Field Trips: Opening New Worlds

By Colleen Ryan — Driving down I-94, I watched each one of my students eyes light up as we approached the downtown area.

The buildings, the letters, the people, the lake, everything had them saying “ooo” and pointing out the windows.  It was this moment that made me realize how valuable out of classroom experiences are for my students.  We were on our way to the art museum to connect different pieces of art to our use of senses.  Before we got off the exit ramp my students had thousands of questions about downtown Milwaukee.

“Why are the buildings so tall?”
“Do people live in them?”
“How come there are so many different ones?”
“Is that an ocean?”

These were just some of the questions that spilled from the lips of my students.  Then we got to the art museum. We had practiced our “gallery hands” and our museum etiquette to help us prepare.  From the moment we walked in my students were in awe.  They had never seen anything like it before.  From armor, to paintings to sculptures, their eyes got bigger and bigger.  I got to see joy, excitement, and curiosity on each of my students faces again and again.

It made me pause to think about how valuable these simple experiences are for most of my students.  I thought about how some might never otherwise have the opportunity to go to a museum, or even see the downtown area.

This trip allowed my students to not only learn more about their senses, but opened their eyes to a whole different part of the world (even though it was just 20 minutes away).  I believe that well planned field trips are so important for young kinds to be a part of. It allows them to not only practice school content, but work on life skills as well.

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