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The Value of Field Trips

September 29, 2013


A recent report on the EducationNext website talked about an interesting study of school field trips. The researchers looked at 11,000 Arkansas students in grades K-12 – half of the students took a one-hour tour of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the other half remained in their schools. Several weeks after the field trip, students took a quiz that revealed :

  • Students who visited the museum were able to recall a great deal of information about art & the artists whose work they saw.
  • When shown a painting they’d never seen before, students who took the trip were better able to write critically about it.
  • Field-trip students showed greater historical empathy – they could imagine what life was like in the past and could imagine what a figure in a painting was thinking.
  • Students who had taken the trip were more likely to use a coupon to bring family members on a free visit to the museum.

Of course, this is one study and it had a specific focus on art museums.  However, it reminds us that there is value in “experiential learning” opportunities. For Saline Area Schools – it also reminds me to thank our PTO/PTA groups that in many cases financially support our field trips.

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