Igniting Students’ Interest in STEM through Field Trips to Community Resources

This 2-hour workshop will provide guidelines and structure for teachers, informal educators, and teacher educators to design and conduct a field trip to an informal educational setting. It will outline how to build connections to the classroom by supporting the curriculum and addressing required instructional standards. It will focus on how to utilize community resources to provide a place-based educational experience for k-12 learners that enhances the classroom curriculum.
This workshop will provide a template for teachers to engage k-12 students in an informal setting to support classroom learning. It is targeted to interest Education-Methods Instructors, teachers and Informal educators to construct procedures for engaging k-12 learning experiences outside of the classroom.
Dr. Sandra Yarema is the program coordinator for science teacher education at Wayne State University, instructing Elementary Science Curriculum and Methods courses since 2003.
Ms. Amy W. Emmert is the Director of School Programs for the Belle Isle Conservancy, coordinating field trips and educational programs at the Belle Isle Aquarium and Conservatory. They are co-investigators on an NSF- funded ISTEP project: Promoting Student Interest in STEM and STEM-related Careers via a Place-based Environmental Educational Program at a Public Aquarium.
Participants will engage with an interactive model of the process for planning and carrying out a field trip to an informal educational setting. Using a public aquarium as a model field trip destination for k-12 learners, participants will identify specific procedures and strategies to connect learning activities to the classroom, identify how the informal setting is aligned to the curriculum, and also how required standards are addressed.
Participants will take part in writing a formal plan for a visit to an informal educational setting. This will include alignment of standards and curriculum objectives, and serve to outline expectations of the teacher and k-12 students for content material, behavior, and experiences at the informal site. Participants will also address the necessary communications between teacher, students, school administration, parents, and the informal learning venue to support successful implementation of the plans. This will include behavior, transportation, time scheduling, and all permissions required by school district policy.
The presenters will share resources for planning a field trip. A virtual model of an ongoing field trip program will be used to demonstrate the strategies used, and the website for the informal setting will be provided. All documents will serve as a model for participants to plan their own field trips, and will be provided to participants. Email communication for continuing collaboration after the conference will be encouraged, as well as an available subscription to a monthly newsletter from the informal setting.