Making the Case for Field Trips: What Research Tells Us and What Site Coordinators Have to Say

By Nabors, Martha L.; Edwards, Linda Carol et al. | Education, Summer 2009 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Making the Case for Field Trips: What Research Tells Us and What Site Coordinators Have to Say


Nabors, Martha L., Edwards, Linda Carol, Murray, R. Kent, Education


Field trips in the formative years are one of the most important things teachers can provide for their students. As we all know, children learn by doing. They remember what they have personally experienced. In addition, concept development is optimized through active, explorative experiences. Field trips are a type of experiential learning that gets children away from the traditional classroom setting and into a new mode of learning. They can be as simple as taking a class of children out on the school grounds for a lesson in observation, or as detailed as an out-of-state visit to a particular field site. Field trips not only expand children's learning and experiences by providing them with hands-on experiences, they also increase children's knowledge and understanding of the world in which they live.

The recent fuel crisis in America has forced most school districts to reevaluate the instructional importance of field trips in light of rising fuel costs and, in some cases, depleting fuel supplies for bus fleets. The current standards-driven accountability movement has also had a significant impact upon our school leaders, who cherish the limited number of instructional minutes teachers have with children. The nation's goals seem to maximize standardized testing preparation. This article addresses the positive instructional impact of field trips and focuses on 5 major components of the field trip experience: value, logistics, planning, and health and safety issues. It also presents the findings from a national survey conducted by two undergraduate students at the College of Charleston, Katie Wise and Jamie Lee Vandetti. The purpose of this survey was three-fold: (1) to solicit feedback from nationally recognized field trip sites regarding their experiences with successful visits by students; (2) to compile data to reflect the opinions of field site coordinators for successful field trips, and (3) to make recommendations for teachers on how to plan and implement successful field trips.

Value of field trips

Current research (Kisiel, 2006, Martin & Seevers, 2003; DeMarie, 2001 ; Knapp, 2002) has shown that field trips are essential for many reasons. Field trips provide real experiences related to all content areas. For example, a trip to a bird sanctuary brings all the sights, sounds, and nesting habits of these animals to life for children. Field trips extend learning by expanding a child's world and provide a framework for learning. Children visiting a construction site can return to the classroom and build their own homes, businesses, or even sky scrappers in the block center.

Field trips enrich and expand the curriculum.

Children begin to think outside the box, as well as learning outside of the classroom. For example, third grade children are required to study and learn about state government. A field trip to City Hall or the court house gives children a first hand look at who runs the government.

Field trips strengthen observation skills by immersing children into sensory activities.

For example, a trip to the aquarium brings the sharks up close and personal for children to observe teeth, fins, and eyes. This is certainly something that children will not find in a textbook.

Field trips increase children's knowledge in a particular subject area.

A visit to a natural history museum is much more exciting and informative than watching a video or reading a textbook (Semlak & Beck, 1999).

Field trips expand children's awareness of their own community.

When children take a field trip to visit the local fire or police departments, they begin to understand, in a very concrete way, the value of these important community resources. Field trips focusing on a "beach-sweep," or "street-sweep," allow children to participate in activities in which they become community advocates. Field trips provide living laboratories where children acquire knowledge outside the realm of the regular classroom.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Making the Case for Field Trips: What Research Tells Us and What Site Coordinators Have to Say
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?