Field trips offer opportunites for teachers to show students how the subjects they are teaching are used outside the classroom. Students are motivated as they learn to connect the subjects with real-world situations. Math is often seen as an abstract subject and can benefit from field trips. The number 5, for example, can be written down and thought about, but seeing five apples lined up on a teacher’s desk gives perspective to the topic. Field trips that focus on math can help students become engaged in the subject.
Visit a tall landmark such as a nearby building. Ask students to calculate the height of the building by using trigonometry. Make sure students bring their calculators.
A field trip to a sporting event can become a fun way to teach math. Students can record statistics at the event. For example, the number of hits and at-bats can be recorded during a baseball game. Batting averages can be calculated as part of classroom activities on the next school day.
A tour of a factory can turn into a fun math field trip. Ask the tour guide about how math is used in the design and manufacture of the product. Ask students in ensuing classes about why the math that was mentioned during the tour matters. Ask about how mistakes made in the math could affect the final product.
Take a field trip to a farm and use math to calculate the farm’s yield. The students could make initial guesses. The size of the plots on the farm could be given to the students, then a small section of the plot could be counted by hand, multiplying the count to calculate the farm’s total yield.
Visit a city or state park. Ask students to calculate the total size of the park. Students can be given maps, or at a smaller park, make the measurements themselves. The calculations can be complicated by a park that has irregular borders.
About the Author
Doug Hewitt has been writing for over 20 years and has a Master of Arts from University of North Carolina-Greensboro. He authored the book "The Practical Guide to Weekend Parenting," which includes health and fitness hints for parents. He and his wife, Robin, are coauthors of the "Free College Resource Book."