Friday, October 7, 2011

... but is it appropriate?

We went on our first field trip of the year, to the New Richmond Heritage Center. The experience ties into our social studies unit "past and present". There is lots to see; there is little to touch.

What I find happens with my kiddos, year after year, is that interest starts out strong and then slowly wanes throughout the day until there is nothing left. By the time we get to the 5th building, the realization that all they will get to do is walk, look, and be talked at sinks in. Their brain is in overload. Too much information, but no way to make it stick.

I question whether this field trip is developmentally appropriate for them. If I can't remember much from it, how much do they retain? It's difficult to experience joyful learning when you are sitting on your hands. How can I make it more engaging? I need some ideas.


  1. I don't know about the rules for the Heritage Center, but are you allowed to take photographs and videos? If so, maybe giving your students a digital camera (or even some disposable cameras), some iPod Touches (if available), or even a flipcam for video would make the trip more meaningful. Students could document the day and the discussion, and then you could explore it again at another time. I did this for the first time this year on my class trip to the Ancaster Fair ( and it helped a lot!

    Great post! I'm interested in seeing other suggestions too.


  2. Maybe you could put together a scavenger hunt before hand so the students are actively engaged the whole time (all the way to the end). If you are allowed to take photos the students could use cameras to record their "finds" or you could use the camera to create a visual scavenger hunt. I agree that sometimes the education in some field trips is lost because the kids don't really understand that they should appreciate it.