Third Grade Field Trip

A third-grade trip to the Outdoor Lab

Simple Machines

Third graders are typically led on an interactive, hands-on hike where they get to use simple machines and explore nature along the way.  The simple machines hike reinforces their understanding of how the six simple machines below make work easier and safer:

  1.  Inclined plane
  2. Lever
  3. Pulley
  4. Screw
  5. Wedge
  6. Wheel & axle


For example, students might use three sets of block and tackles (paired pulleys) to lift an adult (the load). They compare two, four, and six pulleys to discover that as pulleys are added, it takes less force (fewer third graders) to lift the load, but more rope.  Or they might attempt to lift an adult with a large lever. They discover that the closer the fulcrum is to the load (adult), the less force it takes to lift the load.

Animal Lab

The third graders also typically visit the Animal Lab to explore our collection of captive native Virginia animals, learning about:

  • Habitats (where they live)
  • Omnivores, carnivores, and herbivores (what they eat)
  • Adaptations (how they protect themselves from predators and survive in their habitats)
  • Inclined Plane
    Inclined Plane
  • Inclined Plane
    Inclined Plane
  • Lever
  • Pulley
  • Wheels & Axles
    Wheels & Axles
  • Animal Lab Exploration
    Animal Lab Exploration
  • snake lab
    snake lab
  • Snakes @ Animal Lab
    Snakes @ Animal Lab
  • Holding Snake
    Holding Snake