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There’s more to school than the classroom

After every long school year, each student comes away with something exciting or important they will take, use and remember for the rest of their lives.

For some, it’s field trips, while for others it is something they learned in their favorite subject.

Students grades four through eight were asked what they thought was the most fun or exciting thing they did or learned this year.

Jacob Manzaneres, an eighth-grade student, replied, “I learned that if I try, I get a lot better grades, because at the beginning of the year I had really bad grades and this quarter they are good.”

Lauren Mulbery, a seventh-grader answered, “Bandelier, because you are away from school, and you’re with your group of friends.”

Taylor Strohecker, an eighth-grade student, responded, “Probably Opal Lake and we are going rafting.”

Sixth-grade student Jazmyn Buren replied, “Echo Lake, because we got to go fishing, and also the solar oven cookout.”

James Barksdale, a sixth-grader, answered, “I enjoyed learning integers, because they are fun and easy.”

Seventh-grade student Chantal Caraveo responded, “I loved Bandelier, because I spent time with my friends and teachers and we learned about the past.”

Fourth-grader Amy Jones replied, “Went to Mesa Verde, because we got to climb ladders and things.”

Julie Elge, a fourth-grader, answered, “We got ice cream, and we got to choose what we wanted on it.”

Of the students interviewed, most answered that the best or most interesting thing they did or learned this year involved a field trip.

So the question is, do field trips benefit the students? Research shows that field trips can be effective, but according to King’s College London Center for Informal Learning in School, “… it can be influenced by a number of factors, including the structure of the trip itself, setting novelty, prior knowledge, social context of the visit, and presence or absence of follow-up experiences.”

Field trips are often enjoyed by students because the trips break up the monotony of the classroom and the routine of everyday learning with something totally different. Field trips can also be beneficial because students are engaged and involved in learning experiences while there is an opportunity for curiosity to spark and for them to become more interested in a new subject or area.

The Wall Street Journal discovered, “As schools across the country face massive budget cuts and parents face their own financial shortfalls, field trips are getting canceled in droves. More than one in six schools plans to eliminate trips this year, according to a survey by the American Association of School Administrators. That’s up from 9% last year. By next school year, one in four schools will need to cut field trips, according to the survey.”

Before the school board and administration determines which field trips, if any, should be cut, they need to take into consideration which trips the students like and dislike. Also, they should consider which of the trips are the most beneficial for the students.