Nature Explore Classroom
Nature Explore Classroom
PURPOSE OF THE NATURE EXPLORE CLASSROOM: Children have meaningful outdoor learning experiences and connect to nature.
Skills and Activity Suggestions
CLOSE OBSERVATION SKILLS: Children find patterns through regular contact with nature. (collect leaves of similar shapes and colors; distinguish between kinds of insects and plants; describe a tree’s attributes using a graphic organizer)
VISUAL SPATIAL SKILLS: Through climbing, building, and creating, children develop the ability to negotiate well in space (using maps; designing and engineering structures) and develop multiple perspectives. (draw a labeled map of the garden; give “docent” tours of the garden; balance on the balance beams; contrast perspectives of the garden ecosystem from different forms of life)
SCIENCE SKILLS: Children classify, predict, experiment, and draw conclusions. (classify and describe attributes of natural objects; experiment with living things - predict when flowers will bloom/investigate causes of decay of leaves; develop life-science vocabulary surrounded by life cycles)
ART SKILLS: Children sharpen observational skills as they transform 3D objects into 2D works of art. (draw objects using perspective and shading; create structures with fallen leaves, twigs, and seeds; use natural forms as inspiration for creating works of art)
MATH SKILLS: Children count, predict, estimate, and explore measurement concepts using natural objects. (estimate, predict, and measure objects/distances; classify and describe geometric shapes; sharpen number sense with estimation/counting of natural objects)
LITERACY SKILLS: Children develop nature-related vocabulary and vocabulary related to all areas of the curriculum. The space inspires poetry and develops descriptive skills especially useful in using non-traditional methods of reading and writing for children struggling with literacy. (write haikus inspired from the garden environment; discuss and describe natural objects and their relation/importance to each other; read in the garden)
MUSIC & MOVEMENT SKILLS: Children learn about sound, pitch, rhythm, and tonality using instruments made from plant materials, leading to diverse cultural experiences. (use instruments made from plant materials; develop motor movement skills including dance and pantomime that can relate physical movement to language development)
SOCIAL SKILLS (SECOND STEP): The space offers open-ended opportunities difficult to create in the confines of the conventional classroom. With informed guidance, children are more likely to share ideas, negotiate, make decisions, decide on tasks, and problem-solve together in the garden. (affected filter is lowered for many children outside; guided partner and small-group activities involving the garden environment foster language development, community-building and other skills/feelings such as empathy, cooperation, taking turns, sharing, listening, etc.
Expectations: treat the outdoor like your indoor classroom...
*Low voices (classrooms and offices face the garden; loud noise makes it difficult to observe and share verbally, etc.).
*Safety (no running, pushing, standing on the walls, etc.).
*Leave living things in the classroom as you found them (no breaking spider webs; breaking off branches or flowers or seeds; taking insects, etc.).
*Keep the classroom safe and clean (put items back in the boxes; help pick up trash and dead leaves, remind each other to be safe, etc.).
*Purpose, procedures, and rules should be taught on the first visit, observed always, and reviewed when necessary (teachers must run the garden like any other classroom and inform their students of the purpose, procedures, and rules).
*The classroom must be used in a meaningful way.
*Please share meaningful and engaging acitivity/lesson ideas with other teachers (as well as the Nature Explore Classroom Committee so these can be collected and shared school-wide - mailboxes of Ms. Yani, Ms. Torres, Mr. Ochoa, Mr. Martinez or , Ms. Abramyan).
Nature Explore Classroom Procedures
*Unlock the boxes when you enter and relock them when you leave. Everyone has the combination. If not, see Ms. Abramyan.
*Classroom should be left as found except for the trash. Trash should be removed.
*Items need to be taken care of and locked up - they are expensive !
More information (lesson ideas, resources, links, mission, etc.):
firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-888-908-8733, natureexplore.org
Inventory List (as of 06/2016):
Nature Samples Pods, Cones, & Botanicals
Barkless Tree Blocks Set of 36
Baby Tree Blocks
Mini-Bricks Set of 100
Kaleidoscopes Set of 50
Mirrored Observation Trays Set of 3
Fragile Specimen Viewer