Visiting the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., or touring the wetlands in Florida are two examples of exciting and educational field trips for middle school and high school students. You might take notes during your trip, so you can come up with an interesting thesis for your assigned field trip report. For example, you might write about a shuttle launching or an unusual creature who lives in the wetlands. Field trip reports should include a compelling introduction, a well-structured body and a strong conclusion. Discuss your favorite elements of the trip, so your assignment reads like a personal observation report or narrative essay.
Lead with Interesting Introduction
Start your introduction with information that leads up to your thesis statement, which is usually the last sentence of your introduction. You might focus on an interesting anecdote from your trip or discuss particular features that made an impression on you. Use these tidbits to develop your thesis. For example, you might create a three-point thesis, such as "The wetlands in Florida have vulnerable ecosystems, experience climate changes and endure seasonal flooding." If your teacher wants a technical field trip report, start with an abstract -- a brief summary paragraph -- that clearly explains where you went and what you learned during the field trip. Use research or literature to support your statements in your field trip report. For example, if you visited a local arboretum, you might use information from display placards to describe your favorite types of foliage and their seasonal life cycles.
Provide Facility Details
Discuss the field trip location by describing the facilities and explaining what you saw or experienced. For example, if you visited an astronomy observatory, discuss viewing areas and the telescopes you used. If you were using inside telescopes, describe the height of the domed ceilings, the different types of lighting and the approximate distance to the stars or planets. By providing extensive details, you show your teacher that you were paying close attention to the instructor, or in the observatory example, to the astronomer's explanations. You might also discuss any handouts or educational materials you received during the field trip.
Discuss Surprising Findings
Explain in your field trip report any new information or details that took you by surprise and include statistical data to support your findings. This type of data shows that you learned something during the field trip. For example, if you visited an underground cave, you might discuss a particular type of bat or an unusual plant that grows in the cave. Use outside research or information from the tour guide to support your data, and cite your references clearly, so your teacher knows where you got the information. When possible, use academic journals or magazines to support details in your observation report of the field visit.
End with Compelling Conclusion
Conclude your field trip report with a summary of your overall experience, including reasons why others might want to visit the location. You might include a brief summary of a personal discussion you had with the tour guide or field trip facilitator or cite a distinguishable fact from your research. If you participated in any hands-on activities or your class was allowed to see behind the scenes, you might end your paper by discussing those highlights. For example, if you visited a science center, you might discuss fossils you examined, electricity experiments you participated in, or hands-on experiments with wind tunnels that allowed you to examine weather patterns.
- Clayton State University: Natural Sciences: Report Format
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: Using Research and Evidence
- University of Arkansas Newswire: Research: School Field Trips Give Significant Benefits
- Common Core State Standards Initiative: English Language Arts Standards: Writing: Grade 9-10
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