How to Take Your Students on a Virtual Field Trip
After reading Cindy Wallace’s amazing post 8 Easy Steps to Creating Virtual Field Trips, I decided to try my hand at creating a virtual field trip for the state of Pennsylvania. I wanted to change things up just a little and add an element of mystery. As a result, I created a mystery virtual field trip for the state of Pennsylvania. My end product can be found here and the steps I took to create my mystery virtual field trip are outlined below.
Step 1: Find the Facts
My first mission was to find 4 state facts. Once I found those state facts I created a Canva cover card (1200×700) and printed the text on the card with a clue. After each clue, students hypothesized about the destination. After the last clue was given students were told that we were headed to Pennsylvania.
Step 2: Find the Resources
Once I figured out four locations that we could visit on our virtual field trip, I went to Google Maps and followed Cindy’s instructions to find 360 pictures. This proved to be quite a challenge as there were not any 360 images of certain locations.
Step 3: Building Prior Knowledge
Prior to visiting the destinations on the mystery field trip, take the time to discuss the state mammal, insect, flower, and bird. After this discussion, you’ll be ready to go and explore!
Step 4: Virtual Field Trip
After building out the virtual field trip with facts, resources, and prior knowledge, it was time to get our trip underway. In our case, the first stop was the state capital, Harrisburg. Included in my lesson, and recommended for all lessons, are teacher cards with notes about the city. The student cards are virtual tours of the city or town. While students explore the city the card notes with facts about the location may be read aloud by the teacher. Of course, pausing and listening works well in this type of setting as well. With my Pennsylvania virtual field trip, the next stop was Pittsburgh. Here we completed a similar activity where facts about Pittsburgh were read while the students explored the 3D virtual world on their computers.
After Pittsburgh, students were given clues by to learn where the next destination in their journey around Pennsylvania would lead. The third stop was Punxsutawney. During this experience students explored the Phantastic Phils which are life sized statues of Punxsutawney Phil in different locations of the town. Students were able to view each statue and polling was included to determine which Phantastic Phil was the class favorite.
The final destination of the Pennsylvania virtual field trip was Philadelphia. During this stop, students were again given time to explore the city while the teacher read facts about Philadelphia.
- Discuss different types of communities (rural, suburban, and urban)
- A fun activity that the teacher can do while students explore their world is play an “I spy” game with students. For instance, the teacher can say, “I spy with my little eye a bridge.” Then students can explore the world to see if they can find the bridge.
- When in Punxustawney, using the poll feature to see which Phil is the class favorite can lead to a graphing lesson in math
- Use Google maps to locate the places in Pennsylvania visited as a class and have students mark places on the map where they visited with their family.
- Recreate the town of Punxsutawney and have students draw the Phantastic Phils. Have a robot like Dash or Ozobot drive to the different locations.
Share your experiences in the comments below!
Author: Dr. Samantha Fecich, a ClassFlow Ambassador and a former special education teacher. She spent two years as a technology integration teacher.