What makes a succesful Field Trip. (are they worth it)

Posted By on March 25, 2009

So what makes a successful field trip?

I went to the zoo today (Audubon Zoo in New Orleans).  We actually went to the zoo and the aquarium.

It was  a great trip. I even got to go behind the scenes of the sea lions.  But the question I have is, “How do you know that a field trip was worth it?”  There are several arguments against field trips. (Time out of class, especially disruption of other subjects classes, money spent on fuel, effort to plan the trip, etc)  I sometimes hesitate to plan them. So, other than, “You come home with all the kids you brought with you.”, What makes a good field trip.

Some thoughts on the measure of a good field trip.

  1. The kids see something they would not normally see.
  2. The kids see a new side of something they would normally see.
  3. The kids see an old or familiar thing through YOUR eyes and therefore get a new and better understanding of it.
  4. The students see an authority on the subject that significantly alters their learning.

Now, about today’s zoo trip.
#1. Check
- Most of these kids have been to the Audubon Zoo and will go back.
- However, we did get to go behind the scenes with the sea lions and talk to the trainers. so check.

#2 This is split  (which seems unavoidable)
- Some students took the assignment to heart and actually did more than just look at monkeys.
The assignment made the day at the zoo different.
- Some students just wondered around in a daze and looked at monkeys

#3 This is split.  (and It’s part of the problem with field trips)
- some students wandered around at a distance from the teacher?
- However, some students hovered around the teacher and her passion and knowledge was infectious to them. It was fun to witness.

#4 not really
- yes they got to speak to the trainers, but really this was not that significant.  Besides, they could watch a video or the expert could come to them.

So, I am stuck without an answer.  Was it worth it?

Do any of you out there (students or teachers) have experience with field trips that really altered your education on a topic?

About the author


One Response to “What makes a succesful Field Trip. (are they worth it)”

  1. shawnliner says:

    A quick addition.
    Another measure would be that it makes a lasting impression that “sticks” better than other lessons.
    Today’s video conference with author Ernest Gaines is an example of that. I’m pretty sure that the students will remember this longer than discussing the author’s intentions.