field trip chaperone responsibilities

The National Center for Atmospheric Research's field trip program would not be possible without the assistance of chaperones who accompany visiting groups.  Along with teachers and event leaders, chaperones help to ensure that the visit to NCAR is a resounding success. We appreciate each chaperone's support in carefully preparing for and responsibly supervising group members during the field trip.

Before the visit

  • Find out about us.  Explore the UCAR and NCAR Website. Watch the video, Connections so that you can answer basic questions from students about the organization.  If possible, visit us on your own in advance of the field trip. 
  • Download a map and review the driving directions from your point of departure to the NCAR Mesa Lab located at 1850 Table Mesa Drive in Boulder. Be sure to record the NCAR phone number in your cell phone or on a note pad.
  • Although not prohibited by NCAR, we highly recommend that chaperones avoid bringing their student's siblings on the field trip. Your undivided attention to the students in your care is very important to the field trip's success. Please check with the teacher or event leader who will clarify the policy to be followed.
  • Please discuss the following questions with the teacher or event leader as you plan for the field trip:
    • Will you drive students or will you travel by bus?
    • If driving, what car insurance is required by the school or school district?
    • Are driving directions and parking information available?
    • How many students will be in your group? Do any of them have special needs?
    • What is the scheduled length and itinerary for the field trip?
    • Should I pack a lunch or should I expect to buy my lunch in NCAR's cafeteria?
    • Will everyone be given a nametag?
    • What is the date and time of departure for the field trip?
    • Where should I meet the group prior to departure for the field trip?
    • Will the group be hiking during the field trip?  If so, are students and chaperones aware of appropriate attire, and the need for items such as sunscreen, water bottles, or other needs?
    • If a student misbehaves or is disrespectful of fellow students, NCAR staff, chaperones, or the physical facility during the field trip, what is the discipline policy?
    • How should we contact each other if we get separated on the way to NCAR or encounter an emergency?

Preparations on the day of your visit

  • students with chaperonePack a few things that may prove invaluable, such as tissues; a small first-aide kit, sunscreen, and wipes; an umbrella; a camera or video camera; a watch; water; and a pen and small pad of paper.
  • Other items to bring along include a cell phone and phone numbers of the teacher/event leader and to NCAR's operator; directions to NCAR's Mesa Lab; a list of students in your group; any otherl information that the teacher/event leader has provided to chaperones; money to purchase a lunch at NCAR or a sack lunch if needed.
  • If you are driving and transporting students, please go directly from the location of origin to NCAR and vice versa to avoid being late in either direction and unnecessarily worrying others.

During the Field Trip

Upon arriving at NCAR, tell students to leave back backs in the vehicle(s) and bring their lunches inside (if one was planned). Walk as a group to the building’s main entrance. It is not safe for students to walk on the high walls around the main entrance!

Typically a field trip to NCAR will last anywhere from two to four hours and include three to five distinct events including: a tour of the facility and supercomputers, a Science Learning Lab experience pre-arranged by your group leader, time in the exhibits, and an optional walk on the weather trail or lunch.

Helpful tips for group management:

  • Get to know the names and personalities of the students in your care.  Make sure that they also know your name.
  • Establish a positive rapport with your students but ensure that they know you will enforce the behavioral expectations reviewed by the teacher/event leader and also the NCAR educators.
  • Stay with your assigned students at all times.  Make sure that they know they are not to leave you.
  • Model respectful and inquisitive behavior. Avoide becoming engaged in distracting side discussions with other chaperones.
  • Encourage students' to question, investigate, and talk about what they see and experience with each other, you, and Visitor Center staff.
  • When outside, encourage respect for nature and foster observational skills if you walk on the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail.
  • Instruct all your students to go immediately to the NCAR Front Desk if lost or separated from the group. The front desk staff will ensure that the student is escorted back to his/her group promptly.
  • Middle school or younger students must be escorted to the restrooms. Coordinate with another chaperone so that both boys and girls have escorts.
  • Please turn off or mute your cell phone as a courtesy to others. If you must take a call, please step outside of the classroom or away from the tour group. 
  • Students are not allowed to use the cafeteria to buy drinks or lunch unless this has been previously arranged. If any students forgot their lunch, please notify the teacher and Visitor Program Staff so that food can be arranged.
  • Chaperones may use the cafeteria as long as another adult supervises their students while they do so.
  • If staying for lunch, please help students use NCAR's recycling, composting, and trash bins.  Please ask for assistance from Visitor Program or Cafeteria staff if necessary.

Student Expectations

 The following expectations will be reviewed with students upon arrival. They are listed here for your advance review:

  • Enter the building quietly and sit on the entrance rug while your teacher or event leader signs in with NCAR's receptionist.
  • Because NCAR is a place of business where scientists are working, please use inside voices at all times both inside and outside of the facility.
  • Always walk while inside the facility. 
  • Stay with your chaperone and group throughout the visit.
  • If separated from your group, go to the NCAR Front Desk. The staff will promptly escort you back to your group.
  • Questions and questioning are highly encouraged throughout the field trip, as is active exploration of exhibits and the Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail.
  • Most important of all, have fun!