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Math Learning Field Trip Ideas for Homeschoolers

September 03, 2009


When it comes to math field trips, homeschooling has an advantage over public school: no permission slips! Homeschoolers can decide to take a field trip at the drop of a hat. Planning is still important, but if you have the right resources a quick trip to the park can easily be turned into a biology lesson. Some trips can be planned out well in advance and some can be sparked by a sudden weather change. Below are some fun field trip ideas that also offer math learning lessons.


Tour a landmark building that has a great view of your city, like the Empire State Building or the Space Needle. Take a good look around at other major buildings,  landmarks, and geographical features  in the area. Bring math into the experience by discussing how to estimate the height of a building, when it was built, and how many people it took to build it.

When you get back:
Compare the building you visited to Taipei 101, the tallest building in the world. You can even research some of the challenges of designing tall buildings.


One, two, three, go! Whether it’s baseball, football, ski races or bowling, sports and games offer wonderful math learning opportunities. Even if you don’t live in a major league city,  minor league or local high school and college games offer fun, accessible choices. Your kids can record scores, calculate batting averages or free throw percentages, or compare win/loss records.

When you get back:
Organize your data in an easily readable way, like a graph or a chart, and discuss what the data means. Or you can compare a player or a team’s performance in this game to their average scores in all games. Considering baseball is a game of averages, what can you derive from the day’s performance?


Of course museums are rich with learning activities. But you don’t have to live near the Goudreau Museum of Mathematics and Science in New York to get math out of your trip! The key to a successful museum field trip is in finding an exhibit that sparks your children’s interests. It’s great if the exhibit is math oriented, such as optical illusions or the drawings of M.C. Escher, but there are many ways to integrate math learning with other topics. Consider having each person in the family or group rank certain pieces or exhibits you see, then find the average rating of the group.

When you get back:
Start your own collection of small objects at home that your child can sort and arrange in different ways. Your child can even put on his own exhibit, making sure that everything in it is related to a common idea.

Factory Tour

Tour an interesting factory, whether it is Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream in Vermont or Basic Brown Bear in California. Enjoy seeing how small pieces of raw materials come together into a great final product. You can even explore math concepts by discussing the steps needed to make the product using ordinal numbers.

When you get back:
Make your own ice cream or teddy bear. And don’t forget to have your child measure the ingredients or materials that you use!


Get outside and pick your own fruit! You’ll have some fresh produce to bring back with you, and you’ll learn a little about where your food comes from. The kids will love the treat, and you can even make the experience into a math game. For younger children, have them pick ten, counting correctly, before they can eat one. Older children can estimate how much their fruit will weigh at the end.

When you get back:
Bake a yummy dish or dessert using your fresh produce, with your children helping to measure ingredients as you bake. For a long term project, buy some seeds to grow at home. Children can research facts such as average yield and growing time. At the end, see whether it was a good investment. Consider how much fruit you grew, how much it would have cost from the store, and how expensive the seeds were.

Local places to check for more ideas

  • public libraries
  • local historical society
  • parks and recreation department

Share your favorite homeschooling math field trip lessons with others

What field trips have worked for you? Lessons? Share your experiences by adding your comments. Want to write an entire post about a recent field trip? Send us a comment and we’ll contact you. We’d love to feature a few math-related homeschooling field trips from our readers’ perspectives.


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