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. The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies developed … Read moreResources to help with field investigations
Why a school garden? School gardens provide hands-on learning in a wide variety of disciplines including science, math, language arts, and visual arts. Being involved in school gardens gets students active, engaged, and teaches them important life skills such as responsibility. School gardening of fruits and vegetables also positively influences students’ health and nutrition attitudes … Read moreSchool Gardens
Watching birds, feeding birds, and learning about birds is a great way to get students excited! These activities can carry over to family time as well. Feeder birds (song birds) can be attracted to your school through habitat improvement and the addition of bird feeding and watering stations. Citizen science activities like the Great Backyard … Read moreCitizen Science – Great Backyard Bird Count
The Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is an annual event sponsored by Audubon. All Christmas Bird Counts are conducted between December 14 to January 5, inclusive dates, each season. This will be the 120th Christmas Bird Count! This longest running Citizen Science survey in the world provides critical data on population trends. It is organized into … Read moreHelp gather information for bird conservation
Do you like to go fishing and eat fish? If so, then you harvest food from a local aquatic resource. In Iowa. Anglers harvest millions of fish each year for consumptive use. Species harvested include bluegill, bass, crappie, and catfish. Other aquatic animals such as frogs and crayfish are also harvested. Iowa is also home … Read moreWater we eating?
Lead students on a walk through a wooded area, schoolyard, local park, or neighborhood sidewalk to look for signs of fall and investigate why leaves of deciduous trees change color. Point out the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees. Ask students to look for signs that indicate winter is approaching and have them record their … Read moreSigns of Fall
“There will always be pigeons in books and museums, but these are effigies and images, dead to all hardships and all delights. They know no urge of the seasons, they feel no kiss of sun, no lash of wind and weather.” Aldo Leopold The very last passenger pigeon, Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in … Read moreThe Very Last Passenger Pigeon
Find a special place outdoors where you and your students can observe nature throughout the school year. Your county conservation board naturalist is a great resource to help you find the perfect spot and that spot doesn’t need to be far from school. Visit this same place each season and observe the changes. Let each … Read moreSeasonal Visits to a Special Outdoor Place
Share these ideas with your own children, the neighborhood group, your childcare provider, and think about adapting some of these ideas for the schoolyard playground and classroom! Build a Fort Build your own outdoor hideout! Supplies Large sticks Old sheets or blankets String or rope Imagination How-to The sky is the limit! Create a fort … Read moreThings to do in your backyard!
There are many simple ways to get kids outdoors in Iowa this summer. Use this as a checklist to guide your outdoor explorations. Summer 2019 is time to celebrate the finest county park system in the country! 99 county parks of the 2,024 county parks – one in each of Iowa’s 99 Counties are featured. … Read moreFun summer outdoor experiences
Wildlife scientists study wildlife to learn how they live and interact with the environment. These scientists may focus on one wildlife species or a group of species during their studies. They record observations made with their senses and other tools. Help your students learn how to record observations with a science notebook. Help your kids … Read moreBecome a wildlife scientist
Much of our understanding of science comes from interpreting visual images. The images that accompany scientific writing can enhance our knowledge of a subject and can add more precision to our perception. Drawings that accompany field notes offer researchers several paths which to interpret their experiences. Incorporating drawing into research improves one’s observation skills. Take … Read moreDrawing on Nature