I’ve always been a fan of school supplies. As a classroom teacher, I looked forward to August, unpacking a year’s worth of dry erase markers, sticky notes, and planners. My classroom brimmed with learning tools. Yet there is another often-overlooked classroom full of learning opportunities – the outdoors.
Taking students outside provides a full-service science lab and inspiration for art projects at the same time. Movement and large motor activities abound. Fine motor development like rock collecting and sand sifting are readily at hand.
My kids become highly motivated to learn complex academic content when they’re outside, often without realizing it. From watersheds to the rock cycle, cloud formations to erosion, what better way to learn about geoscience processes than to witness them in real life?
Life science concepts take on new meaning in the school garden or during a creek study. Magnifying glasses can bring microorganisms to life in a cup of pond water, and you may be surprised how many insects and mammals are wandering around the schoolyard.
Whether you’re teaching in the classroom or online during Covid-19, the outdoors can provide some great learning opportunities. But it does take some planning and a sense of purpose to have a meaningful outdoor experience. Especially as part of a classroom unit. So, here are three of our favorite resources for place-based, outdoor and experiential education–
The momma in this video uses the outdoors to bond with her boys and push back their fear as they approach adolescence during corona virus in Italy. Enjoy its beautiful imagery and heartfelt words. In the midst of a pandemic where everything feels turned around and upside down, we can turn to nature for solace and safety. Breathe the fresh air and find joy among the trees and rocks. Outdoors is about the safest place we can go. Take your students. Take your family. Take your friends.
Make the memories you’ll want to cherish from this exceptional time.