Recently, I had a student ask me, “Mrs. Raki, when do we go on a field trip just for fun?” I giggled at the girl and said “Didn’t you have fun today?” (We had just left a pastry factory.) “Yeah, but I mean a field trip where we don’t have to work!” she told me. “Oh, well that doesn’t happen with Mrs. Raki.” I responded. “Yeah, I figured!” she told me, but with a smile on her face, so I know she had fun after all.
My class has taken 3 field trips in the last 3 weeks. Each trip was fun, but during each trip, the students had an assignment of some kind to turn in. I am of the mindset that a school day should be a learning day. I love field trips – can’t get enough of the real life learning. Often, students learn more during a field trip than during a regular school day, but because they are having fun, they don’t realize how much learning is occurring. However, I am always sure to include some sort of way for students to record their learning, so that they know that even though they are having a blast, they are still learning. So, my students always set off on their field trips with a clipboard, a sheet and a pen to help them record their learning.
Three weeks ago, we were lucky enough to go to the Amoud Factory, which makes pastries, cakes, cookies, bread, and ice cream. The factory is locally owned and operated and was a great addition to both our heat unit and our economics unit. Our students got to tour the entire factory from the receiving dock to the shipping dock, with many steps in between. They were able to see bread being made, were able to roll their own petit pan (chocolate croissants), were able to see cakes being decorated and packaged and even got to taste chocolates and ice cream.
The amount of concepts we were able to cover see was amazing. For economics, we talked about the resources (natural and human) that went into the business, the process of assembly lines, how goods are produced, the importance of tracking sales patterns, supply and demand and how goods are distributed. To help students understand these concepts, they completed a triangular Venn Diagram to compare and contrast consumption, production and distribution.
For heat, we talked about how heat can be used to kill microorganisms, how heat is used to help dough rise through the use of other microorganisms, how items are kept at specific temperatures in order to prevent the movement of microorganisms, how heated counters can be used to prevent the transfer of heat in food that has already been cooked and how insulation is used to keep food at the correct temperature while waiting to be processed. To help students understand these concepts, they completed a Who, What, Where, Why, Why and How graphic organizer about how they observed heat being utilized.
Two weeks ago, we went to Credit du Maroc, a local branch of Credit Agricole, a large banking corporation from France. We were able to talk with an executive about how the bank was formed and what services it provides for it’s customers. The students were able to talk to the bank employees and talk about exchange rates and interest. To help students reflect on their learning, they completed an Important, Interesting, Informative graphic organizer.
This week, we went to the Habbous, a local traditional market or souk. While at the Habbous, students went on a scavenger hunt to trace back how far a good had come from it’s original natural resources. Students took pictures of what they found with a mini iPad and then wrote down a description of the item on their scavenger hunt recording table, categorizing each good into one of three categories. Category 1 was goods that were identical or very close to their original form (olives, honey, lemons, cow skin rugs etc.). Category 2 were goods that had been processed, but could be easily identified as their original form (wood boxes, straw baskets etc.) Category 3 were goods that had been processed so much that you couldn’t identify it’s origin or it didn’t look at all like it’s origin. (plastic containers, died wool carpets, leather wallets etc.) Here are some of the pictures the goods that the kids found:
Oh, and while we were there, we couldn’t help but stop by to see the camel head (outside of the place that sells camel meat) and get a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice!
What has been the best field trip you have ever taken your class on? Do you have your students reflect their learning onto graphic organizers or through the use of pictures? No matter how field trips are recorded, the learning that occurs during field trips is irreplaceable and very necessary.