Reporting Live from the Orange County Great Park
Every Thursday and Friday from March 7 to June 7, 2013
Cost: FREE, no fee for students to participate
Open to: First-grade classes from Irvine, Santa Ana and Tustin unified school districts.
|Transportation costs are fully reimbursed through support from Pacific Life Foundation and Southern California Gas Company.|
What is it?
Reporting Live from the Great Park is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)-focused program for first graders using “disguised learning” to build knowledge of scientific investigation, physical science, geography, earth science, technology, language and visual arts.
What will the kids do?
Children ride the Great Park Balloon and tour the Farm + Food Lab, conducting fieldwork and experiments, then articulate what they learn by recording a news report at the OCGP-TV Studio. Garden instruction is conducted by the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners.
How big is the program?
In its first year, more than 400 first graders participated in this program and in 2012 the program was expanded to 1,800 students!
Frequently Asked Questions
The Reporting Live from the Great Park field trip is based around four learning stations:
• The Great Park Balloon
A classroom high in the sky without walls where kids get a bird’s eye view of the land below and the clouds above. We use the latest in equipment including voice recorders, digital cameras, binoculars, barometers and temperature gauges to collect data that will be used in the newscast! In windy conditions, we will substitute the Great Park Carousel for the Balloon.
• The Tierra Verde Learning Center at the Great Park
A kid friendly Newsroom and Tech Center where kids create their own newscast in front of a camera. Using Mac computers to “visit” places around the world, students learn about weather and land resources.
• The Kids Rock Play Area
A place where kids run, climb and connect learning with fun through a disguised learning model, focusing on local geographical, historical, and natural features.
• The Farm + Food Lab
An outdoor learning garden filled with themed plant beds, such as the Pizza & Spaghetti Garden, the Sensory Garden, the Fruit Salad Garden and more. Students are taught about parts of the plant and get to play in worm bins and explore.
Please feel free to contact Christine Tinsley after your visit. We welcome any feedback. If you are reading this then the field trip experience has already begun! Your students will each receive a Reporting Live from the Great Park Field Guide. It is designed to be user friendly and relevant to the experience while incorporating the First Grade California Content Standards. The field trips are conducted by CA credentialed teachers or student teachers as well as University of California Corporate Extension Master Gardeners. You may be asked to participate in a follow up questionnaire and survey. We are always looking for suggestions and more effective ways to create a Great Field Trip for students and teachers.
While the Great Park Balloon is tethered at all times, the 400-foot ride may seem scary to some students. Most apprehension turns to excitement when the time comes to board the Balloon and students see their peers excited, too. Every student is encouraged to participate in the Balloon ride, and all students are encouraged to have their permission slips signed for the ride. This does not require them to ride, but leaves them the option to do so. Great Park staff will make accommodations for any student who doesn’t wish to ride the Balloon.
You and your student group will be greeted upon arrival by a Great Park docent or staff member, who will collect permission slips. Large groups will be divided into smaller activity groups and assigned a group color or name. Group organization and color assignments must be made on-site and cannot be pre-determined. Each color group will then go to a different activity station in the park, led by a docent teacher. Groups will rotate to each of the activity stations during the time of the field trip. Docents and Park staff are in constant communication through walkie-talkies and cell phones.
As this will be the first field trip for some students and parents, teachers can help prepare them in advance for the experience. With students, please discuss keeping with the group, and having eyes and ears open. Please discuss helpful chaperoning techniques and expectations with your adult volunteers, reminding them that Great Park docents will be there to guide the learning, and the parents would be most helpful in keeping the students focused and with the group.
All materials, including writing materials, will be provided on site. There is no need to bring anything. Lesson plans can be provided in advance upon request.
Teachers, adult volunteers and students should all wear nametags to aid communication during the field trip. Please come with name tags already on.
Yes, well-maintained restrooms are available throughout the Park. Be advised that some restrooms the students may use during the field trip have foot pedal-operated flushing systems that most students may not be familiar with. The novelty may be a distraction to some students, so teachers may want to discuss these types of facilities with the students before the bathroom break.
Sack lunches are the responsibility of the participating schools and will be collected and stored by the Great Park staff upon arrival. Lunches will be brought to picnic tables, and groups will have approximately thirty minutes for their break.
Each activity group of approximately 10-15 students will have an Orange County Great Park docent, who is a California Credentialed or Student Teacher, with them the entire field trip experience. There will also be trained teachers, Master Gardeners, FAA Certified Pilots and park support staff present during the event. Parents are also welcome to chaperone as space allows. We allow a maximum of four parents per classroom to accompany the students.
Thanks to the generosity of the Scotts Miracle Gro company, the OCGP is able to reimburse the cost of bus transportation. Schools are required to submit an invoice after their trip for payment.
Due to the high level of outdoor activity, field trips will not take place during inclement weather. Great Park staff will check the weather forecast the day prior to the field trip, and contact the school administrator or other designated school representative to cancel the field trip if inclement weather is assured. Unfortunately, cancelled field trips will not be rescheduled. Please also note that if the weather is windy or overcast, the Balloon ride portion of the field trip will be substituted with an alternate activity.
There is plenty of space at the Orange County Great Park! However the balloon can accommodate approximately 20-25 students with adults depending on the weather and age of students. The Tierra Verde Learning Center accommodates a maximum of thirty students and adults at one time. Classes rotate through four stations. We suggest a total group size of no more than two classrooms.
The average program lasts four to four and one half hours. The program typically starts between 9:30 and 10 AM and ends between 1:30 and 2:00 PM.