[Fun]

Field trip + Friday before spring break + Science and Industry Museum + ScienceLIVE! = Fun!

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Field trips can transform student learning and engagement when planned accordingly. This past week, I channeled my inner Miss Frizzle by accompanying my middle school students to the science and industry museum to further explore concepts discussed in class. Sometimes we just have to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYY_NpTt390

6th graders took on the role of climatologists and meteorologists in the “Science Storms” exhibits when they observe cyclones and simulated tsunamis as part of their weather and atmosphere unit. http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/science-storms/ 7th grade took their study of genetics to the next level by visiting the Genetics and Baby Chick Hatchery. Observing cloned mice and frogs with glowing green eyes as a result of genetic engineering sparked so many questions perfect for student inquiry projects. http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/exhibits/genetics/

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The only downside of attending a field trip the day before spring break is that debriefing won’t occur for another week…

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Tips for Planning a Field Trip:

Chaperones
  1. Encourage parents to chaperone.
  2. The more chaperones, the smaller the groups. Assign 4-5 students to each parent.
  3.  Provide chaperone with contact information, an agenda, assignment description, and location to meet for departure from the museum.
  4. Give parents a thank you card and a sweet treat to show your appreciation.
Assignment
  1. Museums are great for scavenger hunts, research projects, and culminating activities.
  2. Provide students with a small task to complete while at the museum to foster student learning. Roaming the museum is fun too, but let’s make the trip meaningful.
  3. Check out the museum website for educator resources. For example, MSI has great printable books, graphic organizers, and discussion questions for many of the exhibits.
  4. Below is an example of my assignment for 7th Grade. Keep it short and sweet. “Visit “Genetics and the Baby Chick Hatchery” to learn about DNA, cloning, genetic engineering, and the ethical issues relating to the complex world of genetics. Complete “M.Stories” graphic organizer and record 10 Facts you learned about genetics on the back of the organizer.”
  5. Encourage chaperones to attend Science Live! demonstrations after completing task. We participated in birthday party with liquid nitrogen, which explored states of matter! http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here/live-science/happy-brr-thday/
The Return
  1. Give students ownership of their learning by showcasing their trip and findings on a student made bulletin board. Post pictures, inquiry questions, and work samples from the trip highlighting the connections between in class learning and the trip.
  2. Use inquiry questions to develop a list of researchable questions to explore as research projects.

Student Comments (good, bad, and fuggly):

  • “That was sooo cool!”
  • “Why do we have to come here again? We came in 5th grade!”
  • “Can we use liquid nitrogen in our class after break?”
  • “Ms. G!!! Come look at this video! The farmer pulled the baby pig from the mom’s booty hole.” (Yes, someone went there…)
  • “Ms. G, this was the best field trip ever!”
  • “Look at the mice! They’re getting busy.”

MSI

Thanks MSI for an awesome day! http://www.msichicago.org/education/field-trips/

-Ms. G