Spring brings a rebirth of life to your school grounds, and presents a great opportunity to get students learning and exploring outdoors. Whether you have an existing garden or just a plot of land begging to be tended, now is a great time to plan for a garden upgrade that harnesses student ingenuity and fits as easily into a creative writing lesson as into a biology lesson.
These lessons from Learning Lab will help you and your students scope out where, why and how to build an outdoor learning area.
- Kindergarten–Grade 1: Forts and Garden Homes, created by Captain Planet Foundation. In this lesson, students explore the schoolyard to find evidence of animal life and to determine where the animals live and what they need to survive. See a tips and techniques document from Captain Planet for more on teaching outdoors.
- Grades 3–5: Local Living Landscapes, created by TurfMutt Environmental Education and Stewardship Program. In this lesson, students articulate the difference between weather and climate, and then investigate their schoolyard habitat to identify how a region’s climate influences how well different plants grow.
- Grades 7–8: Green Mapping, created by EcoRise and RIS. In this lesson, students work in small groups to create green maps of the school campus that emphasize the assets and liabilities of the campus from the students' perspective. These maps can be used to increase the school community’s appreciation for campus resources and to persuade school administrators to make improvements. Access the Spanish version.