Planning a Successful High School Field Trip

High school field trips are a  little more difficult to plan than ones in a primary school. High school students are mobile and can typically get where they are interested in going. These suggestion may at least help things start in the right direction.

~ What would you like them to learn?

A teacher who wants to reinforce that math skills, geometry skills and social skills are used in everyday activities has a few choices. Bowling is an excellent example. Have students earn a field trip.  Enjoy a morning of bowling.  The next day it becomes a lesson about scoring, averages, angles, and velocity. In fact, it could spur a week long lesson plan.

Another good example may be a drive through the city to an get ice cream. Act as the tour bus driver and point out the architecture of the buildings as they pass by. Later this turns into information about mathematics and architecture.

Begin with a learning objective in mind.

~ Transportation

A field trip requires transportation. Students will feel like they can get there on their own, but it is a bus-only option.  Students must understand that if they are late, they report to the office for an alternate class assignment. It they are absent, it is not excused. Make certain to plan for extra drive time to accommodate emergencies.

~ Student involvement

Teenagers like to have choices and a say in everything that happens.  Try and give them a voice.  A trip to the zoo or the aquarium may accomplish the learning goal of endangered species and carbon footprints. Allow them to vote and pick the location.

~ Some examples

Let’s take a look at some examples of field trips that worked well for some high school classes.


Students sold bracelets they made in school colors to earn money to go see a popular movie.  The teacher had them sit through the entire show including the credits.

Back in the class room he used the soundtrack and had the students try and describe what was happening in the movie when this particular music was playing.

The teacher has contacted the production company and  received a written version of the credits. The students had to research each specific job and the educational requirements needed to perform that function.

They did character analysis.

Finally, they broke down the cost.  Again, the production company provided figures and information.

*Lunch at the Japanese restaurant

Exposure to a different method of cooking and different expectations of behavior were required.  The students had studied the customs of tradition Japanese dining. The restaurant had altered the serving method and had only students in attendance, who enjoyed a full cultural experience.

A field trip should have educational value.  It should have student involvement and responsibility.  It should be well planned.