The other day I was having a Google Meet with my class and I asked them what their favorite activities have been during our virtual learning. Most of the students said their favorite activities have been virtual field trips. Virtual field trips are a great tool that can take students to the Amazon Rainforest or the Baltimore Aquarium, all without leaving their homes. These field trips are an engaging way to supplement your online lessons. You might want to consider including virtual field trips into your science or social studies lessons. You can also post a weekly virtual field trip to your Google Classroom so students can explore new places on their own and you can try to connect it to a writing assignment. Here are some of my favorite virtual field trips that I’ve done with my students:
One of my favorite virtual field trips is the Baltimore Aquarium ( www.aqua.org ). This website is great for students to explore and learn about different ocean habitats and the animals that live there. Most of the information can be found under the “experience tab”. Students can watch live webcams of reef sharks, blue blubber jellies, and pacific coral reef. Students can also read about animals and watch informational videos about animals through the exhibits tab. One habitat students can explore is the tropical rainforest. Students can read about different animals that live here. Students can also watch short video clips about specific animals they are interested in such as the blue poison dart frog. The Baltimore Aquarium provides students with a wealth of facts and information about water habitats and animals.
San Diego Zoo
Another great virtual field trip is the San Diego Zoo ( www.kids.sandiegozoo.org ). This website is designed to be kid-friendly. It is organized into sections. One section is all about the animals at the zoo. Students can research specific animals such as the African Cheetah, the Arctic Fox, or the Emu. Once students decide which animal to research, they can watch videos about the animal, learn about the animals’ classification, location, and engaged status. Students can also read about the animal and look at many photographs of the animal. There is another section on the website for live cams. Students can observe polar bears, penguins, and many more animals in their exhibits at the zoo. The San Diego Zoo website also has activities and games designed for children. It’s a great resource to suggest to families. Overall, this virtual field trip has so many things to keep students curious and engaged.
The Hidden World of the National Parks
A third virtual field trip is The Hidden World of the National Parks ( https://artsandculture.withgoogle.com ). This virtual field trip helps students explore five National Parks. They are the Kehai Fjords, Hawaii Volcanoes, Carlsbad Canverns, Bryce Canyon, and Dry Tortugas. Students can select which National Park they would like to explore. Once a National Park is selected, a tour guide takes you through the park. There is a short video at the beginning and then you can explore specific areas of each park. The tour guide continues to give you facts and information as you explore an area with a 360-degree view. This virtual field trip is completely immersive. My personal favorite was the Hawaii volcanoes. You can fly over the top of an active volcano! Whether you use one, two, or all three of these virtual field trips on your Google Classroom, your students will be sure to thank you.
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