In this age of shrinking budgets or budgets disappearing completely, we have to get creative. But we still want to keep our students engaged. This is where virtual field trips can come in handy. If you do a simple Internet search for virtual field trips, you will find a dizzying array of resources, so I thought I would spotlight a few good ones for you.
New York – Museum of Modern Art
Museums make great candidates for virtual field trips. The MOMA has a ton of art on their regular site, but they also have a great interactive virtual field trip for younger students.
Over a dozen pieces of art are spotlighted, including paintings, sculptures and objects. (You will recognize several of these pieces) There is an upstairs too. There are several hidden links, so make sure you click everywhere!
When you click on one of the pieces of art, you can choose several different activities to do, which is how I think you could tailor this field trip to different grade levels.
At the end of the tour, you’re taken to PS1 which is a former public school in NYC that is now an art center. They have unconventional art in unusual places, kids click on different areas to find out about the art. For example, light sculptures hang from the ceiling, sculptures are created from old CDs and videos are embedded in the floor.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
If you’ve ever been to the Smithsonian, you know what an overwhelming place it is. You could literally spend weeks there and not digest everything. Fortunately, they have a virtual tour of the Museum of Natural History and you don’t have to fight any crowds to see it all! This is an amazing virtual tour! They have really outdone themselves putting this all online for us. If you click on the above link, you’ll see the link for the comprehensive virtual tour. You’ll get a room-by-room tour of whole museum, all three floors. You can choose to use the map to go directly to a specific place or you can just start at the beginning. You can zoom in to get a close up look at the exhibits.
For a more organized “field trip,” E-Field Trips is a terrific option. It’s a free service provided for teachers and students to visit places they wouldn’t otherwise be able to visit. Students complete a trip journal, then view the virtual visit, which is an interactive flash movie, and then follow up with the opportunity to interact with experts by posting questions or conducting a live webchat.
They offer a wide variety of places to visit. Current topics include:
Attack on Pearl Harbor, bats, underwater ecosystem, Brown vs. Board of Education, glaciers, fire, earthquakes and more.
to view a 1 minute overview of what this fabulous service has to offer.
In addition, here are several more places to find virtual field trips.