Monday, September 7, 2009

Science fieldtrip blog overview

This blog will focus on a visit to the Fullerton Arboretum and why this would be a great place for a class field trip. The Fullerton Arboretum is a 26 acre natural sanctuary where anyone can take a walk and enjoy the 4,000 different plants that can be seen here. It is free to go and special nature guide tours can be arranged. It is a wonderful place to go enjoy the diversity of plant life.

What special benefits could my students gain from visiting this fieldtrip site?

When picking a fieldtrip site a teacher always needs to evaluate what educational benefits the students could gain. The Fullerton Arboretum would be a great fieldtrip because students could gain many things from visiting this site. First of all students are able to be outdoors. The Fullerton Arboretum is a good place to take a walk and observe the nature around. The students are able to observe many different kinds of plants and vegetation in a natural environment. There is a sign next to each plant. It has the scientific name of the plant and it's common, more well known name. Students are also able to observe the different types of environment that each plant grows in. For example, the Desert Collection will look much different from Woodlands Collection. Students also have an opportunity to observe some different types of animals. I observed some ducks, lizards, birds, and squirrels.

What would I need to do to adequately prepare my students before the visit?

1. When students are going on a fieldtrip it is important to talk about safety precautions. For example, tell students to stay with the group and what they should do and where they should go in case they do get lost.

2. Since this is an outdoor fieldtrip where students will be walking around, the students should protect themselves from the sun by wearing sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Students should stay hydrated and drink water. The students will also be advised to wear comfortable, walking shoes.

3. The rules of the arboretum should be discussed with the students (i.e. students are not allowed to feed the ducks, students should not pick any of the plants,..).

4. The students should have some background knowledge about the place that they will be visiting so that they can better appreciate and understand where they are going.

5. If plant adaptations are going to be talked about during the fieldtrip it would be advised to review vocabulary with the students. This would be specially helpful for English learners and students with special needs.

What resource materials are available to assist my preparation, teaching?

Some links that will be helpful in preparing for this fieldtrip and in teaching the students about plants include:

This is the official website for the Fullerton Arboretum. You can find general information here and also background information about how the arboretum was started. There is also a map about the grounds of the arboretum and some descriptions about its different plant collections.

This website highlights information about how plants are adapted to live in their particular environment.
Here we see some books whose topics are plants and gardens.

What will I do to debrief students after I have attended the fieldtrip?

After we return from the fieldtrip I will debrief students by:

  • Having a class discussion about the fieldtrip. What did they like about it? Why? What didn't they like about it? Why? What did they learn from this fieldtrip?

  • Having the students write in their science journal about some of the different plants and animals that they observed. The students can draw some of the plants they observed as well.

  • Having students print out the pictures that were taken at the fieldtrip and create a collage.

  • Having students create a power point presentation about the fieldtrip. Students should include pictures in their presentation. The slides will be narrated by the students.

Pictures of the Fullerton Arboretum

In the above picture I was visiting the Desert Collection. Beneath that picture there is a picture of a Zapote tree. You can see that the tree has the zapotes on it. The next picture shows plants with signs that have their names on them. There were some ducks in the stream that runs through part of the Fullerton Arboretum. The last picture shows a section of some plants that can be seen in the Woodlands Collection.

More to see at the Fullerton Arboretum

I have already mentioned the various plants that can be enjoyed at the Fullerton Arboretum. There are other things that can be observed and studied by students and other people as well. There are different animals and insects that make the arboretum their home or just come to visit. On my visit here I observed ducks swimming in the water and sunning themselves on the grass. I took a picture of a squirrel that was digging a hole in the ground. There were also squirrels climbing and jumping from tree to tree. This was interesting to watch because the squirrels can jump fairly large distances. More than once as I was walking around the plants and trees I found myself walking into large spider webs. There are also different types of birds and butterflies flying in the arboretum. By taking students on a fieldtrip to this location they can observe these animals and maybe more!