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A Virtual Field Trip
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be someone else for a day? These days, images and videos from the around the globe are just a click away. But actually imagining what it is like to see the world through someone else’s eyes? That is another matter.

For Cayne Letizia, that was where virtual reality entered the picture. Letizia is a middle school teacher in Westchester, New York. He wanted to teach his students about the lives of refugees in South Sudan. The refugees were escaping civil war, and lived in shelters at the edge of the battle zone. So he used virtual reality headsets. With headsets on and headphones in, students were transported to the war-torn region. They saw families living in temporary shelters. They heard the roar of planes overhead. They watched as the planes dropped bags of grain from the air. This grain was the refugees’ only source of nourishment. Some students even jumped out of the way to avoid the bags that seemed to fall at their feet.

The experience left students with a larger view of the world. They did not just learn about the lives of the refugees. They also learned to empathize: to understand and share someone else’s viewpoint. Few of Letizia’s students had ever traveled outside the United States. But now, each one knew a little bit about what it felt like to be a refugee.

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