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Adapt Virtual Adventures

clipart of photograph from scrapbook
A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.

Virtual field trips aren't just about going to other places. They are also used to help students better understand their own life and place in the world. Use existing field trips as the basis for your own trip. Or modify one to fit the needs and experiences of your students.

Adapt Virtual Field Trips

A journey is a person in itself; not two are alike.

Keep in mind that each person views their world differently. Children take very different photographs than adults because of their life experiences as well as their height.

In many cases you won't find a virtual field trip that meets your needs exactly. For example, you might identify a trip that is written at a higher reading level than your students. Or, it might not contain enough photographs for students to understand the context of the trip. Fear not. You can still use the website, just make some modification to your plan.

Use the ideas below to adapt a virtual field trip.

  1. If the reading level is too high, consider copying the photos into PowerPoint and making your own show for your classroom. Be sure to give credit to the original website and don't repost them without permission.
  2. If you find linkrot at the website, consider using the core idea and adding your own graphics or additional links.
  3. If you find a number of good virtual field trips, mix and match the best of each to create your own field trip.
  4. If the concepts presented are too low or high for your students, develop a supplemental guide to go with the trip. Think of it as a "travel guide" that will help them with vocabulary and other information. You can also use this travel guide approach for other purposes such as background information and guiding questions.
  5. If the field trip doesn't fit the particular region or topic of your class activities, consider using the field trip for comparison. For example, if the field trip is set in one city, ask students to speculate on what might be different in another city. If the field trip is set in one national park, ask students to compare this park to another park. Field trip comparison and analysis are great opportunities for thinking. Compare cities, parks, people, places, or events.
  6. If the field trip is limited, consider using it as a springboard and asking students to expand it. Think of the field trip as a "starter" or "prompt" to get students started building their own. Provide photos, information, and other materials to help them get started.

Take a Tour

Virtual Tour

If you want to experience what it would be like to go to a particular place, you probably want a virtual tour. These are often slide shows that use a map to guide you through a particular place.


Explore Information

Look Around

Rather than a tour of a specific location, some field trips simply provide a library of information about the park, museum, or other place.


  • Animals at the Farm from Ozon Hill Farm National Park Service - information and photos of farm animals.
  • Civil War Pictionary from Petersburg National Battlefield - click on word to see photo and definition
  • Kids' Corner from Cape Lookout National Seashore - library of information about birds, plants, shells, and sea turtle of the this seashore.

Information Journey

Rather than just "looking around," some virtual journeys organize information by time, place, or other other ways.



Many virtual field trips involve a sequence of activities such as stops on a trip, steps in a procedure, or a sequence of events.



Tell A Story

Consider using existing photographs, web resources, and materials to build your own project. Here are some ideas:

Day in the Life

Look for a "Day in the Life" of a particular person, character, place, or animal.


Journals and Travelogues

Some people enjoy sharing their ongoing adventures. For example, blogs are the latest fad in sharing daily adventures.


Travel Buddy Projects

Flat Stanley is a children's book character who travels through the mail visiting places around the world. Anyone can create their own project. Go to Teacher Tap: Travel Buddy Projects to learn how you can use this approach.



Make Comparisons

Comparisons are a great way for people to better understand a concept or place. For example, compare "then" and "now"

Compare two different time periods. Consider focusing on a particular aspect of the period rather than everything. Start with something local.



Make It Interactive

Involve readers in an online adventure. Ask users to answer questions or make choices. Use photos, maps, and buttons to make your trip come alive.

Visual Menus

Use a map as the starting point to explore an area. Users click on the map to learn more about an area. The map could be a road map, park map, or simply a concept map or visual representation.


Photo-based Questions

Ask users to make choices, click on photos, or match words and pictures. Choices may lead to correct answers or options to explore.



Rather than simply taking a virtual visit, some field trips ask you to work. You may become an archeology, historian, or geographer. These field trips may be organized as a WebQuest, game, or activity.


Visual Resources

Although you may be able to go out and take your own photos, you may need to locate images for your field trips.

Use the following resources for starting points:

Adapt a Resource

Too often I would hear men boast only of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.

Use the ideas above and start thinking about your own trip. If you find a good starting point online, consider adapting it for your purposes.

Adapt a Template

Use an empty template and fill in it. Or, empty out a project created by someone else. Then fill it in with your materials. Here are four PowerPoint projects you can download use.

Adapt an Existing Trip

After doing a search for "bog virtual field trip," I located a great resource from Texas A&M. The website even encourages people to use the resource for educational purposes. Much of the information was too complex for my students, so I copied specific photographs and made a "Bog Starter" PowerPoint presentation.


Developed by Annette Lamb, 5/04. Updated 6/04.

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