Updated August 2022
During the onset of COVID-19, distance learning truly transformed the learning environment for K-12 schools. While teachers found an abundant supply of content and tools online to rapidly turnaround their lesson plans to teach online, there was still a huge adjustment. Additionally, parents took on the additional responsibility of supporting children learning at home while students increase screen-time usage and navigate learning without being in the classroom.
Even as we settle into our new normal, many educators and parents are continuing to use the technology and digital experiences they enjoyed through distance learning! Students still have the opportunity to gain real-world experience that crosses into the realm of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) when they are not in the classroom.
Some example virtual field trips that continue to be popular include:
- Art Galleries
- Historical Societies
- National Parks
We’ve rounded up the ultimate list of virtual field trips that are offered online for children to explore when they need a virtual adventure outside of home.
- Virtual Vacation: The site that lets you explore the world – Take flying/walking/driving tours, visit famous monuments, guess which city you are in and even see live streams of 400+ cities around the world! At SAM Labs, we like this site for our remote happy hours; it is sure to spark the curiosity and sense of adventure in your students.
- MarketWatch’s 20 Virtual Field Trips to Keep Kids Occupied and Learning – MarketWatch’s virtual field trip list contains places from space to zoos, but includes links to live webcams so students can check in on animals and watch their daily routines and care.
- Bemidji Pioneer’s Virtual Field Trips: Free Resources to Combat Boredom During Covid-19 – Don’t forget about math and science! Bemidji Pioneer’s virtual field trip list makes sure to include these integral subjects in their list by listing trips for students that tie back into STEAM.
- River Runner –Drop a raindrop anywhere in the contiguous United States and watch where it ends up!
- Discovery Education’s Virtual Field Trips – Discovery Education’s virtual field trips are unique because they also come with a guide, additional activities and are standards-aligned!
- Common Sense Media’s List of Virtual Field Trip Apps and Websites – Looking to kick your tech up a notch? Head over to Common Sense Media’s list to download an app or check out a website that may take your quest for a virtual field trip a step further.
- Scholastic’s Virtual Field Trip – Looking to see how virtual field trips were used in action? Check out this case study by Scholastic who interviewed staff and students from Mt. Lebanon School District outside Pittsburgh.
- Adventures in Familyhood’s 20 Virtual Field Trips to Take With Your Kids – Another favorite for The Arts, Adventures in Familyhood’s list has a great list of art museums for educators or parents looking to let children enjoy and analyze masterpieces from home.
- Waterford’s 9 Great Virtual Field Trips for Early Learners – Yes, you can take a field trip to the Great Wall of China. Ready to take your students? Visit Waterford’s site to get going!
- The Educators’ Spin On It 30+ Field Trips for Kids – Interested in US history, landmarks or natural parks and resources? This is the ultimate list for you and your students to virtually tour.
Pairing Virtual Field Trips With The Right STEAM Curriculum
Once your children or students have taken their virtual field trip, it’s time to make the connection to STEAM or coding. There are dozens of curriculum-aligned lessons available from SAM Labs that allow teachers to introduce students to real-world concepts that tie directly back into their lessons and experiences.
For example, in one of our STEAM Grade 1 lessons, students help Blocky explore the jungle and learn about animal behavior. They will read texts and use media to determine patterns in the behavior of parents and offspring that help them survive. Then, students code a system to play animal sounds, create a presentation template, and explore the behavior of the animals.
This is an excellent pairing for young learners after a virtual zoo trip and students have gotten excited about learning about different animals and their habitats. Then, students are able to make the connections from their field trip experience back to their STEAM content challenging them to use computational-thinking skills.
More Resources for Homeschooling, Distance Learning and K-12 STEAM Teaching
Field trips are just one way to make schooling at home easy while students are at home. SAM Labs has created dozens of tools for educators and parents to engage students and help them succeed.
Like what you see? Check out some more resources:
- Digital and Distance Learning at Home Resources
- STEAM Learning: 5 Proven Education Methods for Authentic Experiences
- STEAM and Learn to Code Courses
- STEAM vs. STEM Learning for K-12: The True Definitions, Differences and Best Practices
- The Ultimate Edtech Grant Writing Guide and List of Grants
Eleanor is an EdTech writer who’s passionate about changing the world one classroom at a time. When not spreading the news about the latest in K-12 technology, you’ll find her geeking out about the latest startups or video games and adding to her ’80s toy collection.