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Staff Editorial: A Student’s Field Guide to Field Trips

According to Brian Wunderlich, NHS principal, NHS does not hold a field trip budget.

According to Brian Wunderlich, NHS principal, NHS does not hold a field trip budget.

Satellite Staff

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From farms to planetariums, many students remember elementary school field trips bursting with giggles, bagged lunches and bumpy bus rides; however, one rarely hears of high school students venturing out onto field trips.  Though few and far between, our staff members agree that field trips can be extremely effective to high school education.

Field trips provide a different perspective that students would be completely unable to obtain in a traditional classroom setting.  This approach allows students to find theories and ideas from the classroom turned into application and utilization.  A different setting is often enough for visual and auditory learners to connect with the given content on a deeper level, while the same is effective, if not more effective, for tactile learners.  As USA Today states, sometimes it can be hard, depending on the specific group of students, to control an entire classroom in a new environment. Occasionally, learning can be difficult for some students who are not used to being outside of school.  Field trips, however, provide students with different cultural experiences that they would not have been able to procure without an organized affair. Not many students would go out of their way to stroll through an art museum on their weekends — especially students with no interest in art or history.  Field trips open doors for students to experience aspects of culture they may originally not have been open to them. Thus, as Education Next verifies, field trips foster higher levels of tolerance, historical empathy, and critical thinking skills in students.  This means that, eventually, students will be able to handle themselves outside in the real world, so the troubles that may occur while outside of the classroom create social learning experiences for students to fall back on when contemplating how to act in a new or unfamiliar setting.

Though the educational benefits students receive from field trips are priceless, field trips themselves are not.  As funding for many schools is already stretched thin, the amount left for field trips is usually not enough. A quick Google search reveals that teachers can apply for grants to use toward field trips, exemplified through teach.com, but such efforts take huge amounts of time and planning, something not available for busy teachers or last minute events.  According to Brian Wunderlich, NHS principal, NHS does not hold a field trip budget. Most of the time students pay a small fee or he and another staff member fund the field trips and bussing with money they have set aside.  The process varies with the circumstances, but so far students have yet to pay for bussing this year. The hardest part about students attending field trips is scheduling around the set number of days a school year that staff can be out of the building.  Numerically, Mrs. Linda Walter, administrative assistant, relates that there are 140 teachers in the building and so far, students have gone on 85 field trips since the start of this school year, including the Strive students, who attend a mandatory field trip per month.

Unfortunately, field trip funding can be in the hands of the students.  NHS Arete students, who focus on project-based learning, fundraise for all the field trips they attend.  “Future-focused field trips allow our students to see the world beyond Neenah High School and begin to formulate an idea of their place in it,” Arete teachers, Suzy Weisgerber, Gregg Goers, Emily Bennett and Ben Olson collectively attest.  Based on information collected from Lori Uvaas, Career Center Specialist, NHS students on average classroom track also take mainly future focused field trips to technical colleges, universities and businesses.

“I just went on my first field trip recently, and honestly, I think it’s a great opportunity for students to get out into their field of interest and really see if they feel like it’s for them,” Abi Wise, freshman and Satellite staff writer says on field trips.

“I have brought back […] skills [from field trips] and put them to use as I have navigated my high school experiences,” Joshua Sturgell, senior and the Satellite’s analyst, supports.

Though field trips may not appear as often in high school education, they provided unforgettable skills, opportunities and experiences that students can carry into their adult lives — and that is impossible to put a price tag on it.

 

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Staff Editorial: A Student’s Field Guide to Field Trips