Education: Virtual Field Trips Broaden Student Experiences in Washougal
Field trips are often one of the most memorable learning experiences for young students. The opportunity to go outside the classroom can be an exciting and impactful way to bring lessons to life. This is why Cape Horn-Skye Elementary first grade teachers, Darcy Hickey and Nicol Yung, decided to deliver the experience online.
“The idea of having Virtual Field Trip Fridays came about from us as a team discussing how we could do something fun as a grade level and make it meaningful to the kids,” said Hickey. “We chose Fridays because after a week of distance learning, we wanted the kids to have something fun and different to look forward to. We set up a Zoom link for the entire first grade so all the students get to experience the field trip together.”
Students have participated in four virtual field trips so far this year. “We have visited a dairy farm, an egg farm, an ice cream factory and a symphony,” explained Yung. “An upcoming field trip will be to attend a shadow puppet show.”
Each field trip is planned with a thought to science, literacy, and the arts. “For example, our trip to the symphony fell in line with our study of sound in science,” said Hickey. “We also love that it supported music standards.”
A lesson unit in language arts involved fables, and since many centered around a farm setting, a virtual trip to an egg farm was arranged. “Our trip was also a segue into doing a science experiment with eggs,” said Yung. “Our art teacher, Alice Yang, was a special guest who joined us on our field trip to the dairy farm. She led the students in a directed drawing of a cow. The upcoming field trip to the shadow puppet show aligns with our study of light and shadows in science.”
“We want the kids to know and understand that despite the fact that we are in a remote learning situation, there are still many opportunities for them to experience and learn things about their world around them,” explained Hickey. “We want them to know that they are still connected to the world and that they can participate in meaningful activities, experiments, literature and discussions about everyday things that are a part of their lives like eggs, milk, ice cream, light, and sound to name a few.”
Hickey and Yung strive to help students think about topics that they are familiar with more critically and on a larger scale. They provide hands-on science experiments and activities throughout the week that support the field trips. For example, students were provided materials to do an experiment on how sound waves travel before the symphony. For the upcoming puppetry field trip, they were given materials to create shadow shapes on the wall.
The most recent field trip to an ice cream factory on October 2nd also featured CH-S’s new principal, Brian Amundson, reading the book Should I Share My Ice Cream, by Mo Willems. “This was a great way for our students to get to know Mr. Amundson since we aren’t in person right now,” said Hickey. “He also led the students through a STEM challenge.”
“The entire staff at Cape Horn-Skye is awesome,” said Amundson. “The creativity of the teachers and the ways they are finding to connect with students and families is amazing.”
The virtual time together this week ended with a surprise Dairy Queen gift card for a free ice cream. “We reached out to former School Board member, Teresa Lees, who contacted the manager of Cams DQ to ask about donating the 50 gift cards to our students,” said Hickey. “Donna from DQ was thrilled to be a part of this and didn’t hesitate to say yes.”
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