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Dallas ISD's Online STEM Field Trips Have Reach Beyond District Boundaries

Dallas ISD's STEM & Environmental Education Center hosts daily field trips online.

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Dallas ISD's STEM & Environmental Education Center in Seagoville isn't that far from Dallas, but it is worlds away from the urban setting of most of the district's schools.

"We have cows, pigs...chickens, ducks, turkeys," the center's director Mark Broughton said. "Mr. Gobbles...he's a friendly turkey. He thinks he's a person, so if there's a class out there, he'll get in line and walk with them."

Until the pandemic hit, there were daily field trips. Now, those field trips are hosted online daily for students.

"It's important because if they learn to appreciate nature, fall in love with nature, when they get older they'll be more likely to protect nature and take care of it," Broughton said.

Science teacher Harry Monroe covers a range of topics for his online field trips. Though it took some getting used to not getting instant feedback, he thinks having field trips online is worthwhile.

"Someday they will have to take care of this world that we live in," Monroe said. "I always pose the question; can you take care of something if you don't know anything about it?"

The silver lining to the pandemic cloud: more students from outside the district are getting access to the virtual field trips. Broughton said the expanded reach includes school districts in North Texas, San Antonio, Utah, Kansas, and Missouri.

Monroe said he thinks online field trips will still be a part of his lesson plan, even after in-person visits return.

"Because we are reaching out a little further and touching a few more little minds," Monroe said.

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