Field trips require significant planning and coordination for teachers and administrators, but students often see a field trip as a free day out of the classroom. However, students will likely have an educational experience that they never could have had in the classroom.
Field trips help students interact with what they are learning. The experience goes beyond reading about a concept; students are able to see it, manipulate it or participate in it physically. Students are able to see elements with their eyes rather than reading about it and believing what they are told because it's in print. Visiting a farm and milking a real cow is much more powerful than reading about milking a cow.
Field trips provide entertainment for students. They often serve as a powerful motivator for students, stirring up excitement as the trip nears. Breaking away from the routine provides kids with a refresher that might make them more focused back in the classroom. Learning and fun make a great combination. Field trips are considered fun, but the children learn as well, whether they realize it or not.
Field trips take the book learning from the classroom and extend it to life. Students often question the importance of topics they study in class. Field trips, particularly for older students, can answer the question of how learning can be applied in life. For example, a field trip to a bakery proves that measurement and chemistry apply beyond the science classroom. There are also plenty of opportunities to incorporate the field trip experience back into classroom activity after returning to school. Through presentations, slide shows and answering questions, the kids can instill the lessons garnered on the field trip.
Leaving the classroom for a field trip places the kids in a different social environment. They encounter a new set of adults and possibly other children during the course of the average field trip. These interactions teach them how to behave in different settings. They employ more self-control because it is a less contained environment than the classroom. It fosters a sense of teamwork and community among the students as they experience a field trip together.
Many children don't get to experience the typical field trip locations with their families. A school trip gives students the opportunity to experience new venues. Because of money constraints or lack of resources, not all parents are able to take their kids to zoos, museums and other field trip destinations. While field trips take a great deal of work and energy, broadening the horizons of the students is worth it.