How Can You Use This Guide ?
Included in this guide are objectives and activities designed to help you meet your classroom goals and enjoy a productive field trip to Vicksburg National Military Park. This guide includes information about the Park, the resources available, and planning your field trip. The activities have age group recommendations (K-12). Each section has supplemental classroom activities. Beforehand, decide what the goal of your trip will be and which activities best meet this goal. Choose an activity more relevant for you, your students, and the field trip. Also, please look through the last chapter, Odds and Ends, for post-field trip games and activities to round out the students' experience.
Introduction and Preparation
The difference between making your field trip just another fun day outside the classroom or a powerful learning experience in the field depends on how well you and your students are prepared.
The blending of park and classroom learning activities is the essence of focusing a field trip.
1. Be familiar with the site! It is important for you and your fellow educators to visit the Park and explore it yourselves. The seasons change, so please visit during the same season as your field trip.
2. Divide your class into small groups if possible before you arrive at the park and let the groups know who they are. Groups of 20 or less are helpful in rotating through the museum and visitor center. This helps to maximize exposure to the message at these sites.
3. Plan the trip ahead of time. Know what concepts you want to get across and select or design activities that teach those ideas. The emphasis of the field trip activities should be on the quality of the experience, not the number of facts or names you can remember.
4. Call the Park to inform them of your trip.
5. Ask for suggestions from your students. What do they expect to see and do? If they can help design it, and have an investment in it, their visit to the Park will be more memorable. Follow up on any sparks of interest you noticed during your pretrip activities or as you explained the upcoming trip. Ask your students to answer the following questions and then use their responses in your planning:
a) What do you expect to see at the Military Park?
b) What do you expect to do at the Military Park?
c) What would you like to study at the Military Park?
We hope, with proper preparation and planning, you and your students will enjoy a wonderful field trip.