Social-Emotional Learning

Black History Month for Kids: Learn with Virtual Field Trips

Kai Frazier
November 22, 2022

This Black History Month, make space for Black creativity, Black innovation, and Black art through virtual field trips. Why? Because virtual field trips are giving educators and families a way to break down barriers in the classroom and engage students and kids of all ages in learning about Black history and Black joy, while simultaneously developing 21st-century skills. These virtual field trips are an immersive way to explore Black History Month for kids.

Black History Month is an opportunity to honor and amplify the incredible contributions of Black Americans to our nation’s history. 

In this article, we’ll explore the origins of  Black History Month and share virtual field trips that both teach key moments in history and showcase the incredible work, talent, and creativity Black communities have contributed to our country’s rich culture.

Why Do We Celebrate Black History Month?

For nearly a century, the United States has recognized February as a time to celebrate and reflect on Black history. In 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Student of Negro Life and History. The organization sponsored a national Negro History Week in 1926 and was hosted the second week of February because it aligned with the birthdays of both President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

This event inspired communities and schools across the country to join these celebrations. Fifty years later, the week was expanded and became the Black History Month we know today.

Now, Black History Month is an essential part of school curricula across the country. It gives educators and students a dedicated time to lift up the voices of Black Americans, and to celebrate Black joy and the innumerable ways they have contributed to this country.

New technologies are constantly giving educators innovative ways to engage students in these stories, while simultaneously teaching 21st-century skills like collaboration and critical thinking. Virtual field trips are powerful teaching tools to engage students in exploring the tenacity and perseverance of Black Americans.

Virtual Field Trips for Black History Month

Virtual field trips give students the opportunity to explore and interact with important historical sites, exhibits, and people, while also developing key STEAM skills. Virtual and augmented reality are becoming more accessible than ever. Kids love exploring these cutting-edge technologies, and their engagement results in real learning that can put the excitement back into digital learning.

Here at Kai XR, we’re using this technology to break down educational barriers by making interactive, meaningful learning available at the fingertips of every student. We offer over 100 virtual reality field trips for students to explore that are accessible from any device. 

Wondering how to celebrate Black History Month with kids in a way that is both fun and meaningful? Kai XR’s virtual field trips can bring Black History Month into your classroom, empowering your kids to learn in an exciting, interactive learning environment.

Teaching Social Studies Through Field Trips

Field trips aren’t just an exciting event. They are also valuable educational tools that help students practice critical thinking while broadening their interests and experiences. Field trips impact and improve student learning in many ways, like:

  • Showing students real-world applications of what they learn
  • Increasing their empathy and tolerance
  • Appealing to multiple learning styles
  • Giving students a chance to speak with experts in a field that interests them
  • Helping them learn more about their community
  • Improving students’ ability to think about different perspectives

A study fron the U.S. Travel Association shows that going on field trips can help increase college graduation rates. “The study found that, regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, youth who take educational trips have better grades (59 percent), higher graduation rates from high school (95%) and college (63%), and greater income (12% higher annually). In fact, 89% said educational trips had a positive, lasting impact on their education and career because the trips made them more engaged, intellectually curious and interested in and out of school.” These memorable experiences have lifelong impacts on students.

Field trips are a powerful learning and teaching tool that can be applied to any subject. Many field trips focus on science content, like trips to a zoo or planetarium. However, field trips that focus on history and social studies content have a unique opportunity to bring these subject areas to life. 

Visiting a location like a monument or museum is an impactful Black History Month activity for school. Seeing historic sites, artifacts, and art in person can help students connect with the people and places behind a moment in history. This makes the past come alive for students, solidifying the real-world impact that events from long ago carry even today.

Academic Benefits

  • Increased recall of information
  • Higher test scores
  • Holistic learning

Social-emotional Benefits

  • Increased empathy and tolerance
  • Practice perspective-taking
  • Relationship skills
  • Social and self-awareness

Cultural Benefits

  • Experience cultural events and places
  • Develop new interests
  • Appreciate and enjoy new experiences

Cross-cultural awareness

  • Critical Thinking Benefits
  • Practice evaluative thinking
  • Improved problem-solving
  • Increased curiosity, creativity, and independence

However, field trips aren’t always equitably accessible. They can often impose a financial burden on schools and families, and traveling to field trip sites isn’t always possible. Many schools and families simply don’t have access to many valuable historical sites in their area. 

