Once returning back to the classroom (and if time was alloted) a few things will take place to wrap up the field trip (NOTE: If students returned at the end of the day due to traffic, I would make sure to complete the debriefing the following morning after calender).
Question and Answer
After being at a field trip for a whole day, the students are bound to have questions that were not answered while on site. Hopefully these questions were written in their journal, and there will be time given to answer these questions.
KWL Chart (what we Know, what we Want to know, what we Learned)
Before the students left on the field trip they created a KWL chart in the classroom based off of the descriptions I gave them about each exhibit room, and showing them the California Science Centers website for a visual. At this time the students will be completing the L portion of the charter, answering the questions of what we wanted to know, and also facts that were learned.
Last, I would have the students draw a picture of their favorite thing that they did while on the field trip. I will ask for a detailed drawing with a 1-2 sentence description of what they are depicting. These drawings will be displayed on the science display board.
Identity: An Exhibition of you, is the exhibit that changes over time. This exhibit lasted throughout the summer and changes through the seasons. Identity is a great exhibit that allows you to understand what makes up a person, weather it be by their fingerprints, their genes, or their personal characteristics. Regardless of how you look at it, no two people are exactly the same.
World of Life consist of seven different rooms, all giving explanations on how are body works and how to keep is healthy. The different rooms are: energy factory, supply network, control center, defense line, life source, and body works. The displays from this exhibit are extremely graphic, and some even made me squirm. This should be noted for the students that are walking into rooms like surgery theater.
Creative world consists of three different sections which all require the use of imagination and hands on building. Communication is a room all about sound travel. The students are able to go to different sections of the room and learn how sound travels as they communicate with their friends. Transportation Is a room which explains to the students how objects move, and the different types of transportation we can use (ie. cars, plans, trains). Structures is the last room which explains how bridges are built, as well as things that can destroy structures such as earthquakes. (There is an earthquake simulator - parents permission may be required before the students try the simulator depending on age).
The California Science Center's website is a great way to review with the students what they will be learning or seeing while on their field trip. It allows you to click on each exhibit, and gives a general description of what each room contains.
I would also make sure that I was planning this field trip around a unit which focuses on what our class will be seeing. This will require careful unit planning. This is important for the students to better grasp the concepts while receiving hands on demonstrations of is being learned in class.
The California Science Center is a hands on science center which is beneficial in engaging the students. Because of this hands on approach, the students are not just listening to adults teach them about movement, or the body, but instead they are captivated by the computers, displays, and tutorials that are educating them. The children can interact with other students, while actively learning. All exhibits are written in child-friendly terms, and exhibit staff is available to answer all of the students questions.
Three of the exhibit rooms at the California Science Center remain the same, while one changes every few months. I would make sure to look online to see what exhibit is being displayed at the time of visiting. This is just to ensure that you are able to give the students a brief description of what they will be seeing whileat the science center.
A few days before the day of the field trip, I would make sure that the students knew about the different exhibit rooms they would be seeing. I would have them create a KWL chart (what we Know, what we Want to know, what we Learned) for each room, that way the students can create questions that they will want to learn while attending each room.
A field trip journal would also be needed for each student, which will allow the students to take notes, draw pictures, and answer certain questions that will be given by the teacher.
I will make sure that the students know the proper behavior rules while attending the field trip.
The California Science Center which is located in Exposition Park is a great place to take your family, or a classroom of students to have a great science adventure. Located next to the USC campus, this location is close to home, and also has other wonderful museums surrounding it.
The California Science Center is open daily from 10 am - 5 pm and only closed for three major holidays (thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day). The center is also FREE to all guests, but donations are appreciated. Parking, however, is not free, but will only cost 8 dollars for a full day of science adventures.
In my opinion, the California Science Center is for elementary school aged children. They do have two "discovery rooms" for toddlers if parents chose to take their younger children as well.