Activity-Based Pedagogy- Field Trips

Narayan Prasad Sapkota

Educational practicinor

What is a Field Trip and Why Take Them?

A field trip is defined as any teaching and learning excursion outside of the classroom or a field trip is a structured activity that occurs outside the classroom. It can be a brief observational activity or a longer more sustained investigation or project.

Field trips can connect schoolwork with the world, making it tangible and memorable. A field trip stimulates questions and ideas at the beginning or end of a unit. Field trips also provide an experiential “text” for students to study and interrogate.

There are two types of field trips – Physical and Virtual

Virtual field trip

A virtual field trip is taken via technology. A student can take a virtual tour of a museum, for instance, through the Internet. Students can ask a virtual tour guide questions via Instant Messenger or through a camera and sound interface. Through a virtual tour, a student can experience a field-trip destination through images and sounds instead of actually visiting such an attraction or a virtual field trip (VFT) is collection of websites, images, video clips and other forms of digital media that enhance student learning by enabling them to experience a place or time period without actually being there.

Physical/Live Field Trips

A live or a physical field trip involves physically taking students to see a particular site or attraction. This can involve transportation, managing a large group of students and other difficulties. However, a traditional field trip allows students to see a sight firsthand and likely touch and interact with some areas. This full interaction is something that is not available virtually.

Why field trip?

  • To make a connection between reality and theory – hands-on
  • Can be used as an introduction to a unit or a culminating actively.
  • To provide an authentic learning experience
  • Exciting, children get to meet and interact with others
  • They can experience all five senses, see, touch, feel, smell, taste
  • Children remember the field trips because they learn using different methodology

Producer/steps of field trip learning

  •  Plan with children as much as possible
  • Involve school principal and vice-principal
  • Ensure field trip compliments the curriculum by meeting specific expectations
  • Ensure students have necessary background knowledge prior to field trip, if introduction to field trip provide essential preparatory information in order to prepare students for the experience
  • Plan post-trip activities that build on the knowledge gained in partaking in the field trip (e.g., reports, displays, photos, graphs).
  • Prepare a checklist to ensure that all tasks are completed (e.g. booking facilities and transportation, parental notifications, medical forms, supervision, safety precautions, emergency information) and have the school administrator sign the checklist once completed.
  • Be sure to visit the site ahead of time, in order to plan for safety, resources and resource personnel, facility.
  • Plan on route activities to enrich their experience during the field trip.
  • Provide parents with rationalization for the field trip and trip itinerary.

Merits of the field trip

  •  Hand –on, real world experiences
  • Quality of education, attitudes to learning and motivation towards the subject.
  • Improvement of the socialization between students, which would impinge on the classroom and development of rapport/relationship between teacher s and students.
  •  Enabling teachers to utilize other learning strategies such as cooperative learning.
  • Students learn better as there is change in the teaching method.

Demerits of the field trip

  •  Expensive, difficulties with transportation, including cost. 
  •  Time consideration – preparation, fitting into the school timetable. 
  • Lack of support from school administrations to field trips. 
  • Poor student behavior and attitudes (loss over students). 
  • Inadequacy of resources and choice of venue. 
  • Medical risk.

Benefits of Field Trips

  • Field trips bring classroom study alive for students and help them remember and relate to what they have learned. They provide rich resources that can rarely be approximated in the classroom. They also help connect school to the world.
  • Field trips provide new cultural contexts for literature and provoke questions.
  • Field trips stimulate and focus class work by helping students synthesize information.

Guidelines for Safety and Behavior

  • There are many potential liability situations that can occur on a field trip, it is your ultimate responsibility to ensure that the following safety guidelines are meet concerning safety and behavior while outside the classroom.
  • Set behavioral expectations for the field trip and describe and discuss them with the children prior to departure.
  • Have children create their own code of behavior with teacher involvement and veto power.
  • If junior students are mature enough to be responsible and accountable for their own behavior, have them sign a written code of conduct; therefore, creating a behavioral contract.
  • Introduce the idea of teamwork to enable students to live up to the written code of conduct.
  • Describe the consequences for not behaving properly before embarking on the trip.
  • Provide parents with behavioral expectations and ask them to ensure that the children know and understand the code of conduct and the consequences.
  • Create passenger manifest and file with appropriate school personnel.  Also, take along the passenger manifest to check that everyone is accounted for.
  • Implement a buddy with students as an additional safety precaution.
  • Ensure that safety gear and first aid equipment are available and in plain view.


Before the Trip, Teachers Should:

  • Visit the site to find connections to curricula, assess potential problems, and plan how the students could best use their time.
  • Give as much context as possible so that the students will understand what they see. Teachers might consider having the students do something like a journal or a K/W/L chart in which they list questions they have, expectations for their visit, or plans for ways to use what they will see.
  • Create a trip sheet like Stanlee Brimberg’s that prompts students to draw, write responses, answer questions, or find items for a “scavenger hunt” of the location. This sheet, however, should not be so directive that the students can’t see and respond to the site in their own ways.
  • Set standards of etiquette and respectful behavior.

During the Trip, Teachers Should:

  • Build opportunities for students to view the site or work alone, in pairs, or in small groups. On a trip to a museum, for example, the students could be asked an open-ended question like, “Find a work that represents our theme or period and sketch it. In class, we will share our choices and discuss why we chose them.” The students could also choose one aspect or part of the site to explore.
  • Consider giving some students disposable cameras, small tape recorders, or mandates to record specific information. When the class is back at school, they can compile a complete picture.

After the Trip:

  • Allow the students to synthesize their experiences creatively. For example, they might create trip brochures for other classes or the school library. They might develop children’s books about a theme from the field trip. Or they might present their experience orally to another class or grade.