Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Field Trip Opportunity!

The Fullerton Arboretum is a beautiful 26 acre sanctuary which is truly an urban paradise. The Arboretum offers many special school group tours of their grounds, the Heritage House, and the Museum for students of all ages and interests. The Fullerton Arboretum is located on the campus of California State University of Fullerton at 1900 Associated Rd.

The map located at the left of the page shows the sections that are available to be visited on your trip to the Arboretum. The Arboretum is a big place so its important to allow enough time to take it all in. The Arboretum also has large grass fields located near the ponds, which makes a great place for students to eat their lunches.

What special benefits could my students gain from visiting this field trip site?
As I walked through the front gates of the Arboretum I thought to myself, "How can I make this beautiful place into a lesson for my students?" There are many state standards that can be covered when bringing your students to the Arboretum. For my third grade class I looked at the California State standards and found several that can be applied.

Life Science
Adaptations in physical structure or behavior may improve an organisms chance for survival. As a basis for understanding this concept:
-Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.
-Students know examples of diverse life forms in different environments, such as, oceans, deserts, tundras, forests, grasslands, and wetlands.

Physical Science
Energy and matter have multiple forms and can be changed from one form to another. As a basis for understanding this concept:
-students know energy comes from the Sun to the Earth in the form of sunlight.
-students know sources of stored energy take many forms, such as; food, fuel, and batteries.
-students know matter has three forms: solid, liquid, and gas.
These are just a few standards that can be covered and the list of great lessons goes on and on.

What would I need to do to adequately prepare my students before a visit to the Arboretum?
To prepare for a lesson involving the Arboretum I would first start by teaching the students the key terms and regions associated with the different regions of the world. For my struggling students and English Learners I would prepare visuals to go along with the names of the region as well as worksheets with visual diagrams. I would provide the students with worksheets so that they can walk around the Arboretum and point out trees that they are familiar with. I would also teach the students about how the trees have adapted to survive in the climate they are suited for. This would include leaf size, leaf shape, truck size, height, etc.

What resource materials are available to assist my preparation?
The first resource I would use would be the actual website for the Arboretum: www.farboretum@fullerton.edu
The website includes all of the contact information needed to schedule a field trip to the arboretum as well as a preview you can show your students. This website is loaded with valuable information. My favorite feature of this website has to be the virtual tour. This is great to show your students prior to leaving to get them motivated and talking about the field trip.
The websites http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ and http://www.discoverykids.com/ also have great information regarding the different regions of the world and also have information about plan life.

What will you do to debrief students after I have attended the field trip?
Before leaving for the field trip I would have started a KWEL chart. I would motivate the students by asking what they know, what they want to know, and what is expected of them. Upon returning to the classroom I would complete the chart by asking the students what they learned. I would then have the student write in their science journals about their favorite region. I would inform them to write about some of the key characteristics plants and trees have in that region. For my E.L. students I would have them draw pictures and for any special education students I will consult their IEP and design a task they could handle.

The Arboretum is a great place for students to get outside and learn about the plants in our region and regions in different parts of the world. The students will be excited to be out of the classroom and there are many little critters running around the grounds at the Arboretum. It's important for teachers to make rules for the students to follow and set guidelines for appropriate behaviors. Safety is a big concern and students should dress according to the weather at the time of the field trip. There is water fountains and restrooms located on site. I really enjoy the benched seating area that is great for any teachable moments that may come across during the field trip.

The Heritage house is a great opportunity to give students a chance to take a trip back in time. This would be very difficult to work into the curriculum, but its a great opportunity to see a house with old fashion furniture and accessories. This is an original house and has been preserved as it once was. I found myself amazed at all of the neat artifacts I seen at the Heritage House.

The Nature Center has a very knowledgeable staff and some fun interactive things that the students can do. The students can look at different bird nests and learn about conservation. This was a wonderful experience and I look forward to the next time I return to the Arboretum with my students.

If you would like to schedule a field trip or would just like some more information go to www.farboretum@fullerton.edu or call (657) 278-3407.

Informative signs are placed throughout the Arboretum that explain what region of plants your looking at and some key characteristics of that area.

There are some wonderful views all over the Arboretum.


  1. Great job on your blog. It is informative and has wonderful visuals. I also visited the arboretum and I think it is a great place for students. I like how you included the standards in life and physical science. It gives a clear picture of the different things that the students can learn from visiting the arborteum. I also like how you have adapted the lesson by allowing the EL students to draw in their journal to help them express their thoughts. Great job!

  2. Awesome job on your blog. You incorporated a lot of beautiful pictures throughout your blog. I also vistied the arboretum and thought it was a beautiful place to help students understand the beauty of nature and science. I like the idea of incorporating the KWL chart. Smart idea.

  3. Jeff, Good work on your blog. The photos that you included helped to make the blog interesting and informative. Your backwards planning is great- the objectives that you included are right on target for this fieldtrip.