Thursday, June 28, 2012

Blueprint for Field Trips

Field Trips are so much fun and they can round out a unit study, history lesson, science lesson or whatever. There are also some neat ways to expand your field trip experience.  And what's wrong with a little sneaky learning?

I'll use our Mississippi Petrified Forest Museum as an example.  We took a visit there last May and had a good time. This was my last field trip to plan for the year for our local homeschool group as our field trip coordinator.

Before going to the museum I explained to my kids what we might see there and what petrified wood is  We checked out some books from the library on the topic (and I even included some books on erosion since that seems to be a big theme on the nature trail at the museum) and why it's so interesting.  We checked out mostly nonfiction books since there isn't much children's literature about petrified wood. So my kids were aware of what to encounter and was even somewhat knowledgeable on the topic.

If your children are older, they can write about what they think they'll see on the field trip and compare it to what they actually saw once the field trip is over. They can also think of some questions to ask the adults in charge.

Once there we visited the gift shop and browsed around and picked up some souvenirs.  Postcards are great for notebooking pages. The Notebooking Fairy has some great tips on how to notebook with postcards. She also has some free printable Postcard Notebooking pages .  Here is another great example of postcard notebooking. 
Be sure to pick up some extra postcards to send to their penpals.  This is a great way to get them to write about what they saw and learned. 

While we were in the gift shop we picked up the brochure for the nature walk and make our way outside.  Brochures can also be included in notebooking.  We had a good time walking and reading about the points of interest from the brochure while we were walking. 

Don't forget to take lots of pictures!  They can take the pictures and add captions to them in their notebooking pages (can you tell I'm a fan of notebooking?). Photo journaling is alot of fun and great practice for new/reluctant writers.
It can be hard to get everyone to look at the same camera.

After playing and having a picnic lunch it was time to go home.  We talked all the way home about what we enjoyed and what we saw.  Getting them to talk about it is a great exercise for them to arrange their thoughts before writing about it.

Then of course after some much needed down time we pulled out our notebooking pages and got to work writing about our field trip.  If you need a set of notebooking pages here is a fantastic generic set. 

If you need a little more instruction on actually notebooking a field trip click here.

I love how field trips and notebooking go hand-in-hand.  It kind of combines traveling, journaling and scrapbooking.  It's also a learning tool you can use to help develop writing skills.  With a little creative effort you can make field trips memorable and fun.

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