Active Learning: Teach Each Other Field Trips
Students prepare notecards on 5-6 assigned species (or phyla, depending on the trip). Notecards include drawings, general information, diagnostic characteristics, and uses in medicine or other products. On the trip students first find their species with groups of students that studied the same species. Then, the groups are rearranged and students teach each other to recognize the species. The learning activity is the followed by a field quiz of all 30 species (or 9 phyla depending on the trip). Students email me with pride weeks or years later to tell me the species they recognized in their own backyard or were able to teach their children while out hiking. Field trips in this style have varied in their focus. Examples include: Tallgrass Prairie Species at Black Dog Reserve, Forest Bird Species at Bass Ponds MN Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Deciduous Forest Species at Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park, Winter Botany at Nine Mile Creek, and Animal Phyla at the Sea Life Aquarium Mall of America. Format was based on that of a Normandale Community College colleague, J. Schmitz.