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Learning activities for school trips to London

Friday February 7, 2014

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Image by David Iliff

More than just offering pupils – and teachers – a welcome break from the classroom and a sense of adventure, school trips help students gain a new appreciation for topics on the curriculum, seeing the subjects in their textbooks brought to life.

In order to make the most of any visit though, schools need to think ahead and plan lessons to complement the different elements of the trip. To take the burden off the nation’s hardworking teachers, this week’s WST blog offers a number of ideas for exercises teachers can undertake with their classes before, during and after one of WST’s London trips.

The build up

It can be invaluable to prepare students for a trip by allowing them to get more familiar with the destination they’re going to be visiting, not only as a learning exercise, but also to help them feel more at ease in a new location, particularly abroad. Google Maps can be a useful tool for doing this, allowing students to locate a list of attractions on the agenda which they can explore through the Street View function.

For a more in-depth study, teachers could split the class up into teams, asking each to put together a fact sheet on a different museum or monument which can then be distributed to the entire class during the trip.

On the move

There can be a lot to take in on a school trip, so it’s easy for students to miss important aspects of the experience or forget some of the things they learn once they return home. Help pupils document their discoveries in a more engaging way by giving them a quiz sheet or set of treasure hunt clues which they will need to complete using facts uncovered on their trip, with prizes for winning teams. Many museums and galleries in London have free downloadable worksheets and factsheets that you could take along with you.

Back to school

The trip may be over, but the lesson isn’t. Reinforce learning by asking students to reflect on their visit and how it changed their understanding of a topic. Re-enact scenes or re-write the ending of a play you saw as a class, compile a timeline following a history trip or take inspiration from a piece of artwork for a new project.

Teachers could even let their class use social media to compile an overview of the trip. Photo based sharing site Pinterest has a great Place Pin feature which could be used to create a map of the attractions visited, attaching photos of each with a comment space underneath which could be used to add relevant facts.

Do you have any other lesson plan ideas to enhance learning during a trip that you’d like to share with other teachers? Let us know on Twitter using the hashtag #TeacherTripTip.