Exploring the wider classroom

This weekend has bought two educational trips to explore possible locations for science visits; Think Tank in Birmingham and Leicester Space Museum.

Both places really made me think about the value that they bring and the potential for taking a class there when I am teaching. Whilst I think that trips are a really important part of children’s education and experiences, seeing other groups at both locations highlighted the importance of having really focused learning intentions, along with effective behaviour management. The cost, distance, helpers, facilities and impact are all key things for teachers to consider when planning such a visit. Leading to huge amounts of paperwork! Also, it really is true that you aren’t just managing a class of children, but also a group of assisting adults! 

However, despite the paperwork, arrangements and media increased paranoia of something dreadful happening, the trips that I have arranged and assisted with have all been completely worth it! The sight of children’s faces as they interact with new environments, absorb new information and seeing/touch/hear things that would not be plausible in the classroom is simply amazing!

Think Tank had a variety of exhibits and workshops to offer! Some of which I felt could easily be recreated in the classroom with a little imagination, but I particularly liked the idea of the kids donning lab coats and doing cool chemistry experiments in a lab classroom. I wanted a go myself! Leicester Space Centre didn’t have quite as much appeal to my partner and myself on Saturday afternoon, however when teaching space would be a great place to visit! Lots of things to see and read about, with some interactive elements but not as many flashy buttons as Think Tank. Generally, I felt that it would really support explaining some of those tricky space concepts that children just find difficult and abstract to comprehend. And the planetarium was fantastic!

So, overall the visits reminded me that there must be a clear focus; an advantage to the children’s learning. That the trip should be prepared for not just in the paperwork and arrangements, but also in the classroom before and after the trip, adopting the inside-outside-inside approach. Social development is also an important element of school trips, encouraging children to work together and support one another’s learning. Visits should offer new experiences, equal for all, not just new environments to run around, pressing every flashing button as they fly by!

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