In order for the students to benefit fully from a pedagogical activity, the teacher should prepare the students to the activity before and have a follow-up once back to the classroom. A method which seems to have met with success is the approach: pre-activity, activity, post-activity.
The teacher first must become familiar with the selected activity (i.e. art gallery, Legislative Assembly, Science-East, etc.). Relevant information can be obtained from various Web sites.
Once the context established, the teacher creates an atmosphere of anticipation by asking the students to state what they think they will see, what they think they will discover, what is its purpose, etc. The teacher notes the answers of the students on large mobile sheets, overhead transparencies so that the class can return to these lists once the one-day visit is over.
The idea is to render the activity more relevant for the students. They will pay more attention during the activity in order to be able to verify how accurate their answers were.
It can be the visit of a museum, of a gallery, of an exhibition.
This step is the most important and should be taken seriously. It is at this stage that the students consolidate their learning.
The teacher returns to the mobile sheets completed during the pre-activity; the class compares the observations they made during the activity with their comments made during the pre-activity.
Did they see what they had anticipated?
Did they discover what they had anticipated?
What is this site used for? Were we right?
What did one see but what one had not expected?
What did one discover that we had not expected?
What did one think of discovering but was not expected?
At the time of the follow-up, the teacher can probe further by asking why it was in correct to assume that …
NOTE: During the pre-activity, the teacher could integrate concepts of mathematics such as “probability”. He could use graphs (e.g. circular) during the post-activity.