Mardi Gras break was spent in the Smokey Mountains and while there I hiked a mile from Metcalf Bottoms to the Little Greenbrier School built in the late 1800s and used until the early 1930s. It was really neat to walk the same trail students walked over a hundred years ago and then to sit in their actual desks.
The one mile hike was mostly uphill and crossed the creek multiple times. I can’t imagine having to walk this path in the cold or rain, and some students came from up to nine miles away!
This was a wonderful experience and while it can’t compare with a virtual visit I wanted to post this week about just that, virtual field trips.
With virtual field trips we can take our students all over the world. Last month I introduced the district’s art and music teachers to the Google Art Project. This virtual tour allows you to explore art collections from around the world. The Smithsonian tour allows viewers to take a detailed virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Inside the White House lets you travel floor by floor while hearin the history inside each room.
Another option is to have the experts actually come to your classroom through Skype. On the Skype in the Classroom web site you can have a Yellowstone National Park Ranger come to your classroom. Check out the site for many more ideas and lesson plans for using Skype with your students.
While nothing can compare with actually “being there” virtual field trips are a great second choice.