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In this lesson, students apply social studies & math skills to plan a field trip


Computers & Internet, Math, Social Studies  


3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Planning a Class Field Trip
By – Tommy
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Math, Computers / Internet
Grade Level – 3rd grade – College

This lesson focuses students’ attention on the variables used in planning trips. It captures students’ interest, provides a review of the primary unit objectives, and assesses students’ prior knowledge. This experience enables students to consider the variables that must be accounted for in planning a class field trip. There are seven other lessons in this unit plan. The time spent on each lesson will vary according to the needs and abilities of your students but they have been designed to take about 45 minutes.

Learning Objective:

      * Students will select appropriate methods and tools for computing with whole numbers from among mental computation, estimation, calculators, and paper and pencil

      * Students will model problem situations using a table

      * Students will compute elapsed time and distance

Lesson Description:

While students remain in their seats, ask them to identify variables that must be considered when planning a class field trip. Some variables to remember are: time of trip, distance, duration, cost of transportation, cost of food, need for special permissions, and need for additional chaperones. Record and post this information on a chart for future reference. The students may add to this list in subsequent lessons.

Discuss with students how these variables affect decisions about the trip. Ask them to explain and defend their choices. Invite students to prioritize the variables from most to least important in planning a class trip and record the prioritized list. The priority value of any item will be determined by local circumstances. These recordings enable the teacher to see which variables students frequently attend to and provide information for instructional decisions and evidences to document student progress toward learning goals.

Students will consult a map and select information from some of the many Internet links that can be used to direct students to online maps. A state and its local tourism offices often maintain these sites. Sample addresses include: , You may wish to bookmark the pages relevant to your state and community before you begin this unit.

Assign the students into groups. Have them select a location for the field trip that is of interest and within driving distance of the school. Provide local maps so that students can determine the distance to the site and a copy of the school’s field trip policy including costs. Using this information, students plan a local trip consistent with school policy. They need to include the cost, departure time, duration, return time, and other considerations. The work sheet provided will help them to organize their data.

As a piece of authentic writing, have students draft a permission slip and a request for chaperones.


Ask the students to consider the variables required for planning a field to the same location for a group of kindergarten students. Compare the list with the considerations listed by the class. Have students reflect on reasons why considerations differ between the two age groups. These reflections should be recorded and placed in each student’s portfolio.

Guiding questions:

1. What type of transportation can we use?
[Sample responses include parent drivers, school bus, and public transportation, and rent a private bus.]
2. How can we keep travel costs down?
3. What time will we need to leave school to be there when the attraction opens?
4. What will be our schedule at the attraction?
5. What time do we need to leave the attraction to get back to school by departure time?
6. Everyone is bringing his or her own lunch. How much time should we plan in our schedule for lunch? When should we eat?
[Sample response: We can set aside 30 minutes for lunch.]


At this stage of the unit it is important to know:

* variables students attend to
* whether students can use all the variables to plan a trip
* if students can determine time duration and distance
* if students can compute using the data collected

The guiding questions help students focus on the mathematics and aid you in understanding the students’ level of knowledge and skill with the mathematical concepts of this lesson. One of the assessment tools provided is a recording sheet entitled “Status of the Class”. It is helpful to record students’ current level of understanding as a way to plan instruction and to monitor and measure their growth toward meeting the learning objectives. Documenting information about student understanding throughout the lesson can help you focus on individual student needs and strengths, and thus can increase student learning opportunities.

The assessment information you collect can help you to monitor student learning, to adjust instruction, and to plan future lessons for the class. Data on individual students can be used to plan strategies for regrouping students, for remediation, and for extension activities. This information is extremely useful when discussing progress toward learning targets with students, parents, administrators, and colleagues.

Teacher Reflection Questions:

1. Which management strategies were most effective?
2. Which management strategies were least effective?
3. Which students met all the objectives of this lesson? What extension activities would be appropriate for those students?
4. Which students did not meet the objectives of this lesson? What instructional experiences do they need next? What mathematical ideas need clarification?
5. What adjustments would you make the next time you teach this lesson?

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