Earth Day (or any day) is a great time to explore the globe. This school year, jumping around from one corner of the world to another might be out of this question. But even if your field trip budget is currently at zero, digital tools can help you transport students around the world. If you want to take students on a tour of our planet this April 22nd, try out these virtual reality field trips for Earth Day.
Regular readers of the blog know that I’m a big fan of virtual reality and virtual field trips. There’s an entire chapter of my book EdTech Essentials: The Top 10 Technology Strategies for All Learning Environments dedicated to exploring the world. It’s been a popular presentation topic, and one that I’ve featured a few times on the blog, too.
Virtual Reality Field Trips for Earth Day
Today I have Earth Day on my mind, so this list of virtual reality field trips is one you might refer to when picking out content for Earth Day celebrations!
Biodiversity might be a topic you’re exploring this Earth Day. A virtual field trip to the Amazon Rainforest can spark conversations about abiotic and biotic factors in an ecosystem. Here’s a video with a Rainforest 101 from National Geographic.
Great Barrier Reef
Speaking of biodiversity, you might transport students to an underwater environment. This coral reef virtual field trip might be one you use to compare and contrast what organisms live in different corners of the world. In addition to the Great Barrier Reef, you might want to explore Buck Island Reef in this 360 video.
This Earth Day, you may want to make a connection to another topic your students are studying. Talking about national parks, landmarks, or the rock cycle? You can take students on a virtual field trip to the Grand Canyon.
A trip to a famous landmark is an excellent option for Earth Day. Try a field trip to the Eiffel Tower if you want to take students to a space they may have heard of but haven’t visited. With this link, students can spin around and explore from the very top.
New York City is a place like no other (I might be a little biased), and sharing the bright lights of Times Square can help students envision what it’s like to be on a busy corner. If you don’t live in an urban environment, you might ask students to share experiences visiting active spaces like this one. This page has nighttime and daytime options to explore.
A trip to Mount Everest might not be on your calendar this spring. But you might be able to sneak a virtual reality experience onto your schedule. After exploring this space, you might ask students to read an article about the trash issues from all of the visits to this popular climbing destination.
I love sharing this Nearpod lesson which includes a 360 view of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Students can see lava in this lesson, and it is a great way to spark a conversation about the layers of the earth.
For a social studies connection this Earth Day, you can help students get to the top of Machu Picchu. Use the tours on this page from Google Arts & Culture. Students can spin around and climb up and down paths as you talk about the history of this spot.
For a full tour of the globe for Earth Day, don’t forget Antarctica. In this virtual tour, you might ask students questions from this list of prompts. Try out: “How far away are we from this place?” Or “How did someone capture this moment?”
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Whether your students have seen the movie Avatar or not, they are sure to be impressed with the landscape of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. This virtual field trip could be paired with a conversation on different plants. Or you might use it for a discussion on how to find out the name of a plant you want to learn more about.
As I mentioned at the top of the post, any day is a great day to explore the world. So whether you found this blog post as you searched for Earth Day resources or stumbled upon it in the middle of winter, I hope you’ll find a few places to explore with your students this year.