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AMNH Launches Virtual Field Trips Amid Social Distancing

AMNH Launches Virtual Field Trips Amid Social Distancing

The launch comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that New York City is working with private partners, libraries, and museums to create online resources that will keep students engaged throughout the remainder of the remote school year.


Updated May 29: The American Museum of Natural History, which is one of New York City’s most popular field trip destinations, has launched Virtual Field Trips in order to maintain educational opportunities despite social distancing. This educational initiative will enable students to engage with and learn about museum exhibits remotely, AMNH announced in a press release. The virtual field trips are just one more way the museum is keeping kids and families entertained during the coronavirus pandemic; it’s also one of the city’s popular museums that are offering virtual exhibits.

“These Virtual Field Trips will allow students to locate, view, and explore specific exhibits, complete a core student investigation, and engage in extension activities like reading and writing tasks based on Museum exhibits,” the press release said. 

At-home audiences will be able to use Google Arts and Culture to experience virtual hall tours of the museum galleries. These Virtual Field Trips will allow students to observe museum exhibits up-close and complete a Student Investigation based on the exhibit to test what they have learned. The program will be customizable for educators, including an easy-to-use Teacher’s Guide for each tour. The tour’s customization will enable educators to decide whether they want a program that will last one class period, while also giving them the option to add additional activities for a longer program. The American Museum of Natural History’s Virtual Field Trips are open to anyone, not just students and teachers.

The launch comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced that New York City is working with private partners, libraries, and museums to create online resources that will keep students engaged throughout the remainder of the remote school year, the press release said. These Virtual Field Trips are part of a portfolio of education programming that the museum offers to encourage science learning and teaching, even if students cannot physically be in the museum’s buildings. Virtual field trips will also be a part of the city's virtual summer school curriculum this year.



There are currently three Virtual Field Trip modules that have been launched, according to the press release. The first module, a field trip to the Museum’s Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals, geared to third-fifth grades, allows students to explore historic habitat dioramas to learn about animal adaptations in their environment. The second module, a virtual visit to the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, is geared to middle schoolers. This module focuses on teaching how plate tectonics can explain Earth formations such as ocean basins and continents. The third module, a field trip to the Butterfly Conservatory, is designed for students in grades K-2 to observe butterflies and compare their patterns.

The museum typically receives 5 million visits annually, though it’s currently closed due to COVID-19, and it’s used to using massive open online courses (MOOCs), mobile apps, and websites to reach global audiences. It is now utilizing sites such as OLogy,  Khan Academy, and Kahoot to maintain an engaging at-home learning experience for students. 

In addition to the newly offered Virtual Field Trips on Google Arts and Culture, the museum plans to host live virtual programs covering a wide range of topics, from deep ocean biology to planetary science. Live pre-recorded tours will also be posted on Facebook. Audiences can stay connected with AMNH on the museum’s website, amnh.org/explore.

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Jamie Fischer

Author: Jamie Fischer is an editorial intern for Davler Media Group/NYMetroParents. She is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, and enjoys playing tennis and spending time outdoors with her friends. See More

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