Brief outdoor activities can make a BIG difference!

Yes!! Spring is here! Although outdoor learning works in any month of the year, warmer days definitely tempt us to think more about how to weave the schoolyard into the curriculum for a welcome change of pace and place.  Always keep in mind that outdoor learning activities do not have to take up large amounts of time. In fact, the goal should be to integrate brief outdoor activities seamlessly into traditional lesson plans.

For example, let’s take the topic of parallel lines. A typical progression might be:

  1. Introduce the concept indoors using diagrams, pictures, a dictionary definition and possibly a printed activity.
  2. Move outdoors for a 15-20 minute activity where students find examples of parallel lines in nature. Add an interesting twist by having children find macro examples (tree branches, power lines) as well as micro examples (veins on a leaf, stripes on a flower or insect).
  3. After the brief activity, move back indoors and continue to reinforce the concept through additional visual resources, and then assess student understanding of the concept.

Notice how the outdoors makes the abstract concept much more real by helping students see concrete examples of parallel lines in nature.  An added benefit is that students have moved and experienced the concept in a new environment (a change of pace and place).

It only takes a few minutes to reinforce indoor learning through a connection with nature.  Give it a try!

Copyright © 2014 by Herb Broda