These are field trips, just like excursions out of school. Adult helpers are required for many reasons. Here are a few: student safety (in some cases we’ll be working with lab equipment), equipment safety (quite a lot of our equipment is custom-built, and we’d like to keep it damage-free), task management (our field trips are so awesome, sometimes the students lose track of time), and scribing (transcribing what the students observe in their experiments).
Put out a school-wide request, maybe there are keen adult helpers from other grades who can help. Ask for help from Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Librarians, Principals, Vice Principals, Education Assistants, Student Teachers, High School Students who need Leadership credits … We’ve even had teachers bring in their relatives and close friends to help!
Pro tip: make sure that when you are putting out the request for volunteers that you emphasize that no science knowledge is required to be a helper in our field trips.
Not a lot. We bring everything needed to run the field trip. You’ll need to put name tags on the students, set up the room for the field trip, and provide the adult helpers. For some of our field trips we might need access to water or power. Have a look at your field trip’s page for more details.
Session times range from 1.25 hours up to 2.5 hours. We usually schedule one field trip session before lunch and one after lunch. The maximum enrolment is 30 students per session. If attendance on the day of the field trip is greater than 30 students, there will be a $25 per extra student surcharge, to an absolute maximum of 32 students.
The reason we named our company ‘Hands On Science’ is because we believe strongly that students learn best when they are doing, not just being shown or reading about a concept. When the groups are so large that there are too many hands and not enough tasks, then the quality of the learning experience is greatly diminished. We set the enrolment limit at 30 in order to protect the experience for the students, and so that you get the most ‘bang for your buck’.
Your field trip is considered booked when you receive your Confirmation email. This email will have your Confirmation Sheets, as well as your Information Package detailing what to expect before, during and after your field trip. By the way, when you receive your Confirmation email, make sure you open and read all the attachments; glitches can and do happen, and if any changes need to be made, it’s best to do them as soon as possible. If you haven’t received this Confirmation email within a week of submitting your online request, then the internet gnomes have eaten your request and you should get in touch with our office directly.
Either there’s a queue of requests which are in the process of being answered and yours is next, or the internet gnomes have stolen your request and have hidden it away, along with the socks from dryers all over the world. If it’s been more than a week since your request was submitted, it would be best to get in touch with our office directly.
We schedule our sessions around the lunch hour, so that we can avoid the busy traffic times of drop-off and pick-up. It can get very hard to bring our kits in to the school with all the bodies in the hallways, so we try not to do that.
First, she will be calling you to do a final confirmation of your field trip date and time. Sometimes things get lost in the school calendar and teachers forget that we are coming, or there’s a mistake or misunderstanding in the date. Aside from that, there are some details which we need to confirm closer to the field trip date: securing adult helpers, where the Facilitator can park, which room she will be setting up in, and other last-minute details. Please make arrangements to take her call. Better yet: make sure you give the best number to reach you at when you make your booking request (sometimes this can be your mobile number), and even the best times at which to reach you, so as to avoid playing phone tag.
If your school has indoor or outdoor stairs and no elevator or ramp, we are unable to deliver the program at your school. You can check for a working elevator in the school – we happily use those. You can book a main floor room for the field trip. You can arrange for us to park and unload near a door where we won’t have to navigate any stairs to get to the field trip room (for example, by the outside gym doors).
You sure can – contact our office as soon as you can in order to have the best chance of rescheduling to an available date which will be acceptable to you. We understand that these things happen, so rescheduling your field trip to a date in the same school year will never cost you anything.
First, we’d like to work with you to resolve any issues you may be having, maybe even rescheduling your session to a later date. If you absolutely need to cancel, please keep in mind that the earlier you do so is better: if notice is given more than 15 school business days from the scheduled field trip date, there is no cancellation charge. There is a $50 charge if between 15 and 6 days’ notice is given. Cancellations within 5 days of the field trip will be charged the full amount. Business days do not include general holidays or school non-instructional days.
If the desks are flat-topped, then no, tables aren’t necessary. You can move the desks into the groupings outlined in the set-up requirements for your field trip. If the desks aren’t level, then either bring in tables and chairs as required, or book another room for your session.
Keep calm. A number of things may have happened: she may be stuck in unexpected traffic and unable to reach you by phone to let you know she will be delayed. She may have called the school and left a message with someone in your office, and the message hasn’t reached you yet. She may already be in the school, setting up in the field trip room and you missed her. If none of these have happened, call the number which your Facilitator gave you when you spoke a week ago. If you lost that number, give our office a call, and together we will figure out what happened.
First: thank them for coming to help your students have a fantastic learning experience! If there’s time, offer them a coffee or tea. Next, send them down to the field trip room for instructions and a briefing by the Facilitator.
While it’s true that we do run the session, we require you to stay in the room in order to troubleshoot any personality conflicts which may arise, and because we do not know the health and safety requirements of your students. Also, you need to be in the room so you can see what your students are learning, and maybe to take pictures!
Please arrange for the break to happen before or after the session, so that the session can run uninterrupted. We will be working through recess, just the same as if we were an excursion out of the school.
Please arrange for the snack to happen before or after the session, so that the session can run uninterrupted. We will be working through recess, just the same as if we were an excursion out of the school.
In most cases, nope. When making your booking request, please let our office know of any special needs or accommodations which your students may need, so that the Facilitator can tailor the delivery of the field trip accordingly. Another great time to go over special needs your students may have is when you are talking with your Facilitator, about 1 week prior to the field trip.
We are good at being an introduction, a mid-unit reinforcer, or a wrap-up to the end of a unit. Just let your Facilitator know what stage your class is at when she calls one week prior to your session, so that she can tailor the focus accordingly.
We aim to cover most of the General and Specific Learner expectations set out in the Alberta Education Program of Studies Curriculum. Information about each field trip and the GLEs and SLEs covered is available on each field trip’s webpage, or by contacting the Hands On Science office.
Each field trip’s page has its price on it, and our list of all the prices is here. Keep in mind that if your school is out of town, there is a travel charge of about $1 per km per Facilitator, per day.
No we don’t. We will be leaving an invoice with your school’s office on the day of the field trip, and then you will have net 30 days to pay. If you have a cheque ready on the day of the session, you can give it to the Facilitator; otherwise you can mail the cheque to our office.
You’ve already started saving: there is no bussing fee for our field trips! To save more, take advantage of our Fall Discount: 10% off ALL field trips which are booked to take place before the winter break. Or you can book 2 sessions of a field trip which qualifies for the Multi-Session Discount. Or (even better!) stack the Fall and the Multi-Session discounts for up to 20% off your sessions!
Senses, Rocks & Minerals, Awesome Bridges, Wheels & Levers, Light & Shadows, Mechanisms Using Electricity, Classroom Chemistry, and Evidence & Investigation all qualify for the Multi-Session Discount, provided the following conditions are met: the field trips must take place in the same school with 2 sessions of the same field trip on the same day and in the same room with no teardown required between sessions.