Science Fieldtrips: Positive and Negative Impact

Different learners require a mix of varied learning styles. Some have dominant and others require varying styles depending on the prevailing conditions (learning styles, 2003, Para 1). Kinesthetic learners in most cases learn through action. Field trip visits to places for many years have been used as a mode of learning for many science subjects. This gives learners many advantages over the old lecture system of classroom delivery.

Despite the wide application of this method, very little researches have been conducted to determine how this method affects learner’s learning experiences. Interviews on learners who have attended field trips from school, reveal that field trips have varied impacts on their learning. Research has found that, field trips where learners are required to manipulate matter, helps students to remember what they learned in class. Many of the learners enjoy the activities they had participated in hence learning is enhanced (Pace, Stefanie, Roger, 2004, p. 26-32).

Through the field excursions, many learners acknowledge that their interpersonal relationships with fellow learners and teachers, have improved. In relation to participants, many scientific concept understanding is boosted through trips to museums, animal orphanages and other scientific sites. Field trips also encourage learners to pursue science-related disciplines. Studies on many students who visited scientific sites reveal that the knowledge acquired helps learners to connect between scientific careers and their life aspirations. Many tour guides act as role models to learners hence; learners are motivated to pursue scientific careers in their lifetime. For example, studies conducted by Knapp and Barrie on many students revealed that, the selection of science-related careers among some learners resulted from the experiences obtained from field trips (Jerri 2008, p.1-6).

Field trips have been used in many institutions as mechanisms for enhancing science learning. The knowledge learned through field trips leads to improved understanding of subject matter. For example, data collected from many learners reveals that through field trips, cognitive science learning and retention are enhanced (Knapp, Barrie, 2004, p. 352-353). This is associated with the fact that many learners easily remember content obtained through active participation. To teachers field trips increase their scope of content. The experimental nature of the trips gives teachers an opportunity to reflect and use the knowledge in books. This encourages innovativeness and personal learning (Sanders, 2009, p.3-5).

Negative influences

Research has shown that if the experiences are negative or in a way restrict learners, learners’ understanding is jeopardized. In addition, due to various learners’ perceptions, some field trips complicate the knowledge learned. To some learners all the knowledge learned in field trips is of less relevance because they have problems in connecting to class situations. This is due to conflicting facts on some natural factors, for example conflicting theories on evolution (Jones, 2001, Para. 1-6).

Field trips on the other hand, can lead to learner’s distraction from the study course. Studies have shown that although learners enjoy many field trips, to some a lot of time spent on field trips can be well utilized through using other kinesthetic forms of learning that take less time.

No impact seen

Some field visits have no impact on learners. As Farmer states, many science field trips are in most cases general. Student aspirations and likes in most cases are not considered when designing field trips. This makes most field trips have no impact on some learners because during the whole exercise they will have no interest in any learning activity (Jones, 2001, Para 3-7)

In conclusion, field trips should be structured in a way that learners will realize maximum benefits. At all times meaningful learning experiences should be integrated into all field trips.

Reference

Farmer, J. R. (2007). The Long-term Impact of an Elementary Environmental Education Field Trip. All academic inclusive: Virginia.

Grades K-12: Eight Case Studies in the New York Metropolitan Area. Education, 125 (1), 30-35.

Jerri, B. (2008). Get Involved. Make a Difference: A Case Study of a Successful Field Trip. Anita Borg institute: New York

Jones, D. W., 2001 a field trip to the museum. Natural history museums are removing evolutionary errors, but they still have a long way to go. Web.

Knapp, D., Barrie, E. (2001). Content Evaluation of an Environmental Science Field Trip. Science and Education, 10, (4), 352-355.Overview of Learning Styles. (2003). Web.

Pace, Stefanie, Roger. (2004). Adult’s Perception of Field Trips Taken within Grades K-12: Eight Case Studies in the New York Metropolitan Area. Project Innovation: New York.

Sanders, D. (2009). What works well: nature of experience. London: Chelsea Group of Children.

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