Virtual Field Trips: 5th-8th Grade

Take a Virtual Field Trip!

Are you looking for even more space to give your students after taking a field trip to the Adler or aren’t able to join us at the museum to explore the planets? 

Travel to our historic building on Chicago’s lakeshore through our immersive virtual environment where you can experience the scale of our universe in three dimensions, and connect with each other in ways no video chat could ever replicate. This digital experience is designed for 5th–8th graders! Your group will have the virtual space (and the attention of our educators) all to yourselves as you learn and explore together in our unique VR-style environment. We also provide extension activities for before and after the experience to help you make the most of this cosmic classroom getaway.

For K-4th grade students, the Adler is now offering guided tours of our virtual field trip space through a video call. Head on over to this page for those details.

Check Out This Sneak Peek

Here’s What Field-Trippers Are Saying About Their Experience

Digitized version of the Adler Planetarium building as seen in the Virtual Field trip world with a pull quote.

“It was so amazing that we could visit this museum, especially since we’re in California!”

“I loved watching as my students were able to interact with each other just like in a brick and mortar scenario. They have really been missing that kind of interaction.”

“I liked how we learned about the planets and go to see them in a different way. Rather then using a textbook or looking at a power point.”

Pricing

$200 per group (35 participants max including students, teachers, and staff)

BOOK A SESSION NOW

Session Schedule

Sessions will begin October 4 and will run through June 6 on the following days/times. Check calendar for most up-to-date availability.

Tuesdays: 9:30, 11:00, and 1:30

Wednesdays: 9:30, 11:00, and 1:30

Fridays: 11:00 and 1:30

*All times listed are Central Time

If a time slot is not available when you go to select during checkout, then it has already been booked. 

Registration must be booked two weeks in advance to allow for coordination.  Please refer to our refund and cancellation policy in the FAQ section should you have related questions.

About the Adler’s Virtual Field Trip Technology

The Adler’s Virtual Field Trips are held in Mozilla Hubs, a VR-style environment that is accessible through each participant’s web browser. You don’t need to download special software or acquire special equipment! You can use a desktop computer, laptop, Chromebook, tablet, or mobile devices. The experience runs best on laptop and desktop computers and in Chrome and Firefox browsers. More details here!

Safety/Security

Your group will access the experience via a private link, so you will have the virtual space all to yourselves! You and any other participating adults are asked to take the lead on group expectations and management while participating in the experience.

Adler is a Tier 1 Chicago Public School vendor

Technical Requirements

  • The Adler’s Virtual Field Trip experience is designed to work on a variety of devices, but desktop and laptop computers provide the best experience. If tablets or smartphones are used, the quality of the experience may be affected.
  • The registrant is also responsible for verifying with their organization’s IT representative that their internet connection is sufficient, both in bandwidth and in latency, to support their full group engaging in the session simultaneously. A minimum download bandwidth of 5Mbps per participant (ex- for 35 participants, 175Mbps) and a latency under 25ms are needed.
  • The registrant is responsible for verifying that all participants’ devices are able to access the experience before booking. To test, please visit hubs.mozilla.com and this reticulum.io link. In the reticulum.io link, you should be able to view a video, but there is no sound
  • Firefox and Chrome browsers are strongly preferred.
  • All registered participants should have access to an individual device to access the Virtual Field Trip.

Who Should Take a Virtual Field Trip?

Immersive Virtual Field Trips are designed and recommended for 5th–8th grade classes.

For younger students (K-4th), our educator guides your group through our Mozilla Hubs space on a video call. For more information and to book head over to this page.

Free Virtual Field Trips

The Adler Planetarium is pleased to offer free Virtual Field Trips to any school where 51 percent or more of the student population comes from low-income households. There are a limited number of free field trips available and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. One free field trip per class, availability permitting. To apply for a free Virtual Field Trip please complete this form, and one of our educators will provide you with a code to input during registration.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a virtual field trip at the Adler and how is it different from an in-person field trip?

Virtual Field Trips at the Adler are a completely new experience, designed from the ground up with remote learners in mind. You and your students will visit a 3D immersive model of the Adler Planetarium’s beautiful exterior and surrounding grounds, learning about our solar system and exploring planets like you’ve never seen them before!

How much does it cost?

