New research shows that class trips offer educational value–and that they are in danger of disappearing from American schools.
Field trips are becoming a less and less common part of the school year in the United States. A study from the University of Arkansas documents the decline the American field trip: A 30 percent decrease in student attendance at Cincinnati arts organizations between 2002 and 2007, a similar decline in the number of students visiting Chicago’s Field Museum, and an American Association of School Administrators survey showing more than half of American schools eliminated planned field trips in the 2010-2011 school year. Furthermore, the field trips that are happening are shifting away from “enrichment” trips, like visits to museums and historical sites, to “reward” trips, such as trips to movie theaters, sporting events, and amusement parks.
But the study also finds that cultural field trips offer students, and in particular, disadvantaged students, an important opportunity to add measurable depth to their education.
So what other benefits do educational field trips offer to students?
Hands on Learning
Students visiting different educational facilities learn in a more hands-on and interactive manner than they do in school. Science museums, for example, often have displays that children can touch to help them understand the material that is being covered. Zoos, nature centers and gardens show kids animal and plant life up close, and often have areas where kids can touch displays, such as petting zoos and interactive computer programs.
Field trips give children a break in routine. Kids can look forward to and prepare for the field trip for several days or weeks, spend the day in a different environment, then complete a lesson on the topic covered after the trip is over. Learning in different ways can appeal the varied ways a child learns.
Exposure to new things
Children learn about different professions, ideas and opportunities when they travel outside their own neighborhoods. A field trip can awaken the desire in a child to try new things and pursue previously unconsidered dreams. Field trips can introduce children to job opportunities and can spark new interests and passions.
Service to others
During service-oriented field trips, kids learn about helping others in the community. The community also benefits both from the work that the kids do as part of the trip, and from any further volunteering that the children do as a result of the trip.
Better grades and Understanding
Field trips can result in greater achievement in all subjects. By seeing real-life application of the lessons that they are learning in school, children might be more likely to understand and appreciate the importance and relevance of what they are learning.
Want to learn or read more on the benefits of field trips to children? Follow this great link!