URI Kids: Field Trips

Encountering Others: Field Trips


To expose students to various places of worship and to give them first-hand knowledge of what it feels like to be a sacred place.


A place or places to go, and planning through your organization.

The Lesson: 

Find a place of worship near your organization and plan a field trip there. You might consider having a formal tour, or inviting someone of the faith to speak to your group while there. You might choose a church, synagogue, mosque, monastery, convent, or anything else you have available. Prior to going, talk with students about appropriate behavior while in a sacred place (a great resource is How to Be a Perfect Stranger: A Guide to Etiquette in Other People's Religious Ceremonies edited by Arthur J. Magida).

During the visit, point out important structures as well as discuss the different events that go on during a typical service. For example, if you were in a synagogue, you could discuss what happens during a Torah reading, see the Ark where the Torah is kept, and look at the yad, or hand, which is used as a pointer on the scroll.

It is ideal to go to more than one place of worship from more than one religion since it allows students to compare experiences and consider both what is similar and different about religions and religious spaces.


Have students reflect on what they saw and learned, as well as what they felt while in a sacred place. They might do this in writing, in small groups or a large group conversation, or visually as a small art project. If you are using learning logs or journals, students may want to bring them on the trip and write some reflections right in the space.