Sunday, July 13, 2014

Behind the Scenes Factory Tours Have Learning Benefits for Kids

During the summer, most teachers I know spend at least some time planning for the next school year.  My favorite “planning” to do during the summer is field trip planning, because it means I get to tour cool places I’d like to take my students to – often with my own kids in tow.  Here are some of my favorite field trip locations, that can be found in most every community, as well as a list of content connections you can make for your students.  Often as teachers we only include field trips in our science and social studies, but there are lots of reading, writing and math connections that can be made in these locations as well.  I am going to share one type of field trip a week and ideas for making curriculum connections with each field trip.
field trips
Factories:  Behind the scenes tours of any sort of factory can be extremely educational and can give students a chance to see a world they had no idea existed.  Need help getting into a factory?  Ask around, the families of your students often include someone who works in a factory of some sort, in some capacity, and can put you in contact with the right people.  I have personally done behind the scenes tours of furniture factories, baked goods factories, candy factories and power plants.
Reading:  Read a how-to manual or recipe to create a good similar to those who are created in the factory.  Read advertisements from the factory and determine the persuasive techniques used. 
clip_image001Writing:  Write an essay from the point of view of one of the natural resources that comes into the factory, how it is then changed into a processed good.  Create an advertisement campaign for the factory.  Write an informational essay about how safety procedures are applied in the factory.
Math:  Keep track of the temperatures used in various departments and use that information to create a graph.  Look at the resources that come in to the factory.  How many items are in a package?  How many packages are there?  How many items altogether?
Science:  Search for machines – simple or complex, using my Factory Field Trip sheet.  Find examples of conductors and insulators or magnets or computerized techniques.  Look for safety methods used by factory workers.
Social Studies:  Choose a “good” and research all of the steps it takes to go from the natural resources to the processed good.  Then try to visit a factory that produces that type of goods.  Compare and contrast how goods are made today with how goods were made 200 years ago.  Map out the trip taken by the natural resources that come into a factory and the processed goods that come out of the factory.
To make field trips more educational, I often use graphic organizers and other activities to keep my students focused.  Read more about the specifics in this blog post: Field Trips Aren’t Just For Fun.  Be sure to stop by next week for another Field Trip Curriculum Connection.
What is your best field trip idea?

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources