With the autumn term well underway, teachers are looking for inspiring ideas to support the learning of their pupils later in the academic year or during the following year. A residential tour away from the classroom is a great way to give students first-hand experiences and inspire memorable learning, but taking trips during the school holidays can be expensive for students. If you are able to travel during term-time it can be much more cost-effective, but it can also be a tricky process to gain approval for a term-time trip from heads and governors. One way to make it more viable is to join with other teachers and cover several subject areas during one tour. There are some destinations that are particularly suited to a cross-curricular itinerary, making it easier to link subjects and propose a trip across departments. Here are some suggestions to help you on your way:
The Loire Valley is often called the ‘Garden of France’ with its picturesque landscape and fairy-tale chateaux, and is a destination that allows students to absorb themselves in the language and culture of France. The destination offers excursions that are well suited to cross-curricular tours with French language, history, geography, art and design, and science.
Possible excursions for history could include the many chateaux such as the romantic Château de Chenonceau, the 15th century Gothic Chaumont, the impressive Château Amboise built by Charles VIII, or Azay-le Rideu which is a 16th century Renaissance castle located on the River Indre. For Geography there is the River Loire estuary, coastal towns such as Sainte-Nazaire, the city of Nantes located on the Loire, the pre-historic caves at Savonnières and the Troglodyte Village of Rochemenier where students can see an underground chapel carved out of the rock.
For art and design, science, and technology, Les Machines de l’île is an incredible project at Nantes with inspiring mechanical creations. Students can even ride in a Grand Éléphant which is a huge mechanical walking structure that takes up to 50 people. There are plenty of other creations such as the Galerie des Machines where the machinists are on hand to explain the history and workings of the structures to students.
For Science and ICT, Futuroscope near Poitiers is a futuristic, intelligent theme park with a whole host of hands-on, interactive experiences for pupils. Students can experience attractions such as Mission Hubble and join a rescue mission to keep Hubble observing deep space, or there is Futur L’Expo where students can see the latest technology such as robots, touch operated tables and 3D printers.
Add all the many opportunities students will have to practise their language skills in real-life situations such as is to local French markets, and this has the makings of a great cross-curricular learning experience for KS2 primary years 5/6 or secondary KS3 years 7/8.