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Field Trip Ideas for Middle and High School Students


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Are you looking for non-cheesy, not-too-babyish field trip ideas for your middle school and high school students? Look no further! Field trips and hands-on learning experiences are just as important for teens as younger kids, so go explore.

Field trips are pretty standard among elementary-aged homeschoolers. However, once kids hit middle and high school, the field trips often come to a screeching halt.

In complete transparency, I admit that I’m just as guilty as the next mom of not taking my teens on enough field trips. I want to rectify that, though, so I thought I’d brainstorm and share a few field trip ideas for middle and high school students. Please suggest any ideas that I miss in the comments!

Hospitals – Lots of hospitals offer different types of classes or presentations for groups. First aid and germ prevention are still relevant to teens and could be part of a health class credit.

Symphony performances

Plays

Art museums

TV and radio stations – These are popular with younger students, but still very relevant to older students. Your local TV station’s meteorologist might enjoy having an older group of students with whom to go more in-depth.

Living history museums – I know they have these at places such as Williamsburg, Jamestown, and St. Augustine, to name a few of the popular options. I’m an adult and I love them, so living history museums are suitable for teens.

Auto manufacturing plants

Food manufacturing or processing plants

Space Centers – Check out locations in Huntsville, Alabama; Cape Canaveral, Florida; and Houston, Texas.

Courtrooms – I always find it interesting to see how our judicial system works – and {most} teens are old enough to be quiet in a courtroom.

Aquariums – Many have programs specifically for older students.

Amazon fulfillment centers

Planetariums

Historical cities – Older kids are often easier to travel with, which means you can make some extended field trips. Try places such as Washington D.C., Boston, or the Alamo. There are so many possibilities for those who can travel!

And, I probably don’t need to point this out, but every city has a history. Don’t forget to explore yours!

History museums

Civil War battlefield locations

Field Trips for Middle School and High School Students

State and national parks

State capitols

Artisans – If there are any local artisans in your area – blacksmiths, artists, etc. – see if they’ll let your teens watch them work. This outing could even become an apprenticeship opportunity for the right student.

The Creation Museum The Creation Museum is still on my want-to list. Maybe soon.

College campuses – Sure, you can refer to it as a campus tour if you like, but it’s still a field trip. {grin}

Caves and caverns

Wildlife refuges

Local businesses – The entrepreneurial spirit is prevalent among homeschoolers. Ask a local small business owner to give your teen a tour and explain the ins and outs of business ownership.

Amusement parks – Yes, they’re fun, but some are willing to give students a behind-the-scenes tour, and many do have an educational component. Epcot is famous for its Showcase of Worlds, and you can watch a whole host of artisans work at Dollywood.

A location of the Federal Reserve

Music recording studio

Foreign countries – Yeah, such a field trip probably isn’t in my future, but if you can swing it, what a fantastic opportunity that would be.

Historic homes

I’m sure there are many other ideas that I’m overlooking, but that’s okay. That’s where you come in.

What suggestions would you add for non-cheesy, not-too-babyish field trip ideas for teens?

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20 Comments

  1. Thanks for this list! I just forwarded it to the gal in our homeschool group who organizes most of our field trips. We do live in another country so just about every day is a field trip but I would add on personal interest of the kids…like mine helped me brainstorm the following:

    College campus tour:
    – could even break this out into different field trips like their science lab and science teachers, the life of a librarian, sport team, etc.

    Airlines/airport

    Veterinarian office

    Car Repair shop

  2. We will be homeschooling for the first time next year and our oldest will be in sixth grade. We plan on many, many field trips! These are some great ideas. Thank you!

  3. While visiting a hospital or a doctors office sounds like an amazing idea, it really is unwise. I even say this as a mother who has a daughter, who so far chooses to be a surgeon. She is only 9….so we will see. We own an IT company. Most of our clients are clinics and pharmacies. My technicians and my husband have caught many illnesses working in the office areas of ghese places. We request our techs wear gloves and keep hand sanitizer with a drop of bleach in their company trucks. We provide them for them. My husband has brought home two variants of mono home to share with our family and caught an antibiotic resistant form of C-Diff from one of the nursing homes we service. He spent 2 months a the mayo clinic succumbing to a not so pretty and unconventional treatment for c-diff. I will let you research that (good discussion for high schoolers about how God makes natural properties in our bodies to heal itself).

    I wouldn’t completely dismiss visiting these place. They are an awesome learning ground; especially for those who are interested in medicine. However, I would certainly be extra cautious about germs, touching things, etc. And bring hand sanitizer with a drop of bleach, for sure.

