Back in October, we highlighted ways that some particularly awesome museum websites could substitute for an actual visit to a museum, and could engage students in virtual adventures. This time around we’re expanding the focus a bit. Inspired by Google Expeditions virtual reality field trips, we have thought up many other ways to create fun virtual field trips for your students. We know that at this time of year students start to get antsy as winter break approaches. To keep them focused and engaged, we’ve rounded up websites that will give them the best opportunities to explore the world from inside their classroom. For more ideas on how to create blended learning lessons with the resources below, contact us!
Google Cultural Institute: World Wonders
Students can explore dozens of locations around the world and study their wonders through excellent photos, Google Street View, and text. To make the most of this great resource, however, you’ll want students to curate and create their own online galleries. Instead of going on a field trip, they can actually create their own virtual one!
National Geographic Kids Atlas
In addition to two interactive map-making tools where students can put their own individual mark onto maps, you’ll also find an online interactive conservation map. There students can explore Earth’s diverse ecoregions and learn about plants and animals through various multimedia.
TIME for Kids: Around the World
Though you might not be able to take your students to Australia or Switzerland, you can definitely have them go there on a virtual field trip using this website. Features include a Sightseeing Guide, History Timeline, short challenge quiz, and Day in the Life, which portrays the life of a child in the chosen country. In addition to pure exploration, this website also makes a great foundation for a project in which students design their own travel guides!
This is hands down one of the most beautiful websites for exploring the world. With over 3,000 panoramas, your students will be begging you for more time to learn, and those interested in photography will enjoy the behind-the-scenes information in the Articles section. One great way to use the website would be to create blended learning stations, each one for studying a different panorama location. Bonus: Find more awesome panoramas here (the new 7 Wonders), here (cities) and here (virtual reality panoramas of top world destinations).
For students who prefer to learn with numbers, the NationMaster website will give them a great start. They’ll be able to research dozens of statistics on just about any country and compare its stats to that of another country. This website could provide a great foundation for an exploratory math project, or as one station in blended learning rotations.
BBC Earth on YouTube
Students will be able to explore the Earth and natural world in this series of diverse videos on topics ranging from leopards to kangaroos to dolphins. Since most of the videos are under five minutes in length, they could be used for flipping your classroom or as part of short blended learning rotation groups done in class.
Google Maps for Education
This free suite of tools includes Google Earth Pro and Google Street View. Students will enjoy exploring important cultural sites and natural wonders, such as the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef. In terms of lesson applications, the possibilities are pretty much endless!
Top Documentary Films
With hundreds of free documentary films, this website can serve as a window to the outside world and the various challenges people face. Students can browse by topic or title. Though there might not be enough time for students to watch the entire film, they could choose an important scene, publish a report, and share what they learned with their classmates. Note: Some of the themes are for an adult audience, so this resource is recommended for 11th and 12th grade.
Global Oneness Project
Through an award-winning collection of films, photo essays, and articles, students will be able to explore cultural, social, and environmental issues. These multiple content types makes the website ideal for reaching a class of students who learn best in different ways. An added bonus is that the materials are all aligned to National and Common Core Standards and come with lesson plans.