Jennifer Fee

Field Trip, No Bus Required!

Everyone knows how exciting a field trip can be for students. However, teachers and schools face logistical and financial obstacles when it comes to planning these off-site adventures.  We’d like to introduce you to a field trip that you can try once a month, or even once a week…with little (or no) cost, no permission slips, and no bus. With BirdSleuth’s help, just take your students outside today!  Like a traditional off-site field trip, a schoolyard foray allows kids to have fun while learning and can stimulate questions and ideas at the beginning or end of a unit.

For a simple, fun, and inexpensive way to engage students in outdoor observation, consider our reusable Scavenger Hunt and Bird Bingo cards (which are sold separately and also available as part of our Nature Detectives kit). Just a brief walk can give young people a breath of fresh air and heighten their knowledge about and interest in their local environment.

The most educational field trips are those that are explicitly connected to in-class learning.  If you’d like a longer unit that engages students in citizen science, try Most Wanted Birds.  Students will learn about bird identification and bird diversity through hands-on lessons, then go outside to practice observing and counting the birds in the area. Then, you can bring class back inside to enter your data into eBird—contributing to the world’s largest biodiversity database. By going outside and documenting the birds in your area from season to season, students will notice patterns, ask questions, and connect to their environment in a new way. This kind of “field trip” connects schoolwork to the local environment and to real science, making it tangible and memorable.

Schoolyard field trips offer a the benefits of getting outside, exploring the real world, and putting learning into practice and perspective. Whether your school has a pond or a puddle…a few trees or a forest… your students will enjoy their time outside and can keep records of their “field trip” observations that you can build upon year after year.

 

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