MAKING THE MOST OUT OF TRIPS
COMMUNICATE WITH THE VENUE
Tickets/Passes: Always make a reservation for your group. Ask about the return policy for absent students or inclement weather.
Pre-Visit: Ask if there is a teacher open house or if teachers can obtain a complimentary pass to visit the facility before the trip to help you prepare.
Special Activities/Programs: Call the venue’s group sales department or education department to learn about special programs or activities that might be of interest to the students during their visit such as:
- Exhibits that relate to classroom study
- Guided Tours
- Hands-on Activities
- Self-guided Scavenger Hunts
- Themed Workshops
- Customized tours or activities
Time: Know how long the venue recommends for visits. Ask if there are nearby attractions to combine with your visit.
Student-Chaperone Ratio: Ask what their recommended ratio is.
Rules: Know what the venue’s rules are.
Food: Ask about their policy on bringing in food or water, what dining/snack facilities they have, and if there are places to picnic or sit down with food that you bring in.
Facility Layout: Obtain a map of the venue, via their website or request. Ask about restrooms, water fountains and check room.
Transportation: Know what their policy is for bus drop off and pick up to include in your trip planning. If you are taking public transportation, find out what the closest stop is and how many blocks it is to the venue.
Security: Ask about security checks and account for this in your trip time. The less knapsacks and bags, the quicker the check in.
Emergencies: Ask if there is a security check point for students to go to in case of an emergency.
PREPARING YOUR STUDENTS FOR THE TRIP
- Teachers should visit the venue’s website to find out if they have pre-visit recommendations to prepare their students. Many will provide informal lesson plans and suggestions that teachers can implement before, during and after the trip.
- NEW on ClassTrips.com: lesson plans for various categories of trips. They can assist you in your planning.
DISCUSS WITH YOUR STUDENTS
- What the venue is.
- Ask if students have visited the specific venue or a similar type of venue.
- The focus of the venue’s collection, activities, etc.
- What they will be seeing.
- Activities and programs they will experience.
- How the trip relates to their classroom study.
- Length of the visit.
- Conduct and behavioral expectations.
- Appropriate dress and things they should and should not bring.
ACTIVITIES TO PREPARE OUR STUDENTS FOR THE TRIP
Teachers should visit the venue’s website to find out if they have informal lesson plans and curricula for students to complete pre, during, and post-visit. Many will provide informal lesson plans and suggestions that teachers can implement before, during and after the trip.
Assignment Ideas & Themes: Perk your students’ curiosity through a hands-on activity or critical thinking exercise for specific venue types:
- Zoo – study animals they will be seeing, and learn about the role of the staff in caring for the animals and running the zoo.
- Art Museum – study certain artists or periods of art, how a museum collects art and keeps it safe, and the role of the curator in assembling the exhibition and the process involved in bringing it to life.
- Botanical garden – study the plants students will be seeing and its inter-dependency with other plants, animals and humans.
- Rafting trip – study the river, the geology, the fauna and flora of the area they will be traveling.
- Amusement or theme park- study its history and select an area of interest. Examples: crowd management, state safety regulations, the science behind the rides and attractions, the manufacturer of the rides, feeding large groups of people, the business model.
- Concert – study the composer, the type of music, the conductor, the orchestra, the venue and its history, design and acoustics.
- Show – study the play, author, producer, director, choreographer, music, costumes, stage management.
- A visit to another city – study its history and its current demographics through watching a film/DVD on the city or writing a short essay.