Science Field Trips for Middle School Students in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia is a fantastic city for scientific field trips. There are several exciting science museums that accommodate group visits for middle school children. Whether you want your students to explore outer space, nature, or the physical sciences, there likely exists an option to suit the educational goals of your class.
The Franklin Institute Science Museum
The Franklin Institute is the most popular option for science field trips in Philadelphia. The institute was founded in 1825 with a mission to foster scientific inquiry and passion. Permanent exhibits include The Giant Heart, in which one can explore the innards of a human heart by walking through it, Electricity, which describes the discovery and principles of electrical power, and The Franklin Airshow, which boasts the largest collection of the Wright Brother’s original aircrafts. A more recent established exhibit, Changing Earth, teaches students about global warming and their environmental impact. The museum also houses a planetarium and an IMAX movie theater. The museum hosts millions of visitors each year, and is well equipped in handling group visits. Special packages can be purchased for group visits that include a museum pass, planetarium show, or IMAX movie experience. Reserving a group visit can be easily accomplished through an online form at the Franklin Institute website.
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Visiting the Academy of Natural Sciences is most appropriate for the younger age spectrum of middle school students (5th grade). Permanent exhibits include a tropical garden boasting various species of butterflies, Dinosaur Hall, housing the bones of a 42 foot long Tyrannosaurus rex and thirty other species, and a live animal center featuring hundreds of small animals and reptiles. One of the main attractions to the Academy is an activity called The Big Dig, where students can participate in hunting for dinosaur bones like a real paleontologist! Imagination is key in enjoying The Big Dig and other Academy exhibits, so it would be best to bring students who are willing to explore. Visits to the Academy can be organized by calling reservations at 215-299-1060.
The Wagner Free Institute of Science of Philadelphia
The Wagner Institute began in 1855 as a free adult science education program. Currently, the beautiful three-storied building is rife with interesting natural specimens such as fossils, rocks and minerals, and dinosaur bones. The institute also contains the first American saber-toothed tiger. A trip to the Wagner Institute would be most valuable for well-behaved children capable of taking meaningful observations, as all specimens are on display for the purpose of being studied. The museum is not an interactive experience, but it provides a more serious air for scientific inquiry. To schedule a field trip visit, the children’s education department can be reached at 215-763-6528.