Field trips should be an important part of any first grade school year. If you choose your trip carefully, it will be not only fun for students but educational as well. To get the most out of a field trip, make sure that it is tied to your curriculum and that it provides a hands-on, interactive learning experience. Before you go on the field trip, familiarize your class with what to expect, and when you get back provide some activities related to what they learned on the trip.
Science Field Trips
There are several good choices for science field trips based on your first grade curriculum.
Most curriculums include some kind of unit on animals. A visit to the local zoo or aquarium is a great way to wrap up an animal study. If you do plan such a visit, be sure to check about any educational programs that might be offered. You may be able to take to your class to a presentation on some aspect of animal life, such as the frog life cycle or animal camouflage. A zoo or aquarium might even offer students an up-close look at some of the animals, fish or sea mammals.
For a unit on dinosaurs or rocks and other earth science subjects, a natural history museum makes a good field trip. Most museums offer special programs for schools along with tours of the exhibits. A natural history museum is likely to have exhibits on dinosaurs, fossils, rock formation and climate, as well as other subjects specific to your class's location.
A children's museum is great choice for first graders. In addition to permanent exhibits, a children's museum is likely to offers exhibits are often science and math related. For example, you might find an exhibit on sound that fits in perfectly with a "five senses" unit or a fun exhibit on transportation. Children's museums usually offer many hands-on features, so they are particularly suited to first graders.
Social Studies Field Trips
Much of the first grade social studies curriculum deals with communities, an area that offers many opportunities for field trips.
Visit local businesses. Call businesses in your area to see who's available to accommodate your class--you might be able to tour a bank, television station or pet store. For a unit on health or nutrition, try your local grocery store. Many may offer tours for school groups. The parents of your students can be great resources for suggesting or helping to arrange these types of field trips.
For a study unit on community helpers, you might be able to visit the post office, fire station or police station. Some fire stations will even bring a fire engine and few fighters to the school to give kids a presentation on fire safety. This could be a field trip you squeeze in without ever leaving school.
These are just a few ideas for first grade field trips. Depending on where you live, you might also be able to go on a cavern tour, or visit a pioneer farm or botanical gardens. Check with your local performing arts venues, too. Many offer plays and musical events for school-aged children. Take a good look at your curriculum and you will probably find lots of fun places that you can connect to it.
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