Field Trips & Family Outings
Nothing sparks the imagination and creates excitement like a classroom field trip or a fun family outing!
Lots of things run through students’ heads as they head back to class. What friends are in my class? What’s my new teacher like? What will we be learning? How much homework will I have? One of the things at the top of students’ lists is wondering what field trips their class will get to go on! “‘When are field trips this year and where are we going?’—they want to know right away,” says third-grade teacher Jenny Dow at Kyrene Monte Vista Elementary. “Field trips...are such an important part of a great education.”
Dow’s teaching teammate, Rachael Pearson, looks forward to seeing her students spread their wings outside the classroom!
“I think students these days learn more through hands-on, real-life applications. And then if they’re able to take what they’ve learned from the classroom and take it outside to a site with real-life situations, that content is more likely to stick with them. And they’ll remember in a better way than through lecture and taking notes,” says Pearson.
A study by the U.S. Travel Association shows the learning and life upsides to field trips. Kids who go on field trips tend to do better in school, benefit from higher graduation rates from high school and college, and earn more in the workforce!
An article by the National Education Association notes, “educational trips had a positive, lasting impact on (the students’) education and career because the trips made them more engaged, intellectually curious and interested in and out of school.” Or, as Dow explains, “So many of our kids are visual learners or tactile learners. And they need to be able to actually touch things and see things and be engaged in them—it makes a huge difference for them.
“Actually being in it, being involved in it makes a difference—whatever it is we’re teaching; whatever standard that we are teaching,” she emphasizes.
One super fun field trip takes Monte Vista third-graders to the Higley Center for the Performing Arts to work with three-time Grammy Award winning folk artist Tom Chapin. It’s known as the center’s Building Bridges project.
Long-time teacher Pam Wendt loves this field trip. “Oftentimes, it’s many children’s first musical theater or musical concert experience—it’s great!”
Not only are field trips a great way to learn, they jump start kids’ enthusiasm and can forge strong bonds between classmates. “Field trips are most definitely community building experiences. And now they also have this memory to share together—an experience they can write about; they can discuss it; they can draw connections to literature. Many teachers will strategically plan follow-up activities and literacy adventures based on what they did so that those connections can be made,” Wendt points out.
This guide lists places that are fun, entertaining and educational (many are STEAM based) for classrooms and the entire family.