There is no better way for your students to learn about a topic than through firsthand experience. However, you must provide clear objectives for the field trip that tie to the curriculum and standards you are teaching. Be as specific as possible, and highlight the fact that these objectives are best achieved outside the classroom.
- Students will be able to locate various species of insects in their natural environments and observe and describe structures specific to their survival.
- Students will answer inquiry-based questions on the Fieldtrip Datasheet.
Of course you aren’t going to take your students somewhere dangerous, but certain field trip locations may raise safety concerns – a lake, an energy facility. But don’t rule out what will be an amazing experience, just be aware and prepare. Knowing your group of students is important. Take into consideration the age and group size of the students.
Make sure you have a plan for explaining the rules and safety precautions everyone will need to take during the field trip. You may consider having more chaperones to address any concerns. Finally, make sure you have emergency contacts and dietary and medical restriction information for each student on hand.
What is the cost of the trip? Who will be paying for it? And is there fundraising that is required to obtain the funds? This is what every principal and parent wants to know, so plan ahead.
If you need to pay for advanced tickets to attend a theatre performance, or pay a deposit to the location you will be visiting, make sure to arrange for payment well in advance with the appropriate person at your school or organization. Keep in mind that your school or organization may only be able to pay organizations that are on a list of approved vendors. So be sure to check that the organization you are visiting is an approved vendor, or leave enough time to go through the process of approving the vendor for payment. You will likely need their Federal Tax ID number.
Know the policies for collecting field trip money and where the money should go. Are you managing the payments that need to be made, or do you need to give the money to another person in your school or organization? If this is your responsibility, make sure all money is kept in a secure place.
In addition to transportation and admission costs, consider if students will be having lunch at an area restaurant after the trip or if the field trip site will provide lunch. And will you need to secure a substitute? This may be an additional cost, as well.
We can’t help but also mention that all Field Trip Factory field trips are free of charge – you only are responsible for transportation for your group.
- Plan early. Often school administrators don’t want to have too many concurrent activities on the same day. So if another teacher plans an event or trip for the same day, your request may be denied.
- Make sure the proposed field trip does not take place during state testing dates.
- Attach a brochure, or print out information from the location’s website to include with your request.
- Check if your chaperones need to fill out a volunteer form before the field trip and undergo a background check. This may affect your ability to secure chaperones. It is always a good idea to have at least one male and one female chaperone to help younger students with restroom breaks.