At Kai XR, we are breaking barriers by creating inclusive, diverse, and safe learning environments by bringing field trips into classrooms, virtually.

Our virtual field trips put learning at students’ fingertips, enabling them to access immersive experiences from any device. In addition, our viewing guides, included with all our virtual field trips, help educators seamlessly integrate these field trips into their existing lesson and unit plans.

Virtual Field Trips to Historical Sites

A field trip to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial or to see the official Obama portraits are a great way to explore places that have impacted American history. However, not every student has an important historical site, museum, or monument in their community. From Washington, DC to New Orleans, Louisiana, Kai XR’s virtual field trips allow educators and students to explore Black History by accessing historical locations around the world. 

Using virtual reality in the classroom gives educators new ways to help their students thrive. This interactive, hands-on technology can easily support multiple learning styles and educational needs. As virtual reality becomes more widely accessible by consumers, educators have found creative ways to integrate this technology into their classrooms.

Kai XR’s virtual field trips use virtual reality, or VR, and 360° technologies. These innovations can blend what is digital and real to create fascinating learning opportunities.

Most virtual reality field trips only work on VR headsets. 

However, Kai XR’s virtual field trips break barriers as they are accessible from any device, including:

  1. Smartphones
  2. Desktop computers
  3. Tablets
  4. Laptop computers
  5. Virtual reality headsets such as an Oculus Quest 2

Kai XR’s Exploration Mode leverages the same cutting-edge 360° technology that powers our virtual reality field trips to turn a tablet, smartphone, or other hand-held device into an interactive learning experience without the use of a VR headset. We strive to be the first entry point into the VR classroom and immersive learning for children/kids/students. We provide a safe, age-appropriate environment for learning that evolves with students as they grow.

Kai XR’s Virtual Field Trips

  • Kai XR’s 100+ virtual field trips are accessible from any device, making them practical and cost-effective.
  • Integrate virtual field trips into a day’s lesson plans to support student learning and foster connections.
  • Virtual field trips enable students to explore interesting locations around the world without leaving the classroom.

In-Person Field Trips

  • Many field trips are prohibitively expensive, with a high cost per student that some families struggle to pay.
  • Traditional field trips often take an entire school day, leaving little time to connect the field trip back to meaningful classroom learning.
  • In-person field trips are limited to sites that a class can drive to, visit, and return from within a school day.

The Virtual Reality Classroom

Classrooms are busy places. Between lesson planning, family conferences, grading, professional development, and, of course, teaching 20-30 or more students at a time, educators barely have time to eat lunch. We strive to make teaching easier by creating turnkey resources for the 21st-century classroom.

Our resources are created with educators and families in mind, enabling you to save time while ensuring your students are engaged in learning. Kai XR’s virtual field trips can help with many different parts of planning and teaching, like:

  1. Helping your students develop necessary 21st-century skills
  2. Fostering social-emotional development in your students
  3. Supporting the development of cultural competence in your students
  4. Appealing to multiple learning styles while meeting diverse learning needs
  5. Improving students’ vocabulary, therein supporting second-language acquisition

The immersive nature of virtual reality helps students make meaningful connections between the content and the world outside the classroom. These technologies help students comprehend information more effectively than many traditional methods. In turn, this leads to better recall of information, as students remember what they learned in more depth.

Many priorities for students have changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families and educators consider problem-solving and creativity to be more important than ever before, and virtual reality is a front-running technology and resource for achieving these goals. 60% of parents in the United States anticipate the widespread use of virtual reality as a learning and teaching tool within the next five years.

The COVID-19 pandemic had clear impacts on student learning, underscoring the need for differentiation and accommodations in the classroom. Educational technology solutions like virtual reality experiences can help educators respond to the needs of a classroom full of students simultaneously, without overwhelming them with the unrealistic demand to plan multiple differentiated lessons.

With virtual reality and augmented reality, your students and kids can move and explore the content at their own pace. The audio-visual experience provided supports multiple learning styles at the same time, and varies in complexity to support different levels of mastery. 

Additionally, each field trip is paired with a viewing guide that helps teachers scaffold discussions and support their students in developing strong critical thinking skills.

The 100+ field trips we offer also allow you to differentiate by student interests, heightening their engagement. With “Zoom fatigue” and pandemic learning loss challenging many students, the chance to explore content tailored to their interests can be a welcome change.

