Outdoor experiences in nature increase students’ problem solving abilities and motivation to learn in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Conducting field investigations help students become systems thinkers, learn the skills of scientific inquiry, and understand that science doesn’t only happen in a laboratory or classroom.
Field Investigations: Using Outdoor Environments to Foster Student Learning and Recreation (opens as PDF)
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies “field investigations” prepares educators to create meaningful, useful, and standards-based student-led investigations in the outdoors. Field investigations help students become systems thinkers by developing their understanding of science, which does not only happen in a laboratory or classroom. These types of investigations provide students with opportunities to engage in science through a three-dimensional approach by integrating the scientific content with the science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts.
Field investigations create an essential link between classroom activities and what students see and experience outside the school settings. They can provide students with examples of how the science concepts they learn in class are used in everyday life.
Field investigations encourage students to ask questions, explore, observe, and investigate their local environment. Direct observation can provide a stimulating and rewarding experience for you and your students.
Outdoor experiences in nature increase students’ problem-solving abilities and motivation to learn in social studies, science, language arts, and math. Conducting classroom field investigations help students become systems thinkers, learn the skills of scientific inquiry, and understand that science doesn’t only happen in a laboratory or classroom.
WILD Guides and Field Investigations
The Project WILD and Aquatic WILD guides are for K-12 students and offer additional field investigations as well as activities that further develop skills in observation and analysis. These guides are available to Iowa educators through a training collaboration between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and ICEC. The training helps you connect local resources with proven activities.
Additional resources to learn more about inquiry and project-based learning:
- From Now On FILLING THE TOOL BOX: Classroom Strategies to Engender Student Questioning
- Inquiry-based Learning from WNET and thirteen.org
- Inquiry Based Science: What Does It Look Like?
- University of Montana ECOS Program
- 7 Essentials for Project-based Learning (opens as PDF)