Build STEM Teaching Skills with Virtual Field Trips
For schools with limited funding and travel time constraints, physical trips to museums or science centers can be difficult to plan. Virtual field trips provide a useful alternative by using EdTech to expose students to real people and real-life experiences. There’s nothing like going eyeball to eyeball with a T-Rex skeleton to grab student attention and improve their understanding of classroom content.
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Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips provide STEM students with engaging demonstrations, explanations, and examples of principles of science, nature, and engineering. In short, STEM concepts become part of real life, which students can see for themselves.
But what about you—K-12 teachers? You can use VFTs as opportunities to build teaching skills, such as:
- Finding topics and matching teaching styles that best serve the needs of your students.
- Discovering the latest, most engaging STEM support materials.
- Creating lesson plans with less time and effort. After all, there’s bound to be less stress when you have jaw-dropping visuals, real-time expert interviews, and amazing demonstrations in your stash.
Your goal: finding relevant, engaging media samples or tour opportunities that support a specific lesson plan. Here are some hints to start your search for topics:
Help students see how STEM concepts are part of their lives each day. For example, comparing sales offers at the mall or expanding a cookie recipe puts to rest the old saying, “Math has no part in my life.”
Help students discover how engaging (weird, huge, or gross) STEM topics can be. Are you teaching parasitism? There’s nothing like a 20-foot tapeworm in a jar of formaldehyde next to a scanning electron micrograph of tapeworm mouthparts to get middle schoolers’ attention.
Start with an image of the Hubble Deep Field, a tiny bit of our universe. Or explore the Grand Canyon to discuss “How old is old?”
Electron microscope images get up close and personal with materials and organisms that are part of our lives. Fleas, mosquitos, and butterflies take on a new personality when you take a close look.
Go where few have gone before
For a different point of view, join NASA scientists as they watch satellites land on Mars. Or get on a hot-air balloon floating above the Brazilian rainforest.
STEM in the news
When eclipses, hurricanes, or earthquakes occur, check out local science centers, which often offer background exhibits for virtual tours.
Next time, we talk about specific destinations for virtual field trips. Have you taken one with your STEM students?