Virtual Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips | I love field trips and especially ones that are money-saving, and virtual field trips fit both categories. Fun field trips from the comfort of your own home. | #podcast #homeschoolpodcast #virtualfieldtripsVirtual Field Trips ~ Episode 376

I love field trips and especially ones that are money-saving, and virtual field trips fit both categories. Fun field trips from the comfort of your own home.

Thanks to our Sponsor – Media Angels Membership – with the Virtual Field Trips Study Guide as part of the basic membership. Check it out.

Years ago I wrote a book on the topic (it is available on my membership site), yet some of the things in my book were invaluable and I used the ideas for years – some of these things are included here – the printables in this planner.

Internet safety is a must, no matter what Internet Browser you use, be sure to set your settings to safe. Just search for how to do this simply. Also, I’d check the website first before you take your kids on the “trip.”

To obtain the utmost from a virtual field trip, it is important to prepare your children for what they will see on the Internet. In order to do this, research is helpful. A little background information can go a long way into preparing them for a learning experience. An exciting feature is never knowing what you will actually learn! There is so much information available. At best, this is a starting or jumping-off point to life long learning.

Each virtual field trip work a little different than in-person trips. I used online trips as a way to encourage my children to act like adventure seekers in search of clues.

  1. They will ask questions
  2. Gather answers
  3. Dig deeper for more information.

Ways To Find Virtual Field trips:

Keywords:

The Internet is transient – it changes allot. Web pages that were there just days ago can be gone, or temporarily out of order. These appear to be roadblocks, but they can be overcome with a bit of information. Just as you would navigate a car around a detour by taking an alternative route, you do the same via other pages online.

This is the reason a working knowledge of researching on the Internet is so important. In order for this to save time rather than taking hours to plan, have a good list of keywords you wish to search. Usually adding words such a “kids” or “Kid safe” helps.

Select Your Website:

Overview:

Each page contains an overview of the site, an orientation if you will. Here you are given a thumbnail sketch about the site and what to expect upon arriving. You will have an opportunity to visit the site and make a plan of what you want your children to learn.

Goals and Objectives:

This is to keep our web browsing goal-oriented! I am the first to admit to becoming easily sidetracked online. Before I know it I’m away from one site and onto another location in the blink of an eye. Goals keep us focused, and this will be of benefit to those who wish to use them.

Additional Research:

This is provided in several brief paragraphs, explaining the background on the topic which will be the focus of the tour. You may wish to expand on this before or after your tour. You may also request that your children conduct research before starting the trip.

Navigating the Site and Lesson Plans:

Some of the sites are vast. It took many hours of planning to focus on one aspect or segment. Sites often have numerous hyperlinks. Hyperlinks or links are words that appear in a different highlighted color from the rest of the text. By double-clicking on the highlighted words with your mouse, you will be transported to the linking site.

Sometimes it is on the site itself, and other times it is elsewhere. Icons are also used in this way. By clicking on the picture, you also will be transported.

One of the ways to keep from becoming lost on a specific web site (let’s refer to this as the Home page) is to hit the return arrow found at the upper left of your toolbar screen. Another way to return to the Home page is to click the return arrow or home key (or button) found on the page you are visiting. It is sometimes at the bottom of the page. The return arrow at the bottom of the page only works to return to the Home page if you are still on the starting site.

The return arrow only works if it is several clicks away. In other words, if you have been clicking on links for ten or twelve different sites, you may need to reenter the URL given to go back to the Home Site and continue your tour. Returning to the home page as this is the easiest place to continue navigation.

I create brief “lesson plans” which are basically directions on how to navigate the site. Sometimes if the site is wordy, a synopsis of the pages you may be viewing is given. You may use these if you wish, or redesign them to fit your needs. I follow a basic format. View the site, look for the answers and create your own custom scavenger hunt questions and continue with additional activities.

Scavenger Hunt Questions:

These are questions you may wish to use, or not, depending on your preference. Questions build a framework of information. A list of questions for each child would be beneficial as well as reading them beforehand. The answers can be found on the specific web site you will be directed to. In the case that the web site is not available, some of the questions may be found using a good encyclopedia or online at another site.

Additional Activities.

After visiting the site, there are additional suggested activities that follow your field trip visit. It is important to give a hands-on dimension to information that has been viewed and read. This will allow the child to apply some of the information that has been learned. Feel free to add to this list.

Some sites have teaching materials available or suggested activities listed that are worth noting for downloading or printing. Again this is an optional feature.  If time is a factor, you will want to do the basics, prepare your children ahead of time, and when viewing the site focus on the tour outline provided in this book. You can always return another time. If there is no time constraint, you can visit this site at your leisure, going on every link you desire and viewing additional resources as you wish.

Available Trips:

The focus of virtual field trips can be related to specific subject areas. I look for trips that would be entertaining yet educational. Even so, many require a lot of reading. For some, reading off a computer screen can be tedious. Some suggestions are to take turns reading with your children or print out information to read at a later date. Remember, most of the information found online is under copyright laws, so use them to read, and place in a notebook, but if you are using them for a published work you must reference your source. If you are no longer using the papers, it is wise to dispose of them.

Going on a virtual trip:

Decide which trip you would like to take. Have your printer set and ready to go!

You may want to print out some of the information. Some sites use very advanced technology; therefore, you may not be permitted to print out information from the screen that you are viewing, or even the control-copy or command-copy (on a mac) will not work. I don’t recommend copying websites.

Some websites allow you to copy certain sections and they may even have a print icon – or an email where you can send the website to yourself via email.

While there is no one correct way to view the different sites, there are some ways that are better than others. Each site offers its own array of links. The Internet is one big link! Some links are directly related to a particular web site. Some links are of similar topics, which you may decide to explore another day. You can decide how much of the site you would like to see. And now onto the trips. I hope you have a wonderful time learning!

Here are some of my favorite topics:

Oceans Keywords:

Global Ocean Coral Reefs Tides Oceans Alive, Plate Tectonics Water Cycle Currents Wind Waves, Tides Food Web Remote Sensing, Museum of Science, Boston Museum of Science, Museum Science Exhibit, Science Activities Oceans, Science Oceans Teacher Resources

The Zoo Keywords:

National Zoo, Virtual Animal Exhibit Tours, Smithsonian BioPark, Conservation Zoo Washington D.C., Kids Science Zoo Education Educational Research Wild Animals, Zookeepers, (Type in strings of animals that may be observed in a zoo.)

Email and Internet Keywords:

how emails work, how the Internet works, alternative search engines, how keywords work, is email safe, safe settings on the internet, safe settings on social media, social media

Benjamin Franklin Keywords:

Benjamin Franklins World, Archive Benjamin Franklin, History Benjamin Franklin, Science Inventions Benjamin Franklin, Franklin Stove, Inventor of Electricity, Benjamin Franklin the Inventor, Benjamin Franklin Statesman, Benjamin Franklin Writings

(You can use this for other famous people you want to learn about – look at keywords that will help your search!)

Space, Constellations, Planets Keywords:

Outer space, NASA, planets, constellations, video on space travel, space travel, astronauts, rockets, space shuttle, Milky Way, outer space, black hole, lightyear, space suits, space food

 

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