Screen with a selection of virtual field trips from KaiXR.com
Kai XR Virtual Field Trips

Each Kai XR virtual field trip is accompanied with its own viewing guide created by educators for students, ensuring the content our platform offers is effective, pedagogically-sound, and developmentally-appropriate. These resources can take the stress out of lesson planning. 

Our complete learning resources don’t just help students become more technologically competent and confident. They also give educators more time back in their day by serving as complete, plug-and-play resources full of educator-designed and student-approved content.

Black History Month for Kids: Resources and Ideas for Your Curriculum 

Black History Month is an important time to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans to our nation’s history. At Kai XR, we’ve created virtual field trips and resources to help pay tribute to important Black figures and elevate their voices authentically. These resources can help you teach Black history inclusively, whether it’s during Black History Month this February, or any day of the year.

Black history is American history, and we can encourage our students to celebrate the achievements of Black Americans 365 days a year.

Ruby Bridges Virtual Field Trip

In 1960, Ruby Bridges became the first Black child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis. She was six years old then, and had to be escorted by U.S. Marshals to and from school due to threats. Her family’s perseverance and bravery changed American history.

Young Ruby Bridges in 1960 accompanied by U.S. Marshals to attend an all-white school
Ruby Bridges accompanied by U.S. Marshals to attend an all-white school in 1960 | Source: National Museum of African American History and Culture

Kai XR’s Ruby Bridges virtual reality experience will help students understand the impact that segregation and racism had on every part of our society. Get started with Kai XR by learning more about how Ruby inspired lasting changes to schools in the United States.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Virtual Field Trip

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. celebrates and honors one of the leaders of our nation’s civil rights movement. He was the first African American to be memorialized on the National Mall. Visiting the memorial through Kai XR’s virtual field trip is the perfect Black History Month activity for students of all ages.

Help your students learn about Dr. King’s contributions to our nation by following up a literary analysis of his “I Have a Dream Speech” with a virtual visit to the memorial in Washington, DC. Analyzing both the speech and memorial for common themes will be an inspirational way for your students to study Black History Month.

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Virtual Field Trip

Until 1946, Black baseball players were segregated into their own league. Some of the most talented baseball players of the twentieth century were in this league. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum set a lasting example of the importance of persevering in pursuit of our dreams.

Your students will be able to personally engage with the examples of tenacity set by these players. Your students can use their learnings from the virtual field trip to write biographies about a player of their choice, exploring how they contributed to the civil rights movement.

“The Negro leagues had some of the best talent in the game of baseball” Quote from Bob Kendrick, President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Part of the Kai XR Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Virtual Fieldtrip.

The Official Obama Portraits Virtual Field Trip

In 2008, Barack Obama made history when he was elected the first Black president of the United States. A breathtaking gallery of the Obama family’s official portraits was displayed in Washington, DC after his second term in 2018.

Kai XR’s virtual field trip takes you to the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery “America’s Presidents” exhibition featuring both President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The portrait artists, Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, made history with these works of art. Both portraits mark the first time two African-American artists were commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery.

Want to learn more? Explore futuristic Black history with us during Black History Month and year-around.

A Holistic Approach to Teaching Black History Year-Around

Kai XR’s virtual field trips can be integrated into larger lesson plans and units to deepen learning. To incorporate virtual field trips into your lesson plans this Black History Month:

  1. Pair virtual field trips with book studies of the biographies of influential civil rights leaders.
  2. Use virtual field trips to provoke student curiosity when beginning a unit.
  3. Have students generate questions from their observations during virtual field trips to research independently.

Virtual field trips can play a unique role in the classroom. They can allow educators and families to utilize field trips in more academically rigorous ways to foster curiosity and inquiry-based learning.

Create Meaningful Learning Experiences for Kids This Black History Month

Kai XR’s virtual field trips will deepen your student’s learning and enable them to explore meaningful school projects for Black History Month. These immersive learning experiences can:

  • Help students connect to important figures in Black history
  • Improve student critical thinking and recall about the civil rights movement
  • Allow students to develop 21st-century skills, including technological competence
  • Make field trips to historical sites around the country accessible to all students

Ready to get started? Have questions? Email us at Explore@kaixr.com We’re happy to help! Getting started today by signing up for Kai XR. Empower your students to break barriers in the classroom and beyond this Black History Month with Kai XR.

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In memory of my sunshine, Ky(ra) G. Frazier. Love you to the moon and back.