The Education Department publishes several teacher manuals and a student workbook to support teachers participating in our education programs. Though written to be used in conjunction with the activities at SERC, the manuals and workbook are a source of information and activities related to Chesapeake Bay ecology and environmental research that may be of interest to other teacher. All teacher manuals are free for teachers who have registered for a SERC education program.
To help you organize a field trip that is a great experience for the students, the parents or other chaperons, and for yourself, we've provided the step-by-step information for planning your field trip to SERC.
>Choose a program
Choose a program from our list of educational programs or contact the education department if you have specific needs or interests and would like to discuss a more personalized trip to SERC.
>Get more information and register
Contact one of our Education Specialists to discuss program specifics, check what dates will be available for your school, and schedule a visit. You can also use the request for registration form to send us your information. Our staff will then get in touch with you to discuss dates and schedule the trip.
>Get ready before you go
Depending on the program you have chosen, there are different ways to prepare. Check the information about your program for details. The following is a summary:
>Attend a teacher workshop at SERC to learn about the programs' equipment and procedures and train the parents or chaperons that will help with the activities. Estuary Chesapeake and Exploring Nature workshops are required for teachers on their first field trip to SERC and highly recommended for anyone else.
>Check the program website to find if any pre-trip activities or resources such as teacher manuals and student workbooks are available. Other things you will need to think about before you leave:
>Arrange for transportation to and from SERC. You can find directions here. Please note the sharp left turn to the education area after entering through the gate.
>Get parental approval for the field trip. The Smithsonian assumes that group leaders have received permission from each child's parents for his or her participation in the field trip activity.
>Plan for lunch, if you are spending a half day or more at SERC. You are welcome to use the picnic tables outside the education department. We also have a water fountain and a soda machine on site.
>Dress for the weather
Best is to wear old clothes and shoes that can get wet. Long sleeves and long pants are a good idea even in the summer as they protect from the sun, poison ivy, and ticks that may carry Lyme's disease. For Estuary Chesapeake, students should also bring a change of clothes and dry shoes. And don't forget hats, sunscreen and raincoats.
>Discuss your experiences after the field trip
The key a fulfilling, memorable, and effective field trip is the post trip activities. Check the specific program page for individualized materials to facilitate post trip learning.
Please contact the education department and give us your feedback. If you participated in the Estuary Chesapeake field trip, please take 5-10 minutes to fill out our online evaluation. Thanks!
Most of the education programs at SERC require a small fee per student. The money is used to support and improve the education activities we offer. Some organizations and foundations offer grants for schools to participate in environmental education programs like ours and we encourage you to apply for these grants to cover all or part of your expenses.
>Chesapeake Bay Trust
This organization provides grants to enable Maryland schools to participate in environmental education programs. Note: These grants are only available for schools in Maryland.