Learning in the Garden–Lessons & More

Sara LockieOutdoor EducationLeave a Comment

How often do you think of plants? You might have house plants, maybe a garden. You most certainly eat some plants, if only potatoes! (Chips? Fries anyone?) But maybe a school garden is a new concept for you. Of course, school gardens are beautiful. And kids do love to eat things they’ve grown. But school gardens also provide unique laboratories … Read

Water All Around Us–Lessons & More!

Sara LockieOutdoor EducationLeave a Comment

Kids fishing

Although water is all around us, this vital resource needs protection. Teach your students about water, and how they can help conserve it with the lessons in the Next Step Water Unit. Hands-on learning through ready-to-go activities that are content-rich AND fun! Begin by going on a water scavenger hunt. Play a game to simulate the water cycle. Create an … Read

We Need Pollinators–Lessons & More!

Sara LockieOutdoor EducationLeave a Comment

Butterfly on a flower

The Pollinator Lesson Pack includes six hands-on lessons connected to the Iowa Core for Kindergarten-5th grade. The Next Step Adventure Education Team partnered with Story County Conservation to develop these engaging lessons. Use them to increase your students’ awareness of pollinators. Each lesson is linked with a specific grade level, but the activities can be adapted to all ages, and are … Read

Launching #99Parks!

Sara LockieOutdoor Education1 Comment

Shelly & Sara

What a fun day at Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center for the launch of Travel Iowa’s #99Parks! Shelly Johnson and I had a great time at the event, and even more fun helping to develop the activities, materials and backpacks for the Challenge. The Iowa Department of Tourism is challenging Iowa families to visit one park in each of Iowa’s 99 counties … Read

Chalk Art

Sara LockieArt for Life, Family adventures, Mindfulness & Movement1 Comment

What do the Northern Lights, mountain landscapes, STEM, and chalk art all have in common? They all showed up at our activity at the Walnut Hills STEAM Festival in Waukee last week! Not just Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but we celebrated Art, too, at this festival. We took over the art room and had full tables of artists of all ages … Read

Bright Spots

Sara LockieMindfulness & MovementLeave a Comment

Confession – I really like to have a plan, and having extra time at the end of a class can send me into a tail spin. But luckily, things work out even when the plan needs some add-ons. I’m volunteering with a group of energetic third and fourth graders, and end up with about 7 minutes extra after we finish … Read

FUN!!! With Kids & Worms

Shelly JohnsonFamily adventures, Outdoor Education, Team BuildingLeave a Comment

Brody Middle School students

How do you get middle school kids to think about garbage and composting? Well, you simply bring some wiggly worms to school. Along with the live ones, it doesn’t hurt to provide some gummy ones as well. Last Wednesday I did just that–I took worms of both types, along with some other stuff to College, Career, and Community (C3) Day at … Read

Last Stop on Market Street

Sara LockieSocial JusticeLeave a Comment

Last Stop on Market Street

Last week when I had a conversations about race with white suburban kids 5 to 10 years old, the response surprised, challenged, and inspired me. The lesson was simple–read and discuss Matt de la Peña’s award winning picture book Last Stop on Market Street. I opened to the first page and asked how the neighborhood in the book looked different from the … Read

Teacher Perspectives|Settle Down

Sara LockieMindfulness & Movement1 Comment

Kids at Recess

Taylor Johnson noticed a challenging time for her fourth grade students was after lunch and recess.  Students were coming in from the playground still in conversations, and she struggled to help them focus on learning again. “Breathing exercises get them back on track,” she says. She decided to try teaching her students controlled breathing techniques and now uses a breathing … Read

Teacher Perspectives|Take a Break

Sara LockieMindfulness & MovementLeave a Comment

Mychele adores her job and especially the joy on her students’ faces when they learn something new. She is an experienced kindergarten and reading lab teacher. She’s seen it all. And even with years of experience behind her it’s still hard, “I have 25 kiddos. I just feel like, as a teacher, I have to help all of them – … Read