Travel Plan Project
You can use a travel plan project in the classroom to learn about budgets, maps, time management, and more.
By Chris Jackson
As teachers, we try to make school work challenging and provide real-world applications for what students are learning. Social studies curriculum provides a great opportunity to do this. Teachers cover geography, economics, and much more. Since we all know that the best way to learn is through doing, creating a travel plan can help students apply these types of skills to their everyday lives. They can explore new places as well.
Having students create a travel plan (with a clearly defined rubric) is an excellent way to spark their imaginations and get them excited about what they are learning. If students have the motivation to learn about geography, climate, or cost of living of an area, we can satisfy the state and federal mandates in a way students will enjoy.
When students begin designing their travel plans, have them start by thinking of their dream vacation. Let them determine where they would like to travel and how they want to get there. The variables that can be included can be endless. You might want students to have a budget, and plan their trip accordingly. Perhaps you would prefer to assign students different amounts of cash to spend. The possibilities are sure to ignite students in discussion and maintain interest. Imagine what your students will be open to learning if you tell them they can plan the trip using $500,000 and a Ferrari.
This is more than just a “dream assignment” filled with fun hypothetical adventures, however. Students should begin by calculating the gas mileage for their “road trips,” charting the geography as they navigate their vehicles (planes, trains, automobiles, boats, etc . . .), and account for seasonal weather conditions and changing political climates across the world. Like anything that is involved and highly interactive, teachers should plan extensively before beginning the project and correlate their rubric to align with however many days will be spent on the assignment. Necessary background information will also have to be provided before you allow students to jump right in.
The great thing about using a travel plan project in the classroom is how versatile it can be. With appropriate scaffolding, teachers can use a travel plan to address standards and curriculum in any grade level and subject. Schools that have teachers working together in a “team” setting in which English, social studies, and math teachers work closely together with the same students, could plan a group project in which students work on each subject area’s respective portions in that designated class (ie: calculating gas mileage is done in math, analyzing geographic change in social studies, creating a travel brochure for English, etc).
The possibilities are truly endless for sparking student interest in a variety of topics. Students have to make a variety of decisions based on economics. They have to figure out how much gas costs and decide which car to purchase based upon their finding. It’s not going to get much more “real world” than that. Students are able to have fun with the project as well.
Students can design posters, travel brochures, reports, models, diary entries, postcards, and so much more. The literary bent of the project can be graded based on the six traits of writing and writer’s workshop can be utilized to provide feedback and monitor student progress. Competitive elements can also be introduced and the project could turn into a game.
The benefits of adding a travel plan project into your curriculum are many. All levels of Bloom’s taxonomy are touched upon extensively, instruction is definitely differentiated, multiple intelligences are incorporated, and student engagement is high. Both students and parents alike will rave about how wonderful a successful travel plan was. The knowledge learned is something that will be remembered and useful for years to come! Here are more activities you can do to spark the interest of students to create a travel plan.
Travel Plan Lessons and Activities:
Students learn how to set up and maintain a budget.
Students create a time management plan for themselves, and critique others to get the maximum amount out of their time.
Students create a class travel album of places they have been. This could spark an interest in new places.
Students use road maps to find more clues and get to different destinations much like the TV show The Amazing Race.