Resource Roundup: STEAM-Fueled Distance Learning Spring Field Trip Ideas
Distance learning has truly transformed the learning environment for K-12 schools, as the COVID-19 crisis has forced educators to go completely digital with their curriculum. While teachers have found an abundant supply of content and tools online to rapidly turnaround their lesson plans to teach online, there still has been a huge adjustment. Additionally, parents have taken on the additional responsibility of supporting children learning at home while students increase screen-time usage and navigate learning without being in the classroom.
Because states across the nation are issuing stay-at-home orders and increasing their duration, there isn’t a chance this will be changing for students anytime soon. This gives teachers and parents few options to reunite students for in-class activities or events such as field trips.
The good news is that many organizations have brought their exhibits and events online in wake of the recent community closures. This means that students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience that crosses into the realm of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics) while being confined at home.
Some example organizations include:
- Art Galleries
- Historical Societies
- National Parks
We’ve rounded up the ultimate list of field trips that are offered online for children to explore when they need a virtual adventure outside of home.
- We Are Teachers’ 25 Best Virtual Field Trips for Kids Spring 2020 - From zoos to planetariums to aquariums, We Are Teachers has compiled a long list of educational places to send students virtually to learn while classrooms are closed.
- 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 list makes sure to include these integral subjects in their list by listing trips for students that tie back into STEAM.
- We Are The Mighty’s 28 Free Virtual Field Trips and Activities for Families in Quarantine - Another important aspect of STEAM is The Arts, and The Mighty’s list does an excellent job of including field trips that are inclusive of these areas.
- Discovery Education’s Virtual Field Trips - Discovery Education’s 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 trip to a place that wouldn’t be accessible from home, 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.
Check out our other content, including:
- Digital and Distance Learning at Home Resources
- Free Virtual STEAM Curriculum
- STEAM and Learn to Code Courses
- STEAM and Maker Kit Bundle
- STEAM vs. STEM Learning for K-12: The True Definitions, Differences and Best Practices
- The Ultimate Edtech Grant Writing Guide and List of Grants
Written by Eleanor Jacobson
I'm 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 me geeking out about the latest startups or video games and adding to my '80s toy collection.