Teachers know that fieldwork can be expensive, with costs associated with travel, equipment, tickets, expert guides and lodgings, not to mention the staff hours involved in the planning, preparation and execution of the fieldwork experience.
However, the benefits of running invigorating, curriculum relevant and, most importantly, fun fieldwork experiences for students far outweigh the negatives. As geographers, we are required to provide fieldwork experiences for our students, and there are a variety of ways that this can be done without breaking the bank.
Running fieldwork on a budget can mean senior leaders are more likely to agree to fieldwork plans, free up budget to be spent elsewhere in your department and also provide insight into your local area to enable students to see the place in which they live in a different light. Low cost and free fieldwork experiences can also open fieldwork engagement up to groups of students who, for a variety of reasons, might not be able to access activities that cost money.
Tips for low cost fieldwork
Get to know your local area – is there a fieldwork location that you use currently that could be replaced with somewhere in your local area?
Make use of free transport options if they are available to you
Encourage the staff in your department to use your school grounds to explore and explain the geography they are teaching, where possible
Use time before fieldwork to prepare your students as much as possible- when explanation and instruction are given at school you have more time in the field for data collection, making it more cost efficient
Where possible, use technology to speed up the data collection process. Most students will have access to a mobile phone- and many apps are available that can enhance fieldwork
If you don’t have access to particular pieces of equipment for fieldwork, try asking a neighbouring school or nearest university if they have any items you can borrow
Remember that local and low cost fieldwork should not replace longer trips entirely, as they can bring additional social and geographical benefits that may not be achieved by staying closer to home
Resources for local and school grounds fieldwork
Ideas for school-centred and local fieldwork
Online tools for experiential learning
A framework for local fieldwork for Key Stage Three
Immersing yourself into the acoustic environment
A few fun activities to engage your students in geographical learning
Ideas for quick and easy fieldwork in your School Grounds
This module has been designed to enable students to learn and practice a variety of fieldwork techniques in their school grounds
Various instruments that can be made for little or no cost
A selection of ideas for creating your own weather instruments in the classroom or at home