Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Getting More Out of a Field Trip

We do not go on very many field trips most of the time, but that is not because we have anything against field trips. Actually, I think field trips are great for reinforcing what has been learned or will be learned or to give life to stale writing assignments..... and for a lot of other reasons. We really enjoy field trips, and we need to do more of them. :)  This was a field trip we took to a wonderful park/farmstead.

The inside of this entry barn was amazing.... all of the wood and workmanship was interesting and beautiful... and they had several loft areas where old tools, machines and other things were displayed.

 The words in yellow are some ideas for learning possibilities from this field trip.....
Barn construction methods and materials, barn uses, purpose of barns, why windows are in a barn, etc. 
 This old schoolhouse is equipped inside and we have sat in the seats to listen to the teacher. She gives a short lecture on what school was like back in the 1800s... including what was carried for lunch or how it was carried. It was fun to see how she reacted to our homeschool group and their answers... she was surprised at the interest level and the knowledge displayed. It was also fun when she asked if there were any more questions, and one very young member of our group said, "Is it lunchtime? Cuz' I'm REALLY hungry."  :)
 This was in front of an old mine operation display.... it is set up with a water trough and for a fee, it is possible to sift for "gold".  We didn't do that part, but it was fun to look.

See the "dynamite" on the box over there? That was fun... and the rail car.....By the way, we DID have to push the handle... :)  Nothing happened, in fact it is in there solid and won't move, but it was fun to push it.
 Several old cow bells.... yes, we tried those also.  So many things to see and do.....

Old schools and how they were used, school bell, mining, types of mining, dynamite, rail cars, cow bells- why are they used?, etc.
 A farm wagon.... and farm implement... my dad was with us and he was eagerly telling us what different old machines and tools on the grounds were and what they were used for.  He seemed to really enjoy seeing all of these things... and sharing his memories of the ones he had used on the farm or had seen used.  :)

Farm wagons and equipment... appreciation for the work people did and for the creativity they used in inventions.......
This was a big white barn... there are goats in it... and daily they milk a cow and talk about it. Very fun.... the sides of this hallway have corn in them..... demonstrating a corn crib.

Up higher, you can see the old wagon and there are other things displayed in various parts of the barn. There is even a milking station where water is used with a bucket system to allow kids to learn how to milk a cow. :) 
 The big windmill is back over by the mine area.... it looks so pretty.

Field trips offer so many possibilities for learning.... this one opens ideas about wind power, as well as the historical aspect of windmills, various types of windmills, animals and their importance on a farm, gas lanterns, fire danger in barns, etc.
What ponds are good for- including irrigation, why birds are important and their purposes, a covered wagon can bring to life the history of that time period and lead to all sorts of possibilities, discussion on what would be in a wagon... and what couldn't be taken on such a trip, etc.

The covered wagon was interesting to look at.... imagining traveling across the prairie with all of a family's possessions and food... in such a tiny wagon was sobering.

The blacksmith shop had a working blacksmith...  he explained what he was doing and demonstrated forming things from metal... he told us the temperature of the item when he finished it - it was terribly high -then he plunged it into the water barrel  and was able to touch it right away. That was rather shocking.

Blacksmiths, what they did and why, importance in the time period, metals, heating metals, stress of metals, heat, etc.

The horses were hooked to a wagon and rides were given... we didn't ride the wagon, but we did enjoy seeing it and the horses. :)

Horses and their jobs as work animals, their care, horseshoes, harness, fences, crops, types of wagons, differences in the responsibilities of kids years ago and today, etc. 
 An old barbershop.... notice all of the mirrors?

Hygiene, mirrors - how they were made and how they were transported at the time,  hair styles, barber chairs, barber shop gathering for information exchange, clothing styles (see the hat?), etc. 
 This is still the barbershop.... notice the clock.... see anything odd? It is not like a regular clock... and we found out that barbershops sometimes had them like this and the barbers could see the correct time in the mirror while they worked... an oddity, but fun. :)

Backwards clock?, old stove-how it works, windows, etc.
 The feel of an old western town...  there is a bank with a real safe on wheels...  and the door of that safe weighs about 300 pounds, I think.

There were so many things to learn in the bank and in each building.

Old buildings, Old West towns, hitching rails, banks, safes, old merchandise in store-what the items were, differences between old general stores and modern stores, why buildings are painted rather than left with bare wood, etc. 
So many antiques and interesting items on display up high in the barn.....

Old organs and how they work, old tools, loft in barn and its use, old buggies, etc.
There are an amazing number of ways to turn such a trip into a jump off point into learning for months to come - even as a reference point, ("Remember that old organ we saw...."). 

Old treadle sewing machines, Levi jeans, machines, modern electricity vs what was used years ago, research the usual sizes of barns and figure area and perimeter, etc. 
Importance of towns - especially in old west times.... for safety, community, supplies, etc. 

Difference between nice sidewalks now and dirt roadways then that turned muddy in rain, ladies' long dresses on dirt roads, etc. 
Flowers, landscaping, old farm implements, walkway sizes based on expected traffic, etc.
This log cabin is for people to go into... for kids to play in... still, it gives some idea of what a log cabin was like, even though this is a smaller version of one.

