Teacher Ethan writes:
“I work in a small, rural school district that is economically disadvantaged. Where can I find virtual field trips that are free or really cheap?”
Virtual field trips are a convenient and inexpensive alternative to permission slips, booking the bus and the buddy system. Here are a few that the Teacher Helpline recommends.
- You can set up a video conference with a ranger from Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain National Park through the U.S. National Park Service. —Nicole S.
- I did a virtual “travel abroad” project years ago in my world language classes. Students had to “secure” their flights and lodging, make a scrapbook of the places they visited, and contact local businesses in the target language—all on a specific budget. It was great! —Hope N.
- I took my third-grade class to a supermarket for a behind-the-scenes look at operations, and they gave out tons of free samples and goody bags. It was within walking distance of the school, which made planning that much easier! —Patty H.
- Google Earth is awesome! The kids like seeing places up close. You can type in a specific place like “Eiffel Tower” and actually drop in a 3-D view via street view. My kids LOVE when I do this. —Frankie C.
- The Smithsonian has a great deal of resources and virtual tours. I have used this in the past and found it interesting. Go to www.si.edu, click “Kids Favorites,” and the site will direct you to a listing of exhibitions. —Wendy S.
- Colonial Williamsburg has great virtual tours. —Patricia L.
- The Constitution Center in Philadelphia has really neat free virtual field trips. —Roxanne P.
- I did a virtual field trip to Spain using Google Maps street view. My kids loved seeing what it was like there. —Amy J.
- I do a “Flat Stanley” activity with my students. It puts us in touch with students in other schools to learn about life in different areas in our state. —Justine B.
Know of a great field trip that doesn’t break the bank? Tell us about it in the comments section!