Best Practices for Field Days E-Tips for Environmental Educators
Welcome to this edition of the EE E-Tip for Field Days – the quarterly source for practical tips to raise the impact of field day programs. We want to hear your suggestions for improving this resource. Send your ideas to Nate Meyer.
EE E-TIP: Begin with Clear Learning Objectives for Your Field Day.
The impact of your field day and presentations on students is ultimately judged by the achievement of learning objectives. Measurable learning objectives translate your broad theme into specific information, skills, or concepts you want participants to learn from your event.
There are several factors that can help you articulate clear learning objectives:
- Ask yourself: “Can I test the achievement of these objectives?” Good objectives state exactly how you expect to participants to demonstrate their learning. Your participants should be able to easily understand the objectives. Remember, your participants include the students, teachers, volunteers (parents), and instructors.
- Look beyond the common approaches of testing for learning - defining, naming, identifying, etc. Consider asking participants to demonstrate, construct, calculate, diagram, or predict. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Education Objectives defines six different levels of learning objectives, with specific “action verbs” You can use in writing objectives for your field days.
- Inform your participants of your learning objectives beforehand. By doing so, they can focus on achieving these expectations for themselves.
Whether your field day program is brand new or has a long history, we recommend you take time to articulate your learning objectives. They will provide you clearer focus from which you can coordinate all the aspects of the field day including planning presentations, topics, activities, and a setting that compliments and enhances the learning opportunity.
For more information on beginning with clear learning objectives, review the "Structure Your Field Day around a Single Theme" section of the Best Practices for Field Days: A Program Planning Guidebook for Organizers, Presenters, Teachers and Volunteers – pages 31 to 33. Curriculum copies, workshop and other information are available
To learn more about the Best Practices for Field Days, read our short article in the online Journal of Extension.