Plan Your Next Field Trip to a State Park
With advance scheduling and knowledge of your specific curriculum goals and objectives, our park staff can create field trip programs tailored to your needs. Programs may be subject specific or we can design a cross-curriculum field trip covering science, mathematics, language and literacy, history, social studies, art, physical education, and health.
Your students’ classroom lessons can come to life when they cruise a cypress swamp, walk through a succession forest, smell the odor of black powder, see our state symbols in their natural settings, and marvel at artifacts which reveal secrets of Arkansas's fascinating past. Each park has a unique story to tell through engaging, enriching activities.
Teachers' Checklist to Prepare for Your Field Trip
- Visit the park or museum before your trip (Teachers are admitted free.)
- Identify parking, lunch area and restroom locations.
- Ask for park specific information, such as an educator's guide with curriculum-based programs.
- Ask for a free teacher's guide.
- Attend one of our teacher professional development workshops.
- Explore the exhibits and outdoor areas you plan to visit.
- Identify activities relating to your classroom studies.
Prepare Your Students for Learning
Park staff can help you select appropriate pre-trip activities and may also have post-trip activities for your use in the classroom when you return., as well as outreach visits to your classroom as a complementary activity with your field trip. Here are a few classroom activity ideas:
- Practice map reading skills by using maps to calculate distance, direction, and time of travel. Give several average speeds, or compare two routes, have them calculate the differences in travel time.
- Reinforce their knowledge of the Arkansas natural divisions (eco-regions) by having them identify the natural division in which the school is located and those they will travel through. Have them list characteristics of each natural division during their trip.
- Introduce observational skills by asking the students to describe ordinary objects in detail, like a paper clip or comb. These skills help while observing the exhibits, where students can experience the parks through reading, audio, touch, audio-visual programs, and guided tours.
- Make students "inspectors" or “journalists” of one aspect of the topic they will study at the state park or museum. Have them report their findings to the class.
- Create teams and assign each team a subject area related to the field trip topic to research (e.g. government, art, religion, science, environment, etc.). Have the teams develop questions to ask the park staff, then give a report to the class on what they learned.
- Give students both open-ended and short answer question sheets that encourage them to gather information throughout the visit.
- Create worksheets with partial drawings of objects found in the exhibitions. Let students complete the drawings based on their observations at the park or museum.
- Come up with a focus that is intriguing to your students, such as: Survival, Status, Hunter and Hunted, Starting Over, Birth and Death. Have students write about or sketch something from the exhibits or park programs that connects to their specific focus.
- Create a vocabulary list based on the park/museum and your objective/goal for the field trip. Ask the park interpreter for suggestions from words and terms they will be using in your programs.
We hope that these trip-planning ideas and pre- or post-trip activities for students will assist you in field trip preparation for your class. Contact the park if you need more assistance.