Although getting on a bus and traveling to an art gallery or science museum can be exciting, traditional field trips require many resources; virtual education field trips are a way for students to get hands-on learning without leaving school.
Blended learning activities like virtual education field trips allow students to explore a topic through a combination of online and in-class activities. This format can work for both traditional and flipped classrooms, and many resources are available at no cost to teachers.
Virtual education field trips are available for subjects including art, science and social studies. Here are five engaging no-travel field trips that students will enjoy.
Art museums have a long history of introducing schoolchildren to art, and many of them have an online component teachers can access. One particularly good resource is the MoMA Learning section, a wonderful place for both students and teachers to explore the history of modern art and its numerous disciplines.
The site provides sections on Dadaism and Surrealism, Pop Art, photography, Minimalism, both Expressionism and Abstract Expressionism, conceptual art, Cubism, Fauvism and real and imagined landscapes. Each section includes interactive resources such as PowerPoint presentations, videos and (of course) art projects to give students hands-on experience with modern art.
Discovery Education’s virtual field trip series on North America uses fun STEM activities to help students examine North American geography and wildlife. Students figure out how animals in different climates have adapted to survive in their environments, understand the importance of good stewardship of natural resources, and even learn how to build a bear-proof trash can while exploring Glacier National Park.
Discovery Education provides comprehensive lesson plans for each unit that include videos, interactive whiteboard activities, games and handouts. An especially interesting resource is the behind-the-scenes unit, where students learn about filmmaking techniques and the challenges of producing a documentary about North America’s geography and animals.
Who says that students can’t take a virtual field trip through the world of math? Students can explore where numbers appear in nature by learning about the Fibonacci sequence. Fibonacci Numbers and Nature is the introductory page of a multimedia site, created by University of Surrey professor Dr. Ron Knott, that uses bunnies, the family tree of bees and even the petals on a flower to illustrate how math appears throughout the real world. This site includes dozens of activity ideas, diagrams, puzzles and links to further Fibonacci number resources.
Even students who live hundreds of miles away from Washington, D.C. can take detailed virtual field trips through the Senate and White House. The U.S. Capitol Virtual Tour on Senate.gov provides panoramic views of the old and new Supreme Court Chambers, Senate Chambers and the President’s Room, along with historical events that took place in each location.
The interactive tour at Inside the White House allows students to access photos and comprehensive information about every section of the White House, along with videos, historical facts and fun trivia. Social studies teachers can use these resources to bring lessons about government, civics, and U.S. history alive.
The farm-to-table virtual field trip from The Good Egg Project takes students on an egg’s journey from the chicken who laid it to the breakfast table. Videos, lesson plans and activities teach students about the science of fresh food production and the rapid advance of farming technology. Teachers can use this content to open up discussions about newsworthy topics like food safety and genetically-modified crops.
Virtual educational field trips encourage students to become active learners and engage with the world around them. Once they’ve been inspired by virtual tours, students may find a passionate interest that they can explore further in the real world.