  4. This is a GREAT list! What I struggle with, though, is the fact that high school course work takes so much time that I hesitate to take the time away for a field trip. My teenagers are basically ALWAYS behind… maybe that’s just us? Have you figured out a way to make it all fit in? I’d love some advice. 🙂

    1. Hi, Ann. As I confessed, I’m as bad as the next mom about not making time for field trips. I’m trying to do better, though. We still try to keep a light Friday – usually their quizzes for the week – so that we can use that day for outside activities or make-up days if we did activities during the week. Sometimes, I’ll scan the kids’ lessons for the week and see if there are some not-so-important things they can skip to make room for outside activities. I know it’s easy to feel behind, but I like to remember that I make the schedule, the curriculum is a tool rather than the master, and field trips can truly enhance learning for teens, so they should be viewed as part of a student’s education, not blowing off a day of formal learning. That’s my take. I hope it helps!

      1. It does, thanks! I keep thinking that by keeping our noses to the grindstone I can actually have a SUMMER… but maybe it’s a good idea to plan some variety along the way and not be so concerned about when the school year ends… 🙂

    2. I have this same problem. I’m trying to think logically, as in, no high schooler can possibly know everything about ancient Rome, so if we don’t finish reading Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra so we can go on a field trip, I think that’s ok. I struggle with feeling like I’m not making her do enough work…not enough science or writing, this year in particular.

    1. We went there about 7 years ago, it was very interesting. Our kids were fairly young then, so it would be fun to go again. My son’s piano teacher’s daughter works there!

  5. So many great ideas! I agree that field trips are important for our teens. Mine recently enjoyed attending a national meeting of the College Mock Legislature. It is a program sponsored by YMCA, and they have middle and high school programs in 34 of our states in the US. Here is more info on that, if you are interested.

    https://betsyhomeschoolconsulting.blogspot.com/2014/05/being-legislator-for-day-youth-and.html

    I will be sharing your list with our homeschool group, Kris, thanks again,

  6. I feel the same way with feeling behind. My husband was ill and we ended up renting an apartment in Rochester, Minnesota while he was being treated at The Mayo Clinic. My daughter was with us since she was homeschooled. We tried to do as much school as we could but we ended up spending most days in prayer or wandering Mayo’s magnificant Children’s Library, reading books, checking out DVDs, and attending their daily children’s activities. When we got back home, I had to go back to work at our company. We brought her to work with us but I just knew she was getting lost in this tornado. I put her in Veritas Press Scholars Academy for quite a few classes this year. When she was tested to figure out where she was placed, she placed on average grade 4.5. Her reading comprehension was 5th grade!!! Mind you, I thought she was surely behind due to nearly two insane years. Praise God, she was learning in between. We let her play on Time4learning.com when I was knee deep in work. Our IT technicians tought her about networking, web design, wiping hard drives and changing power supplies. I guess every day is a field trip now…lol. I would advise from my new experience, don’t fret. You really aren’t as hehind as you think. God made us homeschoolers for a reason. We are not supposed to school like the PS sytem. Our babies are learning so much by just being free…..free to explore what their hearts desire in their free time. My daughter loves music; even has her own youtube channel. I woke up this morning hearing her singing in her bed. It was like waking to an Angel’s voice. Their “non-school” time is when they real grow. I know this now. I feel a lot less pressure and feel more blessed. I hope this helps those that feel like they may be not getting enough school time in. Blessings to all of you momma’s; we all work so hard to give our babies our all….and with unwavering faith, we know God has them in his hands!

  7. Colonial Williamsburg has homeschool days but two other places our teens liked was Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn MI and also Sturbridge Village about 90 minutes from Boston and the Freedom Trail in Boston,

  8. I love the idea of visiting local businesses. I can see how it would help teens feel connected to community while also learning about career options and hard work. Perhaps working farms and orchards could be added to the list?

  9. We have enjoyed field trips to orchards, metro parks, botanical gardens, and farms. One farm we visit nearly every fall has corn mazes we love. One is in the shape of our state-Ohio with clues and facts about Ohio to locate. We have also taken each of our graduates on a special senior trip. The first was to Virginia to visit Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. The second graduate chose D.C.We thoroughly enjoyed both trips and it made their senior year special.

  10. One of the coolest ones we have done is to a metal recycling site. They showed us sorting the metals, buying, selling, moving process and even crushing a car. We have also been to numerous county facilities like waste water treatment plant, town water facility (drinking water), and the county registrar did an awesome voting program for us.

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