Field trips extend learning from the classroom into the real world. The amount of time and effort that goes into field trip organization pays off when the third- and fourth-grade students experience the venue. Consider the units of study in the classroom when planning field trips. Tying in the educational topics from the classroom results in the most beneficial field trip opportunities for the kids.
A farm provides a vast learning environment for the elementary grade level. Find a local farmer who is willing to show the class around his farm. While most students have a general idea of farm life, seeing the workings of the farm in person brings it to life. Activity options on the farm may include watching or participating in milking cows, sheering sheep, moving animals to another pen, watching baby animals nurse or harvesting crops. Consult with the farmer to determine which activities are an option on the field trip.
A similar option is to visit a local orchard. Many areas have apple orchards or pumpkin patches in the fall months. Students experience harvesting the items and seeing them grow in their natural environment. This field trip option works well to teach elementary students about the process of produce arriving at stores. While orchards are typically open to the public, you should call ahead of time when planning a field trip. They may offer a special presentation or organize additional staff members to help supervise the kids.
Restaurant or Store
Visiting a local business such as a restaurant or store offers the students a backstage view of the operations. Contact local business owners to schedule tours of the stores. Consider visiting two or three businesses that are close to one another to compare them. Field trips to businesses work well as an extension to social studies topics pertaining to communities.
If your city has a minor or major league baseball field, consider a field trip to the stadium. Check with the public relations department at the field to discuss a possible tour of the stadium and baseball field. A meet and greet session with some of the players provides more excitement for the kids.
A performance at a local children's theater inspires dramatic creativity in third- and fourth-grade students. Consider the possibility of a backstage tour or a question and answer session with the actors. Call the children's theater to discuss that possibility. Performances at children's theaters often find inspiration in popular stories or movies. To prepare for the trip, read the corresponding book or watch the movie with the students. Have them compare that version to the live performance they experience.
Children's museums encourage active exploration of the exhibits, making them an ideal field trip location. Curious elementary students interact with the displays which results in learning and enjoyment. The topics of the displays vary but typically revolve around science, focusing on real life applications of the subject. Contact the museum to coordinate the field trip. These facilities often have special programs for school groups.