Topsy Turvy Field Trip

Work together to figure out what to take on a field trip.

Space Racers Lesson Plan

Overview: In this lesson, students learn the importance of working together with others to achieve a common goal, as they play a fun game where they make choices about what to take with them on a field trip.

Grades: Preschool and K-2

Length of Lesson: 30 – 45 minutes

Learning Goals:

After completing this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of working with others to achieve a desired goal.
  • Learn what objects work best in different situations.


Related Goals from the Space RacersTM Curriculum:

Scientific Inquiry:

Tools: Tools can be used to help us obtain more information about things.

  • Understand that the purpose of tools is to enable us to do things better, or to do some things that otherwise could not be accomplished at all.
  • Define a goal in a given situation or experiment and compare tools to determine which would be most helpful in achieving the goal.

A Team Approach: Collaborating with a team and then sharing what one has learned is often useful.

  • Communicate effectively with members of one’s own team, as well as others outside the team.



  • Topsy Turvy Field Trip Cards
  • tape
  • 3 sheets of paper cut in quarters (twelve ¼ sheets of paper) for Activity 2
  • 1 sheet of paper per student for Activity 4
  • crayons



  • Print and cut out each of the “Topsy Turvy Field Trip Cards.”
  • Place the “object cards” in one pile and the “activity cards” in another.


Lesson Activities:

Activity 1: Topsy Turvy Field Trip

  1. Divide your students into four groups. Shuffle all of the “object” cards and give 7 to each group.
  2. After each group has its cards, randomly give each group one of the “activity” cards (“camping,” “having a picnic,” “playing soccer,” or “swimming).
  3. Ask each group to meet and look at all the cards that it has. Ask the members to decide which ones would be good to have when doing their assigned “activity” and which they would like to give to another group.
  4. Once students have decided which cards they want to keep and which they want to get rid of, have them talk to members of other groups to trade one of their cards with a card from another team. For example, if someone in the “going swimming” group and has a sleeping bag and someone in the “camping group” has a bathing suit, they could switch cards.
  5. To end the activity, each team must have seven object cards for its field trip. Teams must work together to make sure that all the groups get the objects they need to go on their field trips. The activity ends when all the groups have found 7 objects to take on their field trips.
Note: Some objects, such as a backpack or a frisbee could be used in more than one setting. However, in order to end the game each team must have exactly 7 objects. So, teams need to communicate with each other and work together to make sure every team gets the cards it needs. Teams need to also be able to explain how they would use the objects they have chosen on their field trip. For example, if the soccer group ends up with floaties, they need to explain how they would use them in their soccer game.


  1. Collect all the cards. Shuffle and play the game again, giving each group 7 object cards and one activity card.
Note: There are many different ways the cards can be divided up. Here is one example:
  • Camping: backpack, flashlight, food, pajamas, pillow, sleeping bag, tent
  • Having a Picnic: blanket, bottles of water, cooler, food, frisbee, picnic basket, plates/utensils
  • Playing Soccer: cleats, nets, shin guards, soccer ball, socks, uniform, water and sports drinks
  • Swimming: flip flops, floaties, goggles, hat, sunscreen, swimsuit, towel

Activity 2: Decisions, Decisions

  1. After groups have selected the 7 cards they want to take with them on their field trip, tell them that each group needs to get rid of one of its objects. Have each group decide which object it could get rid of and still successfully complete the activity. After each group gets rid of an object, ask the students to explain why they chose that particular object. Ask them to discuss how their field trip might be different without that object.
  2. Now ask each team to get rid of another object. Ask how the activity might be different without that object. Ask if there is something else they could use to take the place of the objects taken away. For example, if they are playing soccer and got rid of the nets, maybe they could make marks in the ground or use sticks to create their own goals.
  3. Take away another object, leaving each team with just four objects. Ask each team to discuss its choices.
  4. Give all the objects back to the groups.
  5. Ask each group to think about what other objects they would like to take with them on their field trip. Give each group three ¼ sheets of paper and have each team create 3 new object cards for their field trip. Ask them to discuss their decisions for adding these new objects.
  6. Now that each group has 10 cards (their original 7 and their 3 new ones), ask them each to give you 3 cards that they can do without on their field trip. Ask them to explain their reasoning.

Activity 3: Mine, Mine, Mine

  1. View the Space RacersTM Mine, Mine, Mine episode.
  2. After watching the episode, ask your students to discuss why everyone was unhappy at the beginning of the episode. (They didn’t want to have to share their things.)
  3. Discuss what Headmaster Crane’s solution was. (Everyone was able to pick one thing that they didn’t have to share with anyone.)
  4. Discuss what the Space Racers chose. (Robin chose night vision glasses, Eagle chose grippy tires and Hawk chose a drill.)
  5. Discuss what happened to Robin, Hawk and Eagle on their field trip. (They got stuck in a cave. They decided that one person should use all three tools to help them get out. They drew straws and Robin was chosen. She used the night vision glasses, grippy tires and drill to find the rest of the group and get help.)
  6. Discuss what the Space Racers learned from this experience. (That they got a lot more done by sharing and working together than by working alone.) 
  7. Discuss how this episode ties in to the Topsy Turvy Field Trip Activity that you did. (The teams had to communicate and make decisions together about what to bring on their field trips and also had to collaborate with other teams, to make sure everyone was able to successfully go on their field trips, as well.)

Activity 4: Let’s go Skating

  1. Tell the students they are going to go on an imaginary field trip to go ice skating outdoors. (If it is not winter, have them imagine that it is a sunny, but cold winter day outside.)
  2. Ask the students to work in four groups again and tell them that each person can only bring one type of item, but each person can bring enough of that item for the whole group. For example, one person can bring all the ice skates for the group, another can bring all the hats and someone else can bring all the gloves for the group.
  3. Ask each group to brainstorm what each member of their group will bring, keeping in mind that, as a group they must bring everything their group members will need for their ice skating field trip.
  4. After each group has decided what each member will bring, ask each student to draw his/her object on a piece of paper. After everyone is done, ask the groups to present what they would bring on their ice skating field trip and to discuss the decisions they made.


  1. Lead a discussion about today’s lesson. Ask students to talk about what they learned.
  2. In the “Mine, Mine, Mine” episode, Headmaster Crane says that he thinks the Space Racers will discover that “Sharing gains you more than what you hold tight.” Discuss that statement and why it is sometimes important to share and how some things can be done easier and better and, sometimes, can also be more fun when people work together.
  3. Ask them to discuss how they had to work together to complete the activities in this lesson.

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