A field trip is a journey by a group of people to a place away from their normal environment.
The purpose of the trip is usually observation for education, non-experimental research or to provide students with experiences outside their everyday activities. The aim of this research is to observe the subject in its natural state and possibly collect samples. In western culture people first come across this method during school years when classes are taken on excursions to visit a geological or geographical feature of the landscape, for example. Much of the early research into the natural sciences was of this form. Charles Darwin is an important example of someone who has contributed to science through the use of field trips.
Field trips enable teachers to expand children's learning beyond the walls of the classroom into the vast community outside. They provide children with experiences that cannot be duplicated in the school but are nonetheless an integral part of school instruction. Perhaps a field trip can best be described as a living laboratory in which learning is acquired through active hands-on experience with the rich resources of the local community.
Research has shown that field trips are important for many reasons:
- they increase student knowledge and understanding of a subject,
- they add realism to the topic of study, and
- they provide an opportunity to develop and enhance a student's socialization and citizenship skills.