation that had just come out. There were many teachable moments such as how the movie and book differed so we were able to compare and contrast the book and the movie. Knowing that we would be able to view the movie after finishing the book also made some of the hesitant readers in my class want to finish the novel.
The zoo is a classic when it comes to cool field trip ideas. Students can observe a variety of different animals from all over the world. It’s easy to tie science standards into a trip to the zoo- especially if your class has researched animal classifications or different habitats. To add, I find that parents usually line up to chaperone field trips to the zoo.
Can’t decide between the zoo and the botanical gardens? A farm is a happy medium. Students can see where their food comes from while getting up close and personal with cute farm animals. They might even receive some gardening tips from the farmers. You could also tie in some helpful lessons on nutrition!
Space is beyond our reach for field trips for now, but planetariums make the cosmos feel close. A lot of kids are curious about space. To this day, I remember the anticipation I felt the night before the field trip we took to the planetarium. The field trip itself didn’t disappoint either. Stepping into the cool planetarium, staring up at different planets and constellations- it was a larger than life experience. I recommend a field trip to the planetarium for students of all ages!
10) The Great Outdoors
There are tons of state and national parks that are perfect for field trips! Our school takes a fifth-grade field trip to a nearby reservoir to learn about water conservation and it’s always a huge hit. They learn a bunch and then take a trip around the reservoir on a pontoon (this is usually the highlight of the field trip for them). I know that I certainly could use some more time with Mother Nature. Outdoor field trips allow students to have the opportunity to connect with nature and learn about the world around them.
In truth, any field trip you take with your students is bound to be memorable. Oftentimes during field trips students can connect with the world in a way that they haven’t before.
Hopefully this list of cool field trip ideas will inspire some engaging field trips! Happy travels!!
Permission slips are standard and required for high school field trips in the United States. Yet, what about high schools in other countries? As a teacher who has taught in Europe many years and in China for one year, I went on many field trips outside of the U.S. What do they do different and why?
The educator’s task to arrange a field trip, get all the parent permission slips, then deal with students outside of the classroom and school environment never crossed my mind doing my graduate work.
One thing that is rarely ever covered in new teacher training is how to do what many of us in the profession consider to be “the easy stuff”. Things like how to use the copier, how to set up a classroom, and how to create and send out a movie permission slip.