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School Trips: 5 Pre-Departure Activities to Engage Student Learning

School Trip

Hold a poster design contest! (Photo Destination DC)

Students are always excited during their school trip. But how can you engage students in learning about the destination before you arrive? Here are 5 fun ways enhance their trip experience before departure:

1. Class Tour Guide
Give students the chance to become an expert on the place they will be visiting! List all of the sites you will be experiencing during your educational trip. Students can then select a site or memorial for which they will become the “expert”.  Students can present what they learned during your trip as you pass each site or even during class.
2. Class Blog
Launch a class blog using WordPress, Blogger, or another free blogging platform. Have students write two blog posts, one entry before the trip and the second after the trip. The pre-trip entry can explain fundraising efforts, introduce a site you will be visiting, or discuss history of the area. The post-trip entry can be a reflection on their travels; a new perspective that they gained, what fascinated them the most, or what they learned in the process. Active reflection can add further meaning and value to their experience. The blog is also a great place to publish announcements, track fundraising progress, and post waivers and forms for downloading.
3. Class Trip Scrapbook
Creating a class trip scrapbook is a great way to capture memories and provide another avenue where students can take ownership of their experience.  The design can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Students can create their own page in the book using regular white 8.5 x 11” paper, adding memories to both sides. Insert each page into a plastic 3-hole sheet (available at all office supply stores) and add to a binder. Further direction for what to include on the page can be given. For example, each page must include the following: 3 photos, 1 ticket stub, a sketch of your favorite place, and something you learned.  Scrapbooks can then be put on display in the years that follow to add excitement for the next classes of travelers.
4. Poster Design Contest
Hold a poster design contest for your educational trip! Have each student create a poster introducing your destination or a particular site you will be visiting on your trip. Use the posters to decorate your classroom, the cafeteria, or the hallway. Alternatively, students can design a poster electronically. The class can then vote for their favorite poster. The poster(s) with the most votes can be printed and displayed in the classroom. The winning posters from year to year can be displayed as a way to generate excitement for the upcoming trip.
5. Pinterest
Pinterest can be used to introduce students to their destination. Assign a site you will be visiting to each student. Students can then research their respective site and use Pinterest to collate the information they have found. Have the student create a board for the site with a minimum of 10 pins relevant to their assignment.   For each pin, include 1-3 facts relevant to the particular site picture in the caption. The activity can go in-depth on one location, or be used to introduce multiple sites or the destination in general.

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