Thursday, 10 March 2016

Our foray into Virtual Field Trips

We've had our Lifesize unit for several years now but it only recently was moved onto a mobile structure. As a result, since January we have participated 5 virtual field trips from 3 different content providers.

1. Royal Botanical Gardens
We've been fortunate to tap into 3 different vfts from Karin at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Teachers have commented that Karin is extremely knowledgeable, well organized, and able to adapt to each teacher's needs. I would highly recommend vfts with the Royal Botanical Gardens, especially these three that we participated in.

a) Chocolate: From Treasure to Treat
Our first vft with Royal Botanical Gardens, we learned how adept Karin is at changing technologies on the fly. Karin incorporates video, photos, and specimens into her talk. Students enjoyed being able to try the cacao bean, and the nibs although many students took a bit more than they could handle. It was a great lesson for the Foods and Nutrition 9 class and spilled over into the next day's lesson as they tested different chocolates.

b) How far has your food travelled?
Another virtual field trip we did with the Foods 9 class. In this lesson, Karin spoke about the distances food travels. Students had map work to do and a lot of math to figure out which was excellent to see the cross curricular tie-ins. The conversation towards the end of the presentation was extremely enlightening and a good starting point to richer conversation in class.

c) Healing plants
This virtual field trip we did with our Outdoor Education 9 class. This class is an academy class and they were working on putting toether their flora/fauna of BC books together so Karin's presentation worked perfectly. Students had pieces of fresh rosemary, garlic, oregano, sage, and aloe vera to touch and smell as Karin led the students through the uses of these plants. She also talked about the environmental issues of harvesting these plants.

2. Amon Carter Museum of American Art
This was the first time I had dialed into a bridge and thankfully I had a teacher troubleshoot it for me because I would have been flustered doing it by myself. Now that I know how the bridge works, it won't be as daunting next time.

a) Let Freedom Ring
With this virtual field trip we decided to look at the civil rights movement through art to compliment the novel, In the Heat of the Night, that the English 9 class was reading. What I loved about this vft is that Nancy took us around the museum on her mobile unit and our students could see other people looking at various pieces of art. While we were being wheeled around, students could ask to stop and find out more about a certain piece of art.

3. Sheffield Museum

We did one vft last year and it was with Marty at the Sheffield Museum. Marty is extremely knowledgeable and entertaining and I really wanted to do a virtual field trip with him again.  I knew we had the perfect grade 8 class to work with Marty this year and so we managed to schedule a presentation just before spring break.

a) Meet the Medieval Peasant
With this virtual field trip, Marty plays the role of Andrew the Medieval peasant and he manages to do this without breaking character. This grade 8 class had been looking forward to meeting Andrew and it was hard to contain their excitement. Marty manages to convey an incredible amount of information in an extremely entertaining fashion. The students asked very good questions and Marty didn't even hesitate when answering. Students willingly participated in a medieval dance while peasant Andrew played live music.


If you have the opportunity to participate in or organize I virtual field trip, I highly recommend it. A fabulous resource is

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