Registration open for Virginia’s largest outdoor classroom

state-fairThe State Fair of Virginia will bring Virginia’s Standards of Learning to life during its annual Educational Exposition, and field trip registration is open for preschool through high school.

Each year thousands of public school, private school and home-schooled students visit the fair during the Ed Expo. Called “Virginia’s Largest Outdoor Classroom,” the program affords an opportunity to experience the state’s agriculture, history, technology and natural resources firsthand.

Teachers who register for field trips have access to an online planning guide that identifies fair exhibits correlated to specific SOLs. For example, in the Heritage Village area, students can explore changes in American technology and lifestyles that have taken place since the beginning of the 20th century. They can witness a blacksmith making period farm tools, see corn kernels ground into cornmeal and view a representation of a Civil War encampment. The Heritage Village display correlates with a variety of history SOLs.

At the Agriculture in the Classroom display, which corresponds to specific science SOLs, students will learn that rayon shirts are made from trees and that paper money is made from cotton and linen.

A new fair attraction and Ed Expo stop is Mad Science Central Virginia, which is relevant to an interdisciplinary educational curriculum based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Mad Science will conduct 30-minute shows throughout each day and have a booth with interactive, STEM-relevant activities.

“We are really excited to expand our Ed Expo offerings beyond SOLs by incorporating STEM-based, hands-on learning,” said Stuart Sanders, State Fair educational programs coordinator. “We think students will be as excited about this program as the teachers will be.”

Field trips for preschool and elementary school students will be Sept. 23, 26 and 27; middle and high school days are Sept. 28-30; and homeschool day will be Sept. 23. Homeschool groups should register through the Home Educators Association of Virginia website at heav.org/blog/portfolio/day-at-the-state-fair.

Public and private school teachers can register on the State Fair website atStateFairVa.org/Competitions_Education/Ed_Expo_Field_Trip_Program.aspx  and reference last year’s field trip planning guide until the 2016 guide is ready Sept. 1.


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