Field Trips – Maximizing Learning

Ancient Culture Street 6

When planned thoughtfully, field trips are very important and powerful learning experiences that can have a transformative effect on student inquiry. By being mindful of the following points, we can ensure that field trips are as meaningful and effective as possible.

  • There is a clear and powerful purpose to the trip, with clear links between the concepts that will be explored and curriculum needs
  • The field trip experience should stimulate inquiry and a richer understanding of the current unit of study
  • The location has been selected specifically with learning in mind
  • The impact of our students on the location and people there has been considered and catered for, e.g. by going one class at a time
  • The trip will be timed to maximise learning opportunities for the students, giving students the chance to engage fully and soak up the experiences being offered
  • Opportunities and locations for briefing students, reflecting, rest, drinking water or having a snack have been identified and planned for
  • Plans have been made to enable students to capture learning meaningfully during the trip
  • Attitudes and behaviour have been discussed with students beforehand to ensure they are in the best mood to make the most of the experience and to represent the school
  • Additional adults are considered not only in terms of safety but also enriching student experience – smaller groups may mean more powerful learning
  • Steps have been taken to make sure trips are environmentally responsible – this kind of modelling is very powerful for students
  • There are varied and meaningful follow-up experiences planned so that the trip was worthwhile

We are going to introduce these points in our school as a checklist for teachers to go through when planning field trips. If they are unable to tick off most (or all) of these points… the trip may not be worth it!


  1. Chad

    So true! I like the way you have broken down the things that should be there when planning for a trip. You could make a flow chart or checklist when planning such trips. The best trips we ever took were the ones in China. Kids totally drove and led those, with parent involvement too. That allowed us to observe and collect evidence of learning through video and photos. Because we were freed up we could see each child for who they were which is always very telling. Bring the parents in and use them. Great reminder to us all.

  2. Ridley Fitzgerald

    Field trips seem like a great idea. I love how you said that they need to have a purpose, so that the kids can learn and make connections. I’ll talk to my son’s school, and see what field trips they have planned next year.

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