Virtual Field Trip is $200 per session for classes up to 35 participants (inclusive of teachers and students) for our immersive style sessions.

What should I do to plan for the experience? Is it moderated or will I need to create my own lesson plan?

It is moderated live by an Adler educator. During the virtual field trip, teachers will be responsible for student management, but the experience will be led by Adler staff.

Pre- and post-field trip activities and a how-to guide are included.

It will be important to prepare yourself and students using the how-to guide—this is a very different experience from the video chats everyone is used to!

Do students need to be all in the same place?

No! Thanks to the magic of the internet, students can join the field trip from anywhere using a unique URL during your scheduled time period. See technology requirements below.

How long is the experience?

The immersive style session lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. If you have a time limitation, we can work with you! Let us know at vft@adlerplanetarium.org after booking.

What should I expect my students to learn during the field trip?

In the virtual environment, immersive session groups will experience the size and scale of our solar system directly—by using an avatar to  “walk” around models of the planets, moons, and other solar system objects and noticing the differences between them. Being able to explore in three dimensions also creates opportunities for students to interact with each other more like they would in a physical space—they can have small group discussions, linger on items that interest them, and make discoveries with their friends. This experience is created with NGSS space science standards for middle school in mind, especially MS-ESS1-3.

What age range or grade level is this appropriate for?

Our immersive style session is designed for 5th-8th grade students, while our video call style session is for K-4th grade students.

We look forward to creating more virtual field trip experiences for a wider range of students. If you would like to help Adler as we develop programming and resources for teachers and students, please join the Teacher Evaluator Group!

How can I schedule a Virtual Field Trip?

Click on this registration form to book a Virtual Field Trip with us!

What happens after I register?

You’ll receive an email confirming the date and time of your field trip as well as pre- and post-field trip activities and a how-to guide.

It will be important to prepare yourself and students using the how-to guide—this is a very different experience from the video chats everyone is used to!

I’m not in the Chicago area, can I still schedule a Virtual Field Trip?

Yes! While the Adler’s primary educational audience continues to be Chicago-area schools, a completely online experience means your class can attend from anywhere.

Are there accessibility options?

Because Mozilla Hubs is a new application, accessibility features are not yet available to us. Please email us at vft@adlerplanetarium.org with your specific needs so we can talk further.

What is the capacity?

For the best experience with our immersive style Virtual Field Trip sessions, we recommend a cohort of around 25-30 people, inclusive of both students and staff, with no more than 35. We’ve found that video and audio quality are significantly affected when there are between 30–35 people in the space. If your class is on the large side, we encourage you to consider booking two sessions.

What is your rescheduling and cancellation policy?

Contact us as soon as possible—no later than TWO weeks prior to your virtual field trip date—so that we can reschedule your Virtual Field Trip for another date. Cancellations made less than TWO WEEKS prior will not receive a refund.

The registrant is responsible for verifying that all participants’ devices are able to access the experience before booking. To test, please visit hubs.mozilla.com and this reticulum.io link. In the reticulum.io link, you should be able to view a video, but there is no sound.

The registrant is also responsible for verifying with their organization’s IT representative that their internet connection is sufficient, both in bandwidth and in latency, to support their full group engaging in the session simultaneously. Blocked access or insufficient internet connection do not qualify the registrant for a refund or a reschedule, should they prevent the session from occurring.

Please note: Adler’s Virtual Field Trips use Mozilla Hubs, a new, still developing, open source platform. Our team will work to adapt and troubleshoot unforeseeable technology challenges if they occur during a session to provide the best experience possible. In case of sound impacts, the Educator will continue the virtual trip via the chat function with continued student participation. Outages are uncommon but possible. If an outage prevents a session from happening, Adler will work with the registrant to reschedule.

Terms of the Teacher Acknowledgement Form also apply.

Can I schedule an in-person field trip?

For more information about our in-person field trip options, please click here.

What payment types do you accept?

At this time, we accept credit card payments only.

What other resources are available for educators like me?

We love to support educators however we can. Visit our educator hub for space resources to help supplement your classroom curriculum.

Still have questions? Contact us!

Feel free to email us at VFT@adlerplanetarium.org. We will do our best to reply to you within 3 business days.

Thanks To Our Sponsors

The Adler Planetarium is grateful to the A. Montgomery Ward Foundation for supporting Virtual Field Trips.

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