Want Better Discussions? Questions are the Answer

Jesse WilcoxNature, Philosophy & MusingsLeave a Comment

Many teachers want to include more authentic conversations into their classrooms, yet getting students to deeply engage in large group discussions can be difficult.  It turns out the key to improving the quality of classroom discussions is to improve the way we teach. This is kind of a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that we have control … Read

Summer Days

Sara LockieFamily adventures, NatureLeave a Comment

Last spring our mailbox was crammed with glossy brochures filled with summer opportunities. Day camps, overnight camps, weekly classes, weekend trips. They all sounded like fantastic new experiences that our kids would enjoy and remember for a lifetime. “I just want to be at home,” my 10-year-old son glanced at the brochures and said, “But Mom, the schedule is always … Read

Devastation in Puerto Rico

Sara LockieNature, Philosophy & Musings, Social Justice1 Comment

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Shelly Johnson, Martha McCormick and I planned to travel to Puerto Rico this Tuesday. Next Step was chosen to present at the North American Association of Environmental Educators’ (NAAEE) Annual Conference in San Juan this week. Our presentations were planned, and we were looking forward to learning about a place we had never visited. Instead, we have anxiously followed the … Read

Lessons for Harvest Time

Martha McCormickNature, Uncategorized1 Comment

Harvest basket

It’s harvest time in Iowa! It’s been a mostly warm September, and we’re bringing in buckets of tomatoes, bouquets of basil and parsley, and enough carrots to share with the Jolly Green Giant! Kids are gathering produce and learning in school gardens all over the country as well. It’s tempting to get all sentimental about kids raising food for their … Read

Lessons for Fall

Rachel Krzton-PressonNatureLeave a Comment

Sun on the lake

For many of us, buying new pencils, pumpkin spiced everything, football, and warm socks mark the beginning of fall! But for teachers autumn ushers in a wellspring of environmental education themes. Three topics are especially interesting this time of year–resilience, migration, and animals we love to hate.  Perhaps our strongest instinct is for self preservation. Even in the most difficult conditions, living … Read

Our Sunflower Fort

Sara LockieNature1 Comment

Feet in the sunflower fort

My children love forts. But a sunflower fort? It exceeded every expectation. Inspired by Eve Bunting’s Sunflower House, we planted sunflower seeds in a circle last spring. My nine-year-old couldn’t decide on just one variety of sunflowers at the garden store, so we planted two circles of seeds – an inner ring of mammoths and an outer ring of a … Read

Alone on the Prairie

Rachel Krzton-PressonNature1 Comment

Rachel alone on the prairie

Last week I packed my bags and headed on a vacation with my parents and siblings. Our destination was Lake Florida in Minnesota. While we were there we volunteered at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center! One of my projects was clearing trails around the prairie. Early in the morning, a little grumpy and weary from such an early start, I … Read

Experiencing the solar eclipse

Sara LockieNature2 Comments

Sara at Alpha Mission Training

Monday, August 21, 2017 will be a memorable day.  Not since 1918 has a solar eclipse crossed the United States from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans, giving us a rare opportunity to observe one of nature’s biggest coincidences. A few tips as the big day nears… Never look directly at the sun. Solar eclipse glasses block out everything except for … Read