There’s no enthusiasm quite like third grade enthusiasm. Third graders are up for just about anything, especially projects and hands-on activities. So harness that exuberance for new learning and challenges with one of these exciting third grade field trips, selected with third grade curriculum (and third graders themselves) in mind.
Not all of these trips will be possible everywhere, but keep in mind any local treasures that are unique to your area. And when you can’t manage a trip—for whatever reason—try our virtual third grade field trips below.
In-Person Third Grade Field Trips
1. A Newspaper Headquarters
A visit to the local newspaper is a great way for third graders to see the writing process in action—all the way from idea to publication. Beyond the newsroom, there’s also the design process and the press itself.
2. A Science or Natural History Museum
A third grader might feel a little old for a children’s museum, but a natural history museum with its old bones could be just the right fit. Science centers often have fun and engaging exhibits that are ideal for 8-9 year-olds. (If Grossology ever comes to your area, take your class to the exhibit!)
3. A Greenhouse
Since third grade science instruction often involves plants, a greenhouse is a natural choice. Ideally, kids will be able to plant seeds and/or harvest produce!
4. A Factory
No one is going to say no to visiting a chocolate or candy factory, but third graders may be ready for something bigger. Try a visit to a car factory to round out that unit on motion and design.
5. A Recycling Center
I can’t be the only one who’s taken third graders to the dump. But trash is actually a great third grade unit of study. And a trip to the recycling center will teach kids valuable information about waste reduction.
6. A Military Base
Most military installations are open to public visits. Many even have regularly-scheduled tours as well as their own on-site military museums. There’s a lot of variety, depending on the branch. Our favorite? A cavalry detachment’s horse show.
7. A Geographical Feature
Whatever your location, you likely have a landform (for example: mountain, canyon, cave, butte) or body of water (ocean, river, pond, wetland) that you can visit to show your third graders the rock or water cycle in action.
8. An IMAX Theater
This isn’t any old movie theater, and you won’t be taking them to see Pixar’s latest release. But the IMAX experience is something else, and a nature documentary on an enormous screen is spot-on for third grade.
9. A Concert Hall
Many third graders have never been to a live music performance, so take them to a philharmonic orchestra concert to teach concert etiquette and an appreciation for classical music.
10. A Nature Center
A nature center is the perfect place for kids to learn about local plant and wildlife. Activities vary by location but might include a nature hike or live animal presentation. Bring those magnifying glasses!
Virtual Third Grade Field Trips
Nickelodeon teamed up with two astronauts on the International Space Station to demonstrate how slime reacts to microgravity and had kids reproduce those same demonstrations back here on Earth. It makes for an amazing 15-minute virtual field trip!
2. A Planetarium
Through Stellarium Web, kids can explore over 60,000 stars, locate planets, and watch sunrises and solar eclipses. If you enter your location, you can see all the constellations that are visible in the night sky in your corner of the world.
The U.S. Geological Survey monitors volcanoes in the United States. Their interactive map allows you to learn about any volcano in the country.
4. Nature Lab
The Nature Conservancy offers 11 virtual field trips. For example, students can explore a coastal rainforest while in a canoe or unlock the secrets of coral reefs in the Dominican Republic. Each video is about 45 minutes long.
The first established National Park and popular vacation destination is now accessible to virtual travelers. The interactive maps are a great way to see the Mammoth Hot Springs and Mud Volcano, but we think kids will be psyched about the Old Faithful Geyser live-stream.
This virtual field trip from Great Lakes Now has three components: coastal wetlands, algae, and lake sturgeon. Each video is a quick five minutes.
The National Museum of Natural History’s virtual experiences are self-guided, room-by-room tours of permanent, current, and past exhibits. Make sure to send kids to the second floor Bone Hall so they can take a look at all different kinds of skeletons.
National Geographic lets you explore the world’s largest cave, located in Vietnam. Use the interactive map to enjoy the fully immersive experience (sound on!).
What are your favorite third grade field trips? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.