Grades 5-6
Internet Field Trip Guide

What are Internet Field Trips?
Houghton Mifflin Science DiscoveryWorks Internet Field Trips use carefully screened Internet sites that will provide your students with additional background on the science topics they are learning about in the Unit Resources and Activities. The linked sites are colorful, exciting, and many are interactive. Some will take your students on a "field trip" to places they have never visited before.

When should I use an Internet Field Trip?
You can use an Internet Field Trip to introduce a Resource or as a follow-up to a Resource or an Activity.

How should I prepare for the use of the Internet Field Trip?
Houghton Mifflin has screened every Internet site listed for the Internet Field Trips. However, sites may change after the screening process. Therefore, you'll want to preview the sites yourself before your class views them. Print out a Trip Log and then make copies for each student. Be sure to closely monitor and supervise students whenever they are using the Internet.

How should I help my students use the Internet Field Trip Web sites?
Encourage your students to explore the Internet sites. Have them click on relevant headings, menu items, clickable graphics, and links that are related to the science content they are studying.

Do I need any special plug-ins for the Internet Field Trips?
Whenever possible, Houghton Mifflin has indicated whether special plug-ins are needed for a particular Web site. Before you take your class on an Internet Field Trip, you'll want to download some of the more common plug-ins, such as QuickTime, SoundMachine, RealPlayer, Acrobat Reader, Shockwave, Crescendo, and HyperStudio Player.


How should I use the Trip Logs?
The features of the Trip Log are broad enough and open-ended enough so that every student can benefit from them. Depending on their own prior knowledge and range of experiences, students will explore the material at various levels.


Since students' prior knowledge of science topics varies, and since their navigation through the Internet sites will differ, what they learn may also differ. You may wish to have students share their Trip Logs. You can compile a class list of information gleaned online or develop a concept map showing how ideas from the site are related.

You may wish to have students define words in context and later find definitions in dictionaries -- either online or offline. You might compile a class list of new words from each Internet site visited.

Depending on the number and kinds of graphics on each linked Internet site, students' choice of what to draw will vary. You may wish to evaluate students on the accuracy of the drawing and how pertinent it is to the topic under investigation.

Consider compiling a class list of questions that students can explore further by using online research, consulting online content experts, finding other references, and trying direct hands-on investigation.

Students -- and teachers -- should look at all Internet sites critically. Here are some factors students may wish to keep in mind:

  1. Is the site prepared by a reliable source, such as a governmental agency or university department?
  2. Is the information presented in a clear and easily understandable manner?
  3. Are there typographical and factual errors? Typographical and factual errors may indicate that the site was not carefully researched and assembled.
  4. Is it easy to navigate through the site?
  5. Are there links that lead to other interesting and informative sites?
  6. Are the photographs and drawings clear and easy to understand? Do they help in the understanding of the written content?
  7. Is the downloading time reasonable?
  8. Are the name and e-mail address of the webmaster, that is, person(s) who wrote the site, listed? This information can be used to communicate further with the webmaster.
  9. Refer to the American Library Association's Selection Criteria:
    700+ Great Sites--Selection Criteria: How to tell if you're looking at a great web site.

Many of the Web sites your students visit on their Internet Field Trips will stimulate ideas for projects and experiments.

Students may wish to investigate a topic further, either online or offline. They may want to do such things as construct a model, design a poster, print a brochure, compare and contrast scientific theories, or publish their findings online. You may wish to compile a class list of project ideas and then have students brainstorm ways to implement their projects.

You may also want to explore the Houghton Mifflin Science DiscoveryWorks Unit Projects, which are described in detail by grade level on this site.

An Internet Field Trip may stimulate your students to pose a question that they would like to investigate via a hands-on experiment. After compiling a class list of students' questions, you may wish to use the questions as an opportunity to explore the Scientific Method, or How a Scientist Thinks. You can guide students through the steps of experimental design and procedure:

  1. Make Observations.
  2. Ask a Question.
  3. Make a Hypothesis.
  4. Plan and Do a Test.
  5. Record and Analyze.
  6. Draw Conclusions.
  7. Ask a New Question.



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