The following activity is part of a series we’re creating to support students, teachers, and caregivers, during this unprecedented time. Read more about the project here. If you try this activity with your student(s), we’d love to see what you do. Share your journey via the #Inspired2Learn hashtag on your preferred social platform.
Created by: Pax Linson and Jenna Fournel
Discipline: Language Arts, Social Studies, Math
Age level: Upper Elementary – Middle
Time: This project can take a few days or a few weeks to complete depending on how detailed you want it to be.
Materials: A computer and internet connection.
Our ability to explore the world beyond our neighborhood may be hampered at the present time but that doesn’t mean our imaginations have to stay put. This activity was inspired by two friends who live in separate buildings with facing windows. Once a week they get on the phone and sit where they can see each other through the windows and as they talk they plan a fantastic trip to a faraway land. It doesn’t quite compare to actually going on the trip, but the escapism helps.
In the following activity we take this idea into an academic realm because planning an actual trip requires many of the skills we aim to teach young people in school. Luckily the internet can bring many of the sights and sounds of faraway places right into our homes!
What to do:
At a basic level, the assignment is to plan a trip from start to finish including where you wish to go and what you wish to see when you go there. But to turn this into a multifaceted learning experience we’ve outlined some of the subject area skills learners can build in the process.
- Determine the distance you’ll have to travel to get to and from the destination and from place to place throughout the itinerary. If the trip is something that can be done by car, figure out how much gas will be needed. If the trip will require air travel do a cost comparison of flights on different airlines.
- Provide your learners with a budget for a week long trip and have them outline how much they will spend each day on food, travel, lodging, tickets, etc. Here is a lesson plan from Scholastic that explores this activity.
SOCIAL STUDIES / GEOGRAPHY
- If you are teaching a grade level where students are learning about their home state or the US, you can focus the trip on particular regions they have studied.
- Have students identify the various landforms and regions they will travel through during the trip and find pictures online that capture the diversity.
- Students can still “visit” National Parks through virtual tours. You could focus the assignment on a national park and have them research things to do there, or include a visit to a national park in the itinerary.
- Students can also “visit” various museums, zoos, and other attractions online. There are several lists out there to explore but here are some you might include as resources if you include a virtual tour as part of the assignment:
- Bored at Home? Here’s a Massive List of Museums, Zoos, and Theme Parks Offering Virtual Tours (Good Housekeeping)
- Check Out These Virtual Tours of Museums Around the World (Timeout)
- 17 Famous Art Museums You Can Visit from Your Living Room (We Are Teachers)
- Here’s a List of All the Virtual Tours You Can Take Right Now—for Free! (Taste of Home)
- Have students figure out a format for detailing their trip plan. Will they use an outline? A daily calendar? Some online tool? A slide show presentation? This article explores some resources: Ready for Vacation? Here’s the Best Tech for Trip Planning (New York TImes)
- After students have created a plan for what they will do each day, consider having them write a travel journal that explains what they imagine they see and do.
- You can create mini-writing assignments to go with various facets of the trip they plan. Some examples include:
- Look at the menu for one of the restaurants you plan to visit on the trip and write up a description of the meal you’ll order there.
- Take a virtual tour of one of the destinations on your trip and write a description of something fun you do there.
- If you’re driving by car as part of the trip, look at a map of things you’ll pass by along one leg of the journey and write a short description of what you imagine seeing out the window as you pass through these places. What will the landscape look like? What kinds of buildings or natural features might you see?
- Create a music playlist that you’d use on this trip. Choose songs that relate in some way to the anticipated experiences of the trip and for each song title write a few sentences explaining your choice.
Inspired Teaching Connection:
In this activity, the product as well as the process provide Wide-ranging Evidence of Student Learning. Students are usually participants in trips but rarely active planners; this activity positions them as Experts which can awaken curiosity and perhaps even the seeds of some future explorations! In every fact of their planning the 4 I’s will be hard at work as Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity are all essential companions in travel.
See our instructional model here.