8 Best Social Studies Virtual Field Trips To Try Today

Field trips are such a great way for your students to learn a little more about the world around them. They really encourage curiosity and work as a really valuable tool to connect the subjects taught in the classroom to real-world situations and scenarios.

8 Best Social Studies Virtual Field Trips To Try Today

Although I’m sure I don’t need to tell any teachers about the value of field trips – you all already know. 

And you are probably also all too aware with budget cuts and time restraints. Both of which have near enough made field trips obsolete and impossible. Getting your students out into the open world really has never been harder. 

Thankfully, technology has come to the rescue. While a virtual field trip might not be quite as enriching as the real deal, it is certainly the best solution.

Students can still have just as much fun participating in virtual field trips, they can be just as engaging, and just as educational. 

So, if you’re looking to ditch the regular lesson plan, and are looking for a great fun and super informative virtual social studies field trip, look no further. We’ve got you covered. 

1. The Smithsonian National Museum Of Natural History 

Fancy a trip to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History without having to sort out parent permission slips and a whole ton of other paperwork? Then this is the perfect option for you. 

Your students will be able to take a virtual self-guided tour of the entire museum. Each and every room is virtually accessible with ‘hotspots’ where students can even get up close and personal with certain objects in the rooms. If your school has a Bring Your Own Device policy, they can even access the mobile site. 

This virtual field trip is still pretty immersive as students will be able to see each of the exhibits and zoom in for a closer look. In fact, it’s almost like being there in person, considering you can see so much detail of the Mammal Hall and Egyptian Mummies, for example.  

Plus, all the past exhibits are still available online, so you’ll have access to things that you wouldn’t even be able to see in person such as the Western Cultures exhibit. 

2. The White House 

The White House is the most significant home in the entire US, and it makes the perfect field trip option for those studying social studies. But if you can’t travel there, don’t panic, as they offer one of the most interactive virtual tours there are. 

Students can roam the grounds and rooms of The White House. All they have to do is click on the area that they’d like to visit. From there a photo will pop up of the room along with some text descriptions too. 

Not only this, but your students will also have access to behind-the-scenes footage of certain aspects of life and work at the home. There is also an art gallery and options to see much of the building’s decor. 

A great virtual social studies field trip option is to get your students to journey through the rooms of the West Wing while you teach valuable information about the history of the places and how they were used. 

3. The National World War II Museum 

The National World War II Museum’s virtual field trips are phenomenal. They are really designed to ensure that students get the absolute most out of the experience.

For example, All virtual trips and tours include structured learning activities and curriculum materials which enable students to refer to what they see in their classroom work. 

As your students make their way around the museum they will need to analyze maps, artifacts, posters, photographs, speeches and songs, all while being led by a professional museum educator. 

You will need to pay a fee per trip, but it is definitely worth it. Not only do you get to explore the museum online through a one-hour guided tour, but the tour is also set to be more of a lesson where students will develop both their critical thinking and analytical skills. 

Other resources such as webinars and Skype classroom programs calls are also available which are also great ways to learn more. 

4. Gettysburg 360 

With this virtual field trip students can transport back in time to the Gettysburg battlefield. This trip, presented by the Civil War Trust, is very interactive and super educational too.

Students will be able to click on a variety of different markers across the battlefield where they’ll see photos of the area as well as more in depth information and explanations.

Not only this, but there are also several videos containing experect descriptions of the important landmarks and battlefields in the area. 

You’ll also find plenty of other information and learning resources on the website. Your students can learn about several Civil War battles which all come with primary sources and animated maps.

There’s even an educators guide so that you can really make the most of the resources available to you and ensure your students are getting the optimal learning possible. 

5. Tour OF Ellis Island 

This virtual tour/field trip is so interactive and a whole lot of fun. There’s also a whole lot of resources to ensure that it’s highly educational too.

Throughout the tour you’ll see historical photographs, spoken stories, and film footage all of which teaches more about the path of immigrants to America.

On this immigrant journey, you’ll visit 10 significant stops along the way. Some of these include; Registry Room, Medical Exam, and the Kissing post. 

Not only this but there is also the opportunity for a computer lab activity too. The lab, Immigration: Stories of Yesterday and Today, teaches students a little more about why people came to America and why they still come to the country to this day. 

 6. Dollar Street

This isn’t exactly an attraction that you could visit in-person that is offering virtual trips. It’s more like an app or a website, but it will definitely work as a great social studies field trip option. 

So, on this site students will be able to see how other people around the world live through a selection of different photographs or pictures that covers a variety of life categories.

It’s a great option to let students roam around and learn all about different cultures. 

Alternatively, you can also assign comparison activities where students must observe and identify the differences in economic or social advantages and disadvantages in different areas of the world. 

7. Anne Frank’s Secret Annex 

For students learning about WWII,  the Anne Frank’s Secret Annex virtual tour is an educational interactive experience that shouldn’t be missed.

The genocide of the Jews under the Nazi regime was one of the most horrendous and barbaric acts to exist in all of our history. It’s important that students learn about the atrocities as well as the fear the victims experienced. 

Anne Frank is arguably one of the most famous names of WWII having hidden from the Nazis for a considerable amount of time. In this tour, students begin at the bookcase that hid the entrance to the Frank family hiding place.

From there they will be taken to different parts of the annex where they will learn more information about the family and their lives. 

8. Virtually Anywhere 

Virtually Anywhere offers 360-degree interactive tours of the United States Capitol Complex.

Students can learn more about the significant and historic buildings through informative text descriptions, photographs, sculptures, paintings, designs, and more.  

If you are learning about the government in your social studies classes, this will be perfect to allow your students to see the government in action.

They can take a closer look at the Rotunda, Statutory hall, and even browse the Library of Congress. 

Final Thoughts 

In the face of budget cuts and other difficulties, it can seem like field trips may soon become a thing of the past. But it is so important to really try and push for them.

Learning isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, and a more immersive or visual option for the day can really help some students to really further develop their education. 

Of course, sometimes field trips wide and far simply aren’t feasible. But luckily, with the advancements we’re seeing in technology, there are some really great alternatives. And virtual field trips are one of the best options out there. 

As you can see with many of the options listed above, they are almost as good as the real thing. The museum field trips often allow students to wander around as they would in person and the 360-degree views and zooming abilities let you get up close and personal with all they have to offer. 

Regardless of which of these activities you pick, you can be sure that not only will they entertain your students but they will also educate them too. So, which one will you pick?

Helena Waters

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