School Groups & Educational Field Trips
Discover the Wonders of The Wheel. Make your school field trips an enriching experience at ICON Park.
Take a Field Trip At The Wheel
This 20-minute experience gets riders thinking about wheels in general and introduces them to the history and construction of the original Ferris Wheel. As they ride, they’ll learn a little bit about the forces of gravity and inertia that make big wheels work, and with a little prompting will experience the difference in the concepts of mass vs. weight. Finally, they’ll hear statistics about The Wheel at ICON Park™ as well as the energy and engineering it takes to make it operate.
Learn about Math and Science:
- Apparent Weight
- Centripetal Force
- Newton’s Second and Third Law of Motion
- The Law of Conservation of Energy
Learn about History
In 1890 preparations for the 1893 World Fair in Chicago were underway. Danial Burnham was tasked with making it memorable and more impressive than the 1889 World Fair in Paris, where the famous Eiffel Tower was constructed at the fairground entrance. Burnham told his group of designers and engineers to “Make no little plans.”
George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. was one of Burnham’s designers. Ferris’ company was hired to test all the steel used to construct this special fair. While working on the project, Ferris came up with a big idea! He drew a big wheel made of steel and shared his idea with Burnham, but Burnham scoffed at it. He thought it would be too fragile and, therefore, dangerous.
Before you go on your field trip, some simple lessons in the classroom will help your students get so much more out of their experience on The Wheel at ICON Park™.
Together as a class, watch the following video as an introduction to the terms mass vs. weight: View Video
Assign the students this video to watch to help them understand how to use a balance: View Video
After watching the videos, allow your students to experiment using a balance. Provide metric weights (gm and kg) and some small objects with similar sizes but different masses to measure. After they have measured several objects, ask them:
- What do you estimate the mass of this next object to be?
- Reinforce the use of metric units to refer to an object’s mass as opposed to “x pounds of weight.”
Assign the students this interactive lesson to watch: View Video
Discuss the terms: potential, kinetic, thermal, light, sound, and electrical energy.
Ask your students to give examples of each type of energy and how one type transforms into another type
- Assign your younger students this video to watch:
- Demonstrate the following experiment for the class and discuss what is happening.
- A clear plastic food container. One like sliced pineapple in produce department will work.
- About 60 cm (24 in) of rope of twine
- A golf ball
- A ping pong ball
- Poke two small holes in the bottom of the container.
- Feed the twine through the two holes and knot it to itself.
- Insert the ping pong ball in the container.
- Secure the lid.
- Ask your students the following questions:
- What keeps the container moving in a circle? (the tension on the string and its constant acceleration) Where is the ball located inside the container? (toward the outside edge)
- What would happen if I stopped swinging the container? (It would stop moving in a circle.)
- What would happen if I let go of the string? (The container would move tangentially away from t
- Repeat the experiment using the golf ball. Are the results any different? (Since the golf ball has more mass, you must swing it faster to get it to move in a circle and for the ball to move to the outside edge of the container.)
- Have your students complete the worksheet “The First Ferris Wheel.”
- As an alternative, read the story to them, and ask them to write their answers on their own paper.
- Have your students complete the worksheet “Math on The Wheel.”
- As an alternative, have them use the “Fast Facts” sheet and create (and solve) their own word problems.
Curriculum Guide & Florida Standards
Next Generation Sunshine State Standards:
- SC.3.P.8.3 – Properties of Matter
- SC.4.P.12.1 – Motion of Objects
- SC.5.P.10.4 – Forms of Energy
- MAFS.3.MD.1.2 – Measurement and Data
- MAFS.3.OA.1.1 – Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- MAFS.4.OA.1.2 – Operations and Algebraic Thinking
- MAFS.5.NBT.2.5 – Numbers and Operations in Base Ten
- LAFS.3.RI.1.1 – Reading Standards for Informational Text
- LAFS.4.RI.1.1 – Reading Standards for Informational Text
- LAFS.5.RI.1.1 – Reading Standards for Informational Text
Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking (B.E.S.T.) Standards:
Teacher Resources & Planning
More details can be found in the Teacher’s Resource Guide below.
Planning Your Field Trip
Make Your Reservation
So we can be prepared to make your visit to The Wheel at ICON Park™ all that it can be, group reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance. You can send us inquiries at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can give our sales team a call at 407-601-7907.
Once you contact us, we will go over all the details of your visit and complete the group booking form. We will also send you a credit card authorization form for you to review, execute, and return to us. Once the order has been processed, an order confirmation number will be provided to you for your records. You will need this confirmation number the day you arrive.
Make Your Reservation
Upon approaching our parking lot, please call our sales team at 407-601-7907 so we can meet up with you. Gather your students in the walkway between the parking garage and the building and then walk along the walkway to The Wheelhouse, the building at the base of The Wheel. Once inside The Wheelhouse, the Guest Services desk will be right in front of you. Someone from our team will personally greet you near the Guest Services desk.
Please have your confirmation number available so we can easily provide you with your tickets.
Directions & Parking
ICON Park® is located at:
8375 International Drive, Orlando FL 32819.
Parking for cars is FREE in our spacious seven-story covered parking garage right on property. The garage can be accessed via International Drive or Universal Blvd.
For buses, the parking lot and student drop off area are both safely and conveniently located on the east side of The Wheelhouse. This parking lot is accessed via Universal Boulevard.
The Wheel is fully accessible to Guests with disabilities. A guest must provide their own wheelchair, and our Capsules can accommodate electric wheelchairs. For your safety, our staff will stop The Wheel for loading and unloading of a wheelchair. A service animal (a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability) may ride on The Wheel.
Service animals must be under the control of the owner at
all times and should remain on a leash or in a harness. Our staff are not allowed to take control of service animals.
Your safety is our main priority at ICON Park®. You will ride The Wheel in a freshly cleaned, air-conditioned Capsule, offering plenty of time to soak up Central Florida’s most spectacular views in a safe environment. To have the best field trip adventure possible, please abide by all safety precautions posted and given by our staff. If you have any questions during your experience, please speak to any member of our team.
Public restrooms are located inside The Wheelhouse. The trip around The Wheel takes about 20 minutes, plus the time it may take waiting in line to board. Please make sure your students have used the restroom before entering the loading platform area.
Please keep in mind that the dining tables inside The Wheelhouse are only for Wheelhouse Market customers. You will find both full service and casual dining locations around ICON Park®. Weather permitting, seating will be available on the ground of the front lawn for groups who bring their own lunch or snacks.
Get a Teacher Pass for The Wheel
Teachers in the State of Florida can receive unlimited access to ride The Wheel at anytime for a full year! No additional discounts apply.