Winter is over and the warm days of spring beckon everyone to enjoy the warm sunshine and blue skies. As a teacher, it may be difficult to keep the attention of your students on gorgeous spring days. That is when you need to take learning to a new level in the great outdoors. The following lesson ideas can get your class outside to learn lessons in innovative ways.
Measuring is a great skill to practice outside, especially if you have several rulers, yardsticks, and a massive contractor’s measuring tape. Measure everything in the school yard, record the dimensions of the school, and when you are done, create a map of your school. Don’t forget to teach the kids how to create a map scale and sketch the diagram on graph paper.
If your students are a little smaller, you can use sidewalk chalk to write out basic math problems. Let the kids find pine cones, leaves, sticks, or other items from nature to illustrate the math problems. You can also draw grids and show the kids how to count and sort objects.
What better place to read out loud than in the shade of a tall, old tree? Each day, take 30 minutes to gather under a tree and read aloud a chapter of a classic novel. You can also teach the kids how to write descriptions or poetry about the loveliness of the outdoors in the spring. Additionally, you can create journaling prompts about nature, based upon what the class observes from their time outside.
Outdoor learning is perfect for kinesthetic learners. You can chant poems and spelling words while jumping rope or bouncing a ball, or allow the kids to write their spelling words on the pavement with sidewalk chalk.
To study science, you have plenty of options when you are outside. You can create a solar oven with a pizza box and toast marshmallows using nothing more than the sun’s rays. With a half of a whiskey barrel or even just a plastic tub, you can create a water garden, complete with a few goldfish and some water plants. Additionally, if you wait a few weeks, you’ll probably have some frogs visit, leaving behind some tadpoles.
You and your class can study and graph the different kinds of clouds, and make charts recording the weather. Each member of the class can make a weather station, including a wind vane and a rain gauge.
To study art, you can create intricate collages using natural objects that class members find outdoors. Sticks, mosses, leaves, acorns, and feathers can become a work of art with some creativity. If you can get permission, the class may want to paint a mural on the school grounds. However, if that’s not possible, a chalk mural will be just as much fun and educational.
Don’t lose ground in the classroom as your kids daydream about being outside on pretty days. Pack up the class and do your learning outside.