While your school district might not be permitting on-site field trips, there is still a way for teachers and students to experience the world outside of the classroom without ever leaving the school building. They are called virtual field trips and they are a great option for teachers who are looking to enrich their students’ lessons without using a textbook.
Here are some tips for planning your own virtual field trip.
Before you introduce the idea of a virtual field trip to your students, do some research. There are a number of options for exploring everything from astronauts playing with slime in space to exploring the National Zoo to virtually hiking through Yellowstone Park. And while these would all make for a great experience, it’s also a great idea to research what local museums, foundations, zoos and aquariums have available for virtual learning. These experiences will help your students make a connection to their world and might even inspire them to visit these locations with their families. Local sites might also be able to provide additional information, handouts, souvenirs or guest speakers.
The goal for any field trip is to help students make real-world connections to what they’re learning in the classroom. Think about what units and topics your students will be learning about in the next few months and research what virtual field trips might fit best with upcoming curricula.
Once you’ve determined the virtual field trip that will fit best with what your students are learning, you’ll want to take the trip on your own to make sure that it is what you’re looking for. This will also help you to discover any technical issues that you need to resolve before guiding your class through the trip.
While you won’t have to acquire the traditional permission slips for a virtual trip, it is still a good idea to run the idea past your superiors and send a note home to parents letting them know what their child will be discovering at school.
You’ll want to create some ways to assess what your students should learn by the end of the virtual field trip. Start by introducing the topic the week before the trip. Find out what they already know about volcanoes or space travel or their local zoo and get them thinking about what they might learn from a virtual trip. Have them take notes about interesting facts or information during the trip. And when it’s over, discuss their favorite aspects of the trip as a group.
Once you’ve talked about the trip as a class, have the students complete an assessment by answering a series of questions with a partner, writing an essay about what they’ve learned, or creating a poster that visually represents their experience.
Back To Top
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.