America’s Field Trip

The Contest

What Does
America Mean
to You?

In 2026, the United States will mark our Semiquincentennial: the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Today’s young people are the leaders, innovators, and thinkers who will shape the next 250 years — and it’s important their voices are heard as we commemorate this historic milestone.

America’s Field Trip is a new contest that invites students across the country in grades 3–12 to be part of America’s 250th anniversary by sharing their perspectives on what America means to them — and earning the opportunity to participate in unforgettable field trip experiences at some of the nation’s most iconic historic and cultural landmarks.

Students may submit artwork, videos, or essays in response to the contest’s prompt: “What does America mean to you?”

Submit Now

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest ends 11:59 p.m. ET on 05/17/24. Open to U.S. students (3rd – 12th grade); student’s parent/legal guardian or teacher with parental permission must submit entry on student’s behalf (unless student is age of majority). Submission includes grant of license rights to entry’s content. First place winning students must travel with parent/legal guardian on designated dates. See Official Rules for full details including how to enter, eligibility requirements, prize description/restrictions and judging procedure. Void where prohibited.

The Field Trips

Extraordinary Visits to Iconic National Landmarks

Twenty-five first-place awardees from each grade level category will receive free travel and lodging for a 3-day, 2-night trip to a select historical or cultural site where they will experience one of the following:

  • Tour of the Statue of Liberty in New York
  • Tour and hike at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Montana
  • Weekend at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
  • Unique tours at the National Archives or the Library of Congress in Washington, DC
  • Special tours at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, National Museum of African American History and Culture, or the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC
  • Explore America’s iconic financial capital, New York City, with private tours of Federal Reserve Bank of New York Museum and Learning Center and The Bank of New York Mellon, the country’s oldest bank
  • Experience National Parks of Boston with a special visit to the USS Constitution and a sunset cruise to Spectacle Island
  • Candlelight tour at Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Costumed roleplaying experience at American Village in Alabama

Second-place awardees will receive a $500 cash award. The teacher associated with the top scoring student submissions in each grade level category will receive a $1,000 cash award.

See full list of field trips

Submission Guidelines

  • Elementary School (3rd to 5th Grade): Students may submit artwork, including physical or digital artwork through a high-res photo or a short essay (up to 100 words).
  • Middle School (6th to 8th Grade): Students may submit artwork or a video (up to two minutes).
  • High School (9th to 12th Grade): Students may submit an essay (up to 1,000 words) or a video (up to two minutes).

Judging Criteria

A diverse panel of judges consisting of current and former teachers will consider the submissions based on the following weighted criteria:

  • CLARITY OF IDEA [25%]: How well does the Entrant use both their personal and academic experiences to clearly address the Question? Does the Entry effectively convey ideas, emotion, or a story visually or with words by acknowledging the past or celebrating America’s achievements and possibilities for the future? Does the response offer fresh insight and innovative thinking?
  • STUDENT VOICE [50%]: Is there passion in the Entry or a point-of-view that showcases a unique perspective on the diverse range of different experiences that make America unique in an original/authentic way?
  • PRESENTATION [25%]: What makes the submission content more compelling, fresh, or interesting than other Entrants’ content in their grade level category?

Want to stand out? Create something that feels special to you and has a personal touch. And remember, you don’t have to focus on our country’s past — you can talk about America’s future too. Finally, be creative and think outside the box!

Resources for Teachers

Teachers and school administrators will play an important role in engaging students and school communities in this contest and commemorating America’s 250th anniversary.

Students participating in the America’s Field Trip contest will be challenged to think critically about the nation’s journey to becoming a more perfect union, reflecting on the pivotal events and historical figures that have shaped the country.

In partnership with Discovery Education, America250 has developed standards-aligned lesson plans to assist educators in bringing the America’s Field Trip contest to their classrooms. Educator resources can be downloaded here.

In partnership with

Funding provided by The Bank of New York Mellon Foundation


What is America250?

America250 is a nonpartisan initiative working to engage every American in commemorating and celebrating the 250th anniversary of our country. It is spearheaded by the congressionally-appointed U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission and its nonprofit supporting organization,, Inc.

How can I bring America’s Field Trip into my classroom?

America250 partnered with Discovery Education, the worldwide edtech leader, to develop custom educational programming that helps students deepen their understanding of America’s 250th anniversary and encourages participation in the America’s Field Trip contest with ready-to-use resources and activities for teachers.

What should I submit?

Submission requirements differ by age group.

Elementary School (3rd to 5th Grade): Students are asked to submit artwork in response to the prompt or a short essay (up to 100 words). Artwork can include physical artwork like sculptures, painting, photography, etc. submitted through a high-res photo or a digital drawing.

Middle School (6th to 8th Grade): Students are asked to submit artwork or a video (up to two minutes).

High School (9th to 12th Grade): Students are asked to submit a written essay (up to 1,000 words) or a video (up to two minutes).

How will field trips be selected, and who will be chaperoning the trips?

Trips will be organized by America250 and chaperoned by the  recipient’s parent or legal guardian along with other field trip recipients. First-place awardees will get to express their preference for trips, and final locations will be determined based on age group, availability, and recipient preference.

Can students bring their families on their Field Trips?

Students are required to have one chaperone, which must be a parent or legal guardian.

Will America’s Field Trip programming continue after 2024?

Yes, this year is a pilot program that America250 hopes to grow and expand, including with more field trips and award recipients in 2025 and 2026.

Have more questions? See the FAQs. Read the official contest rules here.


Ready to Share What America Means to You?

Once you finish responding to the prompt, you must have a teacher, parent, or legal guardian upload your submission for consideration.

Submit Now

Field Trip Hosts