Saturday, September 5, 2009

Benefits of Visiting the Fullerton Arboretum

Fullerton Arboretum offers a variety of learning opportunities to students of any grade level but in particular to third grade students who are studying about different environments, such as oceans, deserts, tundra, forests, grasslands, and wetlands.
A field trip to the Arboretum will allow students to explore some of these environments first hand. The Arboretum is home to many plants from the deserts, the Mediterranean, and the Woodlands. The students can also look closely at Chaparral, plant species that we find around us and learn how it is related to Southern California fires.
Another subject matter that the students can learn about at the Arboretum is composting and its benefits to our gardens and our environment. With more than 4,000 different plants, the Fullerton Arboretum will provide an opportunity for the students to understand the diversity of the flora and fauna from the world over.

About the Arboretum

The Fullerton Arboretum is a 26 acre garden with a collection of more than 4,000 plants from around the world and is located on the northeast corner of California State University, Fullerton campus.
The Arboretum's grounds offer a wonderful array of flora and fauna and is divided into four major collections: Cultivated, Woodlands, Mediterranean and Desert Collections. The Arboretum also has Southern California native vegetation, a Rare Fruit Grove, historic Citrus and Avocados, a Channel Island Garden, an extensive Cycad and Conifer Collection, a Palm Grove, and a Children's Garden.
The following link below can be followed to learn more about this field trip site:

Fieldtrip Logistics

Before the outing, the logistics of the field trip have to be worked out including selecting the day, estimating the cost and the number of parent volunteers needed for the trip. The Fullerton Arboretum has a special program for third grade students that cover some of their physical science standards. So, therefore, it would be beneficial to check with the Arboretum staff about their education programs before deciding on the time and day of the outing. For this outing:

  • Send a letter to the parents providing details of the fieldtrip.
  • Attach a parent volunteer form asking them to respond at the earliest so that you have an idea of how many parents are ready to chaparone for the trip.
  • Attach permission slips with deadlines.

Before the Fieldtrip

Send a letter to the parents a day or two before the field trip reminding them of important things including clothing, lunch, medication, behavior expectations and any other issues that the parents need to be aware of regarding the outing. For the field trip to the Arboretum the following instructions will be appropriate:
  • Students should wear comfortable shoes as the field trip requires extensive walking.
  • Sack lunch with the student's name is recommended for easy portability.
  • Students must follow Arboretum rules including not picking fruits and flowers from their trees.
  • Students must stay with their groups at all times during the outing.
  • Parents need to fill in paperwork if medicine needs to be administered to the student during the field trip.

Research Materials Needed to Prepare for Fieldtrip

As mentioned before, the field trip to the Fullerton Arboretum can be used to learn about the different biomes and their environments. Even though students are learning about these biomes during science, it would be beneficial for them to access the following websites for additional information.

A list of vocabulary words can be compiled that will be used by the Arboretum staff during the tour. By going over this list before the field trip, you can ensure that the students will have the background knowledge about the topics they will come across at the outing. The Arboretum website can also be accessed before the trip to check out the various areas that the students would be visiting.
As a class you can discuss a list of questions that students will answer during their visit to the Arboretum. The students will record these questions in their field trip journals and fill in their answers during their trip.

After the Fieldtrip

The following day after the field trip, the students can share their thoughts about their experience. Students can read some of their journal entries and tell the class of what they liked about the outing. Students can also share any new vocabulary words they jotted down during the field trip.
As a follow up activity, students can write and send a thank you letter to the Arboretum staff. The letter will include what the student learned during the field trip.
The students can also compile a short article about the field trip and post it on the classroom web page.

My Fieldtrip Reflection

These are some of the questions I will ask myself to evaluate the fieldtrip:
  • Did the students learn the concepts that they were supposed to as mentioned in the goals and objectives of this fieldtrip?
  • Did this fieldtrip provide a unique educational experience?
  • Was there adequate time for students to cover all the site locations?
  • Were there enough adults to provide supervision during the trip?
  • Was the safety and discipline plan adequate?
  • How can the next visit to this site be improved in the future?
  • What problems if any should be addressed in the future?