The authors provide practical, research-informed, guidelines and detailed lesson plans that improve learning of chemical, physical, biological, and Earth & space sciences. The context for learning is the myriad of exciting opportunities provided by informal science institutions such as zoos, museums, space centers and the outdoors. Many such institutions seek to educate the public and inspire budding scientists. Visits outside school help students relate science to everyday life, providing strong motivation to learn science for all abilities. Our research shows the key to making such visits effective, is when they are linked to classroom learning using a learning management system, drawing upon modern students’ fascination with digital technologies and mobile devices.