The Free-ish Field Trip

 Field trips can be great learning opportunities for students. They can serve as the real world example of content that they have been reading about or discussing in class, which can aid in solidifying learning. However, field trips can also be greatly expensive, and there are only so many field trip grants to go around. Yet, the benefits of experiencing learning outside of the classroom, of learning within a context, within an experience are so great that maybe it’s worth rethinking what sites are acceptable to be field trip destinations.

 

Taking a field trip to a city park would mean only transportation would have to be covered and therefore may be completely doable. Taking a field trip to a park in walking distance from the school would only necessitate enough chaperones to safely make the trip and therefore could be free. Although the park does not seem to be as exciting as a theme park or zoo at first thought, it could be a fun break from the four walls of the classroom. Here’s a list of three ideas for a park field trip.

 

1. Storytelling and Read Alouds

 

You can easily bring a book to life when inside voices are no longer necessary, yards and yards of grass become a stage and the backdrop of trees, bushes and birds set the mood for a good fairy tale.

 

 2. Science Investigations and Experiments

 

Whether you’re learning about buoyancy and do an outdoor sink or float investigation, need ample room for building and launching rockets, or are learning about different ecosystems, the park is a great natural laboratory.

 

3. Physical Education

 

Obstacle courses, sack races, field days, bean bag toss and so much more can easily be done at a park and can be integrated with other academic content. For example, obstacle courses could be designed with location words such as in between, and in front of, emphasized. Sack races can involve predicting the time it will take to complete a race, conducting the race while using a timer and documenting the findings.

 

Of course, this brief list doesn’t include all of the possibilities of learning that can take place in a park. The only limit on what can be done in a park are the limits of your imagination. Whether funds are an issue or not, hopefully, the next time you are trying to figure out where you can take your students you consider the local park.

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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009

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April 8, 2019

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