School trips in science take students out of the classroom and into new landscapes and learning environments. By seeing for themselves the landscapes and scientific projects they have studied, science students can acquire new knowledge and contextualize their learning in the classroom. There are many great places to do science tours, from near and far. Here are four of the best destinations, with a summary of why visiting them is so valuable to students.
Created by the mid-Atlantic ridge, the Icelandic island nation is a major center for the development and use of geothermal energy and other renewable energy sources. Its capital, Reykjavik, is a destination of choice for scientific school trips. Students can visit the city’s Perlan building, where six tanks – each with a capacity of four million liters – store water heated by geothermal energy. Reykjavik also serves as a base for day trips to a geothermal power plant, rivers, and geysers, where students can improve their understanding of geothermal features and their history of use to meet the country’s energy needs.
Geneva, Switzerland is the headquarters of CERN, the world’s largest research center in particle physics and the site of the Large Hadron Collider. Visiting Geneva gives students the opportunity to learn more about the research and innovations that have taken place at CERN over the past decades – and the exciting directions it will take in the future. On their way to the Alps, students can visit the Emosson dam and see hydroelectricity in action. The Bex salt mines, which extend for almost 50 km and reach the villages of Chesières, Villars and Arveyes, offer a striking overview of the history of salt extraction in the region.
Cornwall and the West Country as a whole are teeming with wildlife sanctuaries and natural landscapes that are ideal for fieldwork during scientific school trips. Students can begin their journey at the Eden Project, learning about ecosystems and the relationship between plants and people. They can explore the Jurassic Coast, where scientists like Mary Anning discovered dinosaur fossils and contributed to our current understanding of evolution and prehistory. Monkey sanctuaries, turtle parks, aquariums, and wild bird centers allow them to get close to a wide range of animal species.
Like Iceland, Lanzarote is an island created by tectonic forces – but it is by no means identical. Groups on a school science trip will be able to explore a system of lava tubes and see the chemical processes in action on the multicolored walls of the caves. They can understand how agriculture developed in the volcanic soils of the island, learn how the salt is extracted and see the dramatic effects of algae in the green crater lake El Golfo. The striking landscape is a lesson in life in a volcanic region.