Taking a tour through the solar system or visiting the deepest parts of the ocean are things you’d think are impossible for field trips. Not anymore…
The Magic School Bus along with Ms. Frizzle took her students to visit the planets of the solar system, inside the human body to learn about its chemical processes, and to other places that are only made possible due to the fact that it’s a cartoon. But new technology may change that soon, to some respect. Virtual reality makes it possible for entire classrooms to take Magic School Bus-esque field trips to places made unavailable to us with current technology. Here are a few ideas on how you can create successful virtual field trips in your classroom.
Make it an adventure.
Dress the part! Before you start the VR trip, have your students line up as if they were going on an actual school bus. Students know they are going to be in the classroom at all times, so decorating the classroom and even dressing the part can help students get into it. It helps set the stage for this virtual field trip and helps students suspend their belief.
Make it as interactive as possible.
Virtual reality allows for 360-degree navigation, meaning that you and your students can look all around the classroom to look at different points in virtual space. Students can play “I Spy” to find different components in different simulations: the mitochondria of a cell, one of the many moons of Jupiter, rare and exotic aquatic sea creatures in the Australia seas.
Create the ambiance.
When applicable, include music to help set the tone. When presenting new materials, teachers can engage more than one sense in order to create more cognitive connections and associations with a concept.