Between COVID-19 and lack of funding for field trip transportation, many teachers may think that they cannot have their students participate in field trips this school year. Thankfully, this is not the case. There are several elementary virtual field trips for teachers to choose from.
Amazon Fulfillment Center
Amazon has four virtual field trip options. The first one is a live tour. This tour is one hour long and is hosted by tour guides. It is a combination of video and live broadcasts. At the end of the tour, students participate in an interactive question and answer session. Live tours are offered at specific times.
If the times of the live tours do not work for you, Amazon offers a recorded version of a live tour that can be accessed at any time. Just like the live tour the trip lasts for about an hour.
Amazon also offers a short video tour that lasts for ten minutes. This option is perfect for students in K-2. This tour explains what happens at the fulfillment center when you order from Amazon.
Finally, Amazon has a tour called “Future Engineer”. The focus of this tour is to show students how Amazon is using computer science and robotics to deliver orders to customers. This tour would be perfect for elementary STEAM teachers.
Fieldtripzoom Zone provides a live streaming platform for elementary field trips. It offers hundreds of live streaming events that last from 30-45 minutes. Every event includes an interactive question and answer session. Providers include the South Carolina Aquarium, Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, The Maryland Historical Society, and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.
The company offers three types of memberships. A class membership costs $49.95 a year. A school membership costs $499.95 a year. It also offers a district membership. This allows for unlimited teacher and student usage. Districts may request a quote. The company also offers a free month trial to all new schools or districts. Another option that is provided by Fieldtripzoom Zone is a set of free trips. These trips are offered by https://www.exploringbytheseat.com/ and focus on science. There are a limited number of camera seats available.
Google Lit Trips
Google Lit Trips provide students the opportunity to learn more about the culture and setting of specific picture books and novels. There are currently over 20 Google Lit Trips for students in grades K-5 including Riding Freedom by Pam Mnñez Ryan and Lost by David McPhaill. Teachers must sign up and have access to Google Earth.
The National Zoo also offers public programs on Zoom. Students can participate in polls, through the chat feature, and a question/answer feature.
Many zoos have virtual field trip options. For example, the Cincinnati Zoo has virtual programs that last from 20-60 minutes. There is no student limit and the cost is just $25. Low income schools may qualify for the Living Classroom Access Fund making the virtual field trip free. Field trips are videos and include a worksheet. K-2 students can choose to learn about animal movement or how animals use color to survive. 3-5 students learn about primates.
The National Zoo in Washington, D.C. also provides virtual field trips to elementary students. These are live discussion trips and take place on Zoom. The Zoo currently offers seven different field trips. The Zoo requires permission slips from all participants indicating that they have permission to participate in a virtual program. Registration for spring trips begins on November 10, 2021. The National Zoo also offers public programs on Zoom. In these programs the audio and video is disabled for students. However, students participate in polls, through the chat feature, and a question/answer feature. They are offered the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00 Eastern. The public program is free.
Many museums have virtual field trips for elementary students. The Glazer Children’s Museum in Tampa, Florida offers virtual field trips. The field trips are for students in PreK-4. Teachers can purchase one grade level of two trips for just $25. One trip is literacy based and the other trip is STEAM based. The trips are offered free to Title I Florida schools in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, and Polk County. These field trips are innovative and sure to capture students’ attention. For example, during the Cranes For Peace (third grade) field trip students learn about the legend of the cranes, listen to the story, The Paper Crane by Molly Bang, and learn how to fold paper cranes. Fourth graders can participate in the Building Kinetic Bridges trip. During this trip students learn about the different types of energy and then build a kinetic energy bridge.
The Museum of Science and Industry also has virtual options for schools. The museum offers learning labs for elementary students in grades 2-6. The available labs are:
- Visual Vortex (Grades 2-6)
- Virtual Tesla Coil (Grades 4-7)
- U-505 Virtual Tour (Grades 4-12)
- Weather Wise (Grades 3-5)
- Mars 2040 (Grades 5-8)
Labs are live and take place on Zoom or Google Meet. They have a capacity of 35 students. the cost of learning labs ranges from $75-$100 and lasts for 20-45 minutes. After the live learning lab, you may be inspired to try out the learning lab challenges. These are detailed lesson plans that you can use in your classroom.
Factory tours are another type of virtual field trip. Jiffy, which makes cake, icing, brownie, and muffin mixes in Michigan has several videos about their company and factories. After the virtual field trip, consider making a Jiffy mix with your students. The directions are easy to follow and usually only require eggs, oil, and water to make.
Crayola also offers a virtual field trip. There are two field trips–a scavenger hunt and an ocean theme. Teachers must fill out a form on the website to get the supplies for the trips. The website also provides contact numbers for educators where they can get more information about the trips.
Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips
Discovery Education offers a variety of no cost virtual field trips. There are both live and on-demand options for educators to choose from if they have a Discovery Education account. Each field trip comes with a curriculum guide, and additional hands-on activities. Most field trips are geared towards upper elementary, junior high, and high school.
As you can see, the Internet is full of virtual field trips for your students. These field trips are an excellent way to broaden students’ horizons without leaving the classroom. Why not try one today?
So, I’m going ‘out on a limb’ here. Hopefully a parent of my previous students does not read this article. However, with that being said none of my students were harmed or were in any potential harm.
The Field Trip 101 checklist is to assist you in planning at a high level, and to help guide conversations to determine the particulars of the field trip, and ultimately save you and those around you time!
Maybe you aren’t adventurous, but rather, you are an entertainer. Actors, singers, and even stand-up comedians provide some much-needed entertainment for the world