This is a write up and exploration of a virtual field trip that can potentially be used in a classroom. It focuses on Mount Vernon, the home of the first United States president, George Washington.
Virtual Field Trip
- Title, website address, and grade level of your virtual field trip.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon, http://www.mountvernon.org/site/virtual-tour/, 2nd Grade
- General summary of what the site entails.
This is a virtual walk-through of George Washington’s estate, Mount Vernon. It focuses on interactive viewing and exploration of the mansion and its grounds in full color, with the visitor having the ability to both decide on where to go and even how to look around. While exploring, as if on a real tour, the visitor will come across various videos, pictures, historical facts, and stories pertaining to both Washington and his estate. They can stop and click on any of the links to learn more about our first president, where he lived, and how he lived. Over all, it is a nice tool to help students better understand and connect to a historical figure that they need to know.
- What VA Standards of Learning AND NCSS standards are met in this virtual field trip?
2.11 The student will identify George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King, Jr., as Americans whose contributions improved the lives of other Americans.
- describe how people create places that reflect ideas, personality, culture, and wants and needs as they design homes, playgrounds, classrooms, and the like;
- examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions;
- How would you rate this site/trip; okay, good, or super? Explain your rating.
I would give this virtual field trip a rating between good and super. It is extremely informative of George Washington’s life and home and has a multitude of different interactive outlets and resources, all on the site, that would allow for students to be interested in and connect better with what they are learning. It is set up nicely and is very easy to use and guide a class through. The only downside I found, and in my own opinion, is that it had more just simple facts about the actual house and estate than it did about Washington and his contributions to our country. It is helpful to learn about where he lived and what it was like, but it is also important to know what he did for the United States and so I wish that there had been more of that in the virtual field trip, but otherwise it was wonderful.
- What was the best component/experience of the site/trip? Explain your response.
The best component of the virtual field trip was how interactive and chalked full of information it was. There is something for everyone to find on the site and it really goes in depth with interesting, fun facts and ideas. It really feels like you are on a tour of the estate grounds with your own tour guide with how it is set up. The immersion really is a great factor for learning and keeping interest. It is also easy to not only navigate and find the information, but also to cater the tour to however you need so that it fits into your classroom’s schedule. One can simply visit the actual mansion if time is restricted or only view certain facts, but at the same time, one can also explore it all and get the full effect of the field trip if time allows. The field trip is just as much what the teacher makes it as it is what the site has in it.
- What was the weakest component of the site/trip? Explain your response.
The weakest component of the site, as I mentioned before, was how it lacked more general information about the historical figure of George Washington. The site contains so much about the house, the grounds, and all of the history behind that, but there are only a few big points made about Washington himself. He contributed so much to the development of this country, and students need to know that, so I wish that the field trip had gone a bit more in depth on the man himself and what his accomplishments were. All in all, the site is fun, informative, and a good for students to see, but it could always have more.
- Discuss at least two ways you could use this virtual field trip in your future classroom.
I would love to use this in my future classroom as an introductory activity. I feel as though it would be a good way to first introduce George Washington as an important, historical figure. With the virtual field trip, students would be able to get a real feel for what George Washington was like and how he lived, being able to see how it is different from us as well as how it is the same. Basically, I feel like it would be a good way to generate some interest and relatability to the subject before actually talking to the kids about it and pouring facts and information into their minds about a man they may know nothing about.
I could also see this field trip being used as a premise for a summative assessment. As a class, we could take the virtual field trip and gain more information about his life, while also having it act as a sort of model for a project-based assessment. For example, students could be tasked with creating their own tour, on posters or through hand made books or brochures, that explain the life of any of the important figures that SOL 2.11 mentions for the children to know about. They could have to explain their lives, how they were important, what their actual contributions were, and any extra things they think would be important to know all tied into an artistic, planned format that can be shared with the class. It could be a good way to see what the children have learned without having to rely on the usual method of testing.