Do your memories of school days include a special field trip? Field trips can be fun and memorable, and they can solidify and extend students’ knowledge of the subject being studied. Unfortunately, funds for field trips have suffered because of educational budget cuts. In this blog, we offer places and tips to find funding sources for field trips as well as tips to make the field trip as beneficial as possible.
Where to Find Funding
One of the more popular corporate providers of field trip grants, Target Field Trip
Grants, offers up to $700 for field trips. Applications are accepted between August 1 and
When looking for other grants to fund field trips there are several hints we can offer. First, foundations that fund specific geographic areas may be more receptive to funding field trips. Second, if your field trip is linked to a specific topic or unit, your application may be better received. For example, if you are requesting a grant for STEM or art education, you could include funds for a field trip related to the activities you are proposing in the larger grant.
The Harry Chapin Foundation provides grants for arts education programs and other approaches to educating young people in order to create a healthier and more peaceful world. You might include a field trip as one of your activities in an arts education grant.
Getting the Greatest Educational Value from Your Field Trip
Involving students in learning prior to your field trip can enhance the overall experience and create an atmosphere conducive to learning.
Before the Field Trip:
1. Set Expectations
Present students with information about what they are likely to see and/or should be
looking for when on the field trip. The teacher might also consider leading a discussion to determine what the students would like to learn from their field trip. This can be done as a brainstorming exercise, a discussion and/or a list and summarize activity.
The teacher should also provide students with written information explaining what is expected of them during the field trip. This might include active participation, wearing the same color shirt, timing issues and a code of conduct.
2. Assess Pre-Field Trip Knowledge
Distribute a short quiz to determine the students’ level of knowledge about the topic of the field trip.
3. Plan for Learning
To increase student knowledge prior to the field trip, the teacher might consider involving the students in an enrichment activity such as assigned research projects related to the venue you will be visiting. For example, if you are visiting a zoo consider organizing your field trip around a geographic theme. Ask your students to research what animals they would see in Australia or Africa. For each animal, have students identify 3 unique characteristics. Then, when they are on the field trip, you can divide them into teams and provide them with a scavenger hunt form where they will need to identify the animals of a given geographic region based on their characteristics. The team(s) with the most correct answers might win a prize.
4. Special Tasks
The teacher might consider assigning specific tasks to the students. For example, each team could have students assigned specific responsibilities such as:
Photographer: responsible for photographing the animals for a class discussion after the field trip
Time Keeper: responsible for getting their team to lunch and the bus at the appropriate time
Recorder: responsible for writing the answers on the scavenger hunt form
After the Field Trip:
1. Assess Student Learning
Ask the teams to develop a class presentation about their experience. This should include the results of their scavenger hunt forms and photographs.
2. Administer a Post-Field Trip Quiz
The teacher can provide a quiz or a self-evaluation where students rate themselves on their level of pre/post knowledge, their behavior during the field trip and a description of
what they think they learned.
3. Develop a Rubric
The teacher might develop a rubric with the expected learning goals and behaviors related to the field trip. This can be used as a method of assessing each student.
4. Thank Your Sponsor
The teacher should have the students put together a document for the sponsor that thanks them for their support and shares information on what the students learned from the experience.
Despite cuts to field trip budgets, there are still several avenues for you to explore to get the
funding you need for a field trip. TheGrantHelpers.com Educational Specialist Carol Timms may be able to further assist you in finding funding for your educational programs. Please contact us today to speak to one of our experts, visit our education pages, or download our list of services for ideas on how we can help you.