Log cabins - construction, uses, time periods, sizes, etc.  Logs, timber, modern logging operations, logs vs, boards for house construction, Lincoln Log play, etc.
The garden area!   I love the garden area.... so pretty and many plants are labeled.

Gardens, beauty, vegetables, fruits, herbs, fences, growing practices, food sources of years gone by vs present practices, canning, dehydrating, brick work, flagstone paths, etc.
This is part of the garden... there are lots of flowers, but there are also lots of other plants here in the garden and throughout the park... lots of food items, herbs and more.

Raised garden beds, trellis, mulching, composting, seed saving, birds, garden pests, harvests, planting, etc.
This is something I have wanted to do for many years... maybe someday if we move and have more room to plant things.  It is a "living fence" ... using an espalier process.... the fruit tree is trained on a framework or fence and the tree grows flat... on a fence or against a building. These were pear trees and they have lots of fruit. Benefits of such a planting include taking up less space, having fruit within reach and being able to cover better from animals, etc.
Different methods of growing trees, fruit yields, plant uses - for food, for medicine, and more....
There are lots of animals in this park... black swans, buffalo, eagle, owl, goats, horses, cows, more goats and more goats (lots of goats), pigs,  and more. There is a petting zoo and food dispensers for buying food to feed the animals.

Here is one of the prairie dogs...there is a prairie dog town.

Prairie dogs... how they communicate and live in "towns", habits, etc. 

More old equipment given a new life....

Old farm methods, driving a tractor, etc.
I love the garden.... did I mention that?  :) 

Homesteading, layout of a farm/homestead, protecting crops, location of animals in relation to house and garden, food for animals and people, etc.
A fun bridge....

Bridges, engineering, etc.
Such a beautiful place. Okay, a beautiful place like this offers a LOT in the way of making a field trip a learning experience, but large or small, a field trip has a lot of potential for learning.

As you have noticed all the way through, there are some ideas for learning possibilities from this one field trip... they are the words in yellow throughout the post.  There are actually so many more possibilities than mentioned... no matter the size of the field trip or what you see.... there are many opportunities to increase learning and to make learning fun.

We can assign writing assignments - creative writing, essays, research projects and more. Play can be used - using Lincoln Logs or cardboard boxes to build a homestead or farm. Field trips are fun.. we all like the change from our regular schedule.... and learning from them doesn't have to be laborious.  Another benefit is that our children learn to be more curious and to learn on their own, which is what we want them to do.  Also, they will remember such learning longer.  Thank you for visiting and seeing some of what we saw on our field trip. :) 

Shared on:

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Paula's No Rules Weekend Party
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Homemaking Party
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Featured on :

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  1. Of course, you I love the garden but you are so right....the barn was gorgeous with all the great craftsmenship..What a great trip and such a great learning adventure...I would love to have that old school house sitting in my back yard as a shop...Thanks for sharing your wonderful learning experience.. Blessings!

    1. It was a wonderful trip... thank you for taking the trip with us. :)

  2. Replies
    1. It is wonderful... .so much to see and do..... I cut my pictures WAY WAY down... .and still had a LOT of them to post. Thank you for visiting. :)

  3. Looks like an amazing place to visit - Thanks for linking up to Pin Worthy Wednesday, I have pinned your post to the Pin Worthy Wednesday Pinterest Board.

    1. It really was... thank you for the link up.... and the pin. :)

  4. This looks like a fantastic place for a field trip! It's beautiful. I love the barbershop and log cabin. Great pictures:)!

    1. Thank you... there is so much to see there... and it is wholesome family stuff. :)

  5. Oh I would have loved this field trip. The cowbells are so cool and I'm looking for an old wagon to use as a flower wagon and I so want a windmill.

    Thanks for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday


    Cottage Making Mommy

    1. It really was fun. :) That you for visiting and for the wonderful link up. :)

  6. That is super cute! Thanks for the submission to the HomeAcre hop. Feel free to stop by at www.PintSizeFarm.com or another one of the hosts to submit another this week!

  7. I believe firmly that experience learning is the best learning! Thank you for linking this up with us!

    1. I, too, like experience learning... and I think that type of learning sticks with a person much longer than only book learning (although I enjoy book learning also.)

  8. I homeschooled my three children and some of our best memories were field trips. This place is a treasure. Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!

    1. It really is a treasure and we are waiting for it to open again for the summer... we enjoy visiting. :) Field trips create wonderful memories and give so many great learning opportunities.

  9. I thought the prairie dog was a big fat squirrel. I guess I do not know my animals.

    1. He sure looked comfy! Yes, he does look a bit like a big fat squirrel. :)

  10. Wow, now that looks like my kind of field trip. I especially enjoyed the garden pictures and the old church and barn.

    1. It is a wonderful one, that's for sure. We all enjoy different things while there, but every part is interesting. My favorite area tends to be the garden. :) Thank you for visiting.

  11. This is my kind of field trip. Lovely country home views and you even gave me a squirrel on his tummie!

    1. It is a fun field trip... as I have said before, we live in the city, but have our hearts in the country, so we do enjoy a country field trip. :)