In-person field trips might be a pipe dream for students right now, but there is no shortage of compelling content online. Here are seven options to pique the minds of the school-age set:
Since March, the museum’s virtual resources including field trips, 75+ STEAM video programs, children’s podcast and more have reached more than 650,000 people. This fall they have compiled a monthly newsletter for families with STEAM activities, recipes and books in one location. Current options for virtual field trips include Head in the Clouds, a 20-minute video with cloud observation and four activities like creating a weather journal. A second digital trip, Climate Action Heroes, explores the difference between climate and weather and how each museum superhero persona–Pollinator Patrol, Mighty Meteorologist, Arbor Avenger, Water Warrior and Community Captain–contributes to making the environment a healthier place. Both are free but require registration and are recommended for students in grades 1-4.
Kids can connect with local farmers, learn about life on the farm and find out where their food comes from via this virtual tour of Loudoun’s agricultural history, which goes live on Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. Videos and educational activities from each of the farms on the interactive tour will be joined by Facebook Live videos from Loudoun Farms, during which viewers can access longer tours, watch demonstrations from farmers and ask them questions during the live premiere.
Tens of thousands of students visit Monticello in-person each year; this fall, the home of Thomas Jefferson continues to engage them digitally. Virtual tour options include a live tour, 360-degree panoramic tour, Google Street View tour and bookable class tours. You can also watch educational livestreams on Monticello’s website or on its FacebookLive or YouTube channel; the schedule and recordings of previous live streams can be found here. Additional programs and events will be offered on the grounds and through the website and social media platforms; visit their website for more details.
Parents and educators have access to millions of digital resources from across the Smithsonian’s museums, libraries, archives, research centers and more, including pre-packaged collections with lessons, activities and resources for pre-K to 12th grade. Search by topic, museum and more, or begin with the Getting Started Guide to get your bearings.
Among the treasure trove of digital performances is featured content for kids of all ages, searchable by grades, interest (dance, theatre, opera, visual arts), subject (geography, history, technology, literature) and performance length. Trace the history and impact of classical music in the United States, learn how radio shows came about and record your own with tools found around the house or delve into the five elements that make up the foundation of dance: body, action, time, space and energy.
Located just outside Middleburg, Aldie Mill is Virginia’s only known surviving grist mill powered by twin waterwheels. It dates back to 1807, was used to provide grain for soldiers and their horses during the Civil War, and President James Monroe was an early customer. There are several interactive virtual field trips for elementary students and above about its history, role in the Civil War and simple machines in general.
On the heels of this past summer’s popular Field Trip Fridays are other online resources from the national park for the performing arts. Look for a parents resource page for those with elementary-aged students that includes coloring pages, activities to recreate at home and videos to watch together like hip hop math, plant growth with Jack and the Beanstalk, and exploring the seasons through puppetry; a new video is added every two weeks.
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