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SCIENCE FIELD TRIPS IN AFRICA

(Page 1/2)

Science field trips in Africa, when conducted properly, should reinforce the academic theory work that students have done, and should also expose the students to a new way of thinking about different countries, cultures and ecosystems.


science field trips kenya africa


However, academic travel to Africa is loaded with misconceptions and the big one is that every safari is a science field trip.

Since the main criteria, other than the students age of joining a school trip is if a students can pay for the tour, the "science content” of the trip is often overlooked or not fully explored in many educational field trips to Africa.

Let’s face it: students (young adults) sometimes don’t care a hoot about the academic content of the school science trips as long as it is fun, there are no text books and they can follow-up the guide by one ear as the other is permanent on an ipod!

For faculty members working with university students – the ipod may not a big issue as your students already know which way they are going career wise.


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But as science teachers, we should still make our students field trips worth while, since the shelf life of a good trip is elastic and goes beyond the “tour-end-date”.

Our duty is to create an interest in students, who possibly are not overly enthusiastic about the academic side of the trip. We must have hope that within a few years an incident from the trip will direct one to a career choice, or to make a social decision that can make the world a better place to live in.

6 tips for planning science field trips to Africa:

1. Think wide – whatever your specialty in science, plan the school trip with your college or undergraduate years in mind – where by you were exposed to a wide field of science subjects. The broader you keep the subjects range of your field trip, the more likely you will hold the students attention.

So it is ok to keep aside the curriculum and bring in topics on climate, ecology, geology, archeology, ornithology, anthropology, zoology, botany and just about anything you feel you will encounter in the country that you have chosen for the school field trip to Africa.


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2. Wildlife viewing – this is the flagship of African trips for schools and there is a lot of field science that students can learn by being on safari. But watching elephants, giraffes or lions may not leave the students any wiser academically if they don’t have experienced guides who can help them to interpret the animals’ behavior, their interaction with other species and the environment etc. Confirm from your school tours agency about the experience of the guides and also ratio of guides to students.

Click here for tips 3 -> 6 on how to plan science study tours to Africa.

About the author: Anne Huysman, co-owner of Ontdek Kenya Safaris, a Kenyan school tours operator. She has 5 years secondary school teaching experience in agriculture and sciences. For a consultation on science field trips in Africa, contact Anne of Ontdek Kenya Safaris.


Click here to go to page 2 of this science field trip in Kenya.

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