|Outdoor Class (Photo: Conservation Commission)|
Many children learn better with the help of practical exercises and experiments. Through tangible demonstration and participation, concepts become clearer and theories finally make sense.
Kids love experimenting indoors, but taking the classroom outdoors is an even better way of ensuring they enjoy the learning process. Weather permitting, head outdoors to the school yard or playground to teach subjects such as science and art.
In a way, teaching art within the classroom is putting children in a box, making them rely on the materials available. Outdoors, this box is much bigger (though a safe environment cannot be limitless). Encourage creativity by teaching art outdoors.
Children could be making collages out of leaves, sticks and rocks, or designing jewellery. Let them collect their own materials both in the school yard, and by asking them to bring some along from their own gardens or parks they've visited with friends and family.
Energy and Sustainability
Our current dependence on unsustainable natural resources to feed our growing energy demands needs to be combated. While governments are gradually beginning to invest in sustainable power production, awareness among citizens is still low. For the industry to develop faster, society needs to put pressure on its elected rulers.
If children are equipped with this knowledge and awareness at a young age, they will take care of teaching their parents and their own children, and so it is passed on from generation to generation in an unforced way, and becomes intrinsic to general social awareness.
Science education is one of the best ways of fostering awareness with a hands-on approach. By performing experiments, building tools and devices, and playing science-related games, children learn to appreciate the world, how it works, and how to look after it.
And where better to learn than in the great outdoors where there is unlimited space, fresh air, and tangible substances that form the world as we know it. Outdoor lab ideas that focus on sustainable energy include building a solar cooker. This is an activity made for middle and high school students. Ask the school cook to donate some food for cooking in the sunshine.
Another idea is to speak to the school principal about turning the school playground into a temporary power station. Let the children create energy on the swings, see-saws and merry-go-rounds.
You could also gather outdoors to produce fruit batteries. One of the most common fruits for the challenge is the lemon. The teacher will need to bring some elements from the classroom.
Visit websites such as PlanetSEED for detailed instructions on taking your classroom outdoors to learn science.
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