Results for Field trips
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Morag, O., & Tal, T. (2012). Assessing learning in the outdoors with the Field Trip in Natural Environments (FiNE) framework. International Journal of Science Education, 34(5), 745–777.

Despite increasing interest in the potential of outdoor learning experiences, limited research has focused on identifying “good” outdoor education practice. In this paper, the authors propose a theoretically based practical framework for assessing field trips in nature parks and other outdoor settings. The framework focuses on four aspects of field trips: preparation, pedagogy, activity, and outcomes.


Dewitt, J., & Hohenstein, J. (2010). School trips and classroom lessons: An investigation into teacher student talk in two settings. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(4), 454-473.

In teacher-student interactions during pre-visit, in-museum, and post–field trip interactions, open-ended styles of questions tended to happen more often during the in-museum part of the field trip, although closed-ended questions were still more frequent overall.


Anderson, D., Thomas, G. P., & Nashon, S. M. (2009). Social barriers to meaningful engagement in biology field trip group work. Science Education, 93(3), 511–534.

Students working in small groups during a field trip to a nature center prioritized the maintenance of social roles within groups of friends rather than exhibiting the behaviors that educators might desire a well-functioning group to engage in for science learning. ISE professionals may consider teaching strategies to help students learn to work through disagreements and discussion within a group, which students perceive as having long-lasting negative social consequences.


Stavrova, O., & Urhahne, D. (2010). Modification of a school programme in the Deutsches Museum to enhance students’ attitudes and understanding. International Journal of Science Education, 32(17), 2291–2310.

A modified guided tour increased students’ intrinsic motivation, interest, and perceived competence, and was more interesting and less boring than a traditional docent-led tour. Providing students with more opportunities for group work and active participation led to improvement in understanding and motivational and emotional states during the visit. Experiencing less negative emotions (anger) during the visit and prior knowledge contributed to a better understanding.


Endreny, A. H. (2010). Urban 5th graders conceptions during a place-based inquiry unit on watersheds. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(5), 501–517.

A place-based approach to an inquiry unit on watersheds created opportunities for the development of student conceptions of the human and natural components of urban watersheds. Through direct inquiry experience in the natural environment, student learning and attachment to place was observed.


Dohn, N. B. (2011). Situational interest of high school students who visit an aquarium. Science Education, 95(2), 337–357.

The purpose of the study was to investigate how situational interest was triggered for high-school students on an aquarium field trip. Although actual learning was not itself measured in this study, the author investigates how the museum setting triggers interest, which in turn influences learning and is therefore important to cultivate. As the author admits, some of the findings are intuitive but the study empirically confirms some approaches, which can spark situational interest. Five areas that triggered situational interest were identified through student interviews: social involvement, hands-on activity, surprise, novelty, and knowledge acquisition.


Davidson, S. K., Passmore, C., & Anderson, D. (2009). Learning on zoo field trips: The interaction of the agendas and practices of students, teachers, and zoo educators. Science Education, 94, 122–141.

This study outlines the learning goals, expectations, and perceived outcomes of a zoo field trip from the perspective of students, classroom teachers, and informal educators. They find, among other things, that that students most highly valued the social aspects of the field trip – opportunities to be with their friends and to discuss the field trip events with their friends. They also find that informal educators did not quite understand the needs or interests of the students and therefore missed opportunities to engage students with the science in the zoo. The authors close with several recommendations for planning class visits to museums, zoos, and other informal science institutions.


Amos, R.,& Reiss, M. (2012). The benefits of residential fieldwork for school science: Insights from a five-year initiative for inner-city students in the UK. International Journal of Science Education, 34(4) 485–511. doi:10.1080/09500693.2011.585476

This paper examines how students, teachers, and parents evaluate residential fieldwork courses. As in prior research, findings from questionnaire data indicate that fieldwork effects social, affective, and behavioural learning. More surprisingly, focus group interviews captured increases in cognitive learning as well. This paper underscores the value of out-of-school experiences, particularly for students from under-resourced backgrounds.


DeWitt, J., & Osborne, J. (2010). Recollections of exhibits: Stimulated-recall interviews with primary school children about science centre visits. International Journal of Science Education, 32(10), 1365–1388.

This study utilized digital media in the form of still photographs and video-clips of students’ visits to a science centre to stimulate recall of the visit and to explore the extent to which students were cognitively engaged, specifically looking at the meaning they constructed. Students were asked what was happening in the clip or photo, how the exhibit “worked” what they thought the exhibit was trying to show them, and whether or not they enjoyed the exhibit. The study found that the visits to science centres were highly memorable experiences for students and that students were highly engaged as they attempted to (mostly unsuccessfully) extract properties or characteristics of exhibits, make causal explanations, and utilize prior knowledge.