Two ways to make any cultural visit fun and engaging for your students
Although most students love the idea of visiting a new city during a school trip, some might find the idea rather less exciting, whereas others might just dread the idea of having to listen to hour-long stories by the tour guides.
Here are two quick and simple ideas to make any visit more exciting for the students (and making your job of having to deal with unmotivated students easier!).
A fun way of getting students more involved during a trip, is to do a quiz where students are given say 10 – 15 questions that they need to find the answer to throughout the visit. Some answers they might find by reading information, other questions might be answered by the tour guide of the sites visited, while other answers they might need to actively find by asking the chaperone or others. Make sure to check answers at the very end and award a prize to the winners. Some example questions could be:
- What are the colours of the Andalucían flag?
- Which of the Bond films was partially filmed in Cádiz?
- What is the name of the famous Plaza in Sevilla that was built for the 1929 Expo? What is represented in the different tiled alcoves?
(All of the examples above are based on the quizzes run at Spark for our School Trips to Spain).
Photo scavenger hunt
Students nowadays nearly all bring digital cameras, mobile phones or other devices with built-in cameras, so this activity is very easy to organize and it lets the students use their devices in a fun yet educational way. The idea here is to divide students into groups of 3 or 4 and give them a list of 10 items they should take a photo of. These items can vary in complexity, they can be concepts instead of simple statues, and some can even be challenges in the form of acting something out or asking local people for information (in the local language). Some ideas:
- At the Plaza de España, take a photo of the statue of the famous inhabitant of the city and in the same photo, act out what he was famous for.
- Including all of your team members, take a selfie at the place where Christopher Columbus once lived.
- Ask a local to write the answer to the following question on a piece of paper, then take a photo of that person, the answer and at least one of your team members: “What does one call the inhabitants of the city?”
(All of the examples above are based on the photo scavenger hunt run at Spark School Trips to Spain for the tour of El Puerto de Santa María).
At the end, the students can either present their photos to the rest of the team, or send them to the chaperone’s mobile phone who could award points based on completion and originality of the photos.
Any activity we participate in is much more enjoyable and fun when we’re engaged, and these two examples are great ways to motivate students and make them feel excited about specific parts of the trip.
Inge Hol is the Director of Educational Programmes at Spark Languages in Southern Spain. Originally from the Netherlands and with a degree in Clinical Neuro Psychology, she decided to follow her passion and become an English teacher in Spain in 2007. After teaching for many years, she moved on to teacher training, language programme management and conference speaking until in 2010 she started Spark Languages together with her partner Douglas Haines. Spark organizes Spanish and English courses for children, teens and adults as well as school trips to various areas in Spain.