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 more Things 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 more Fun 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 more Become 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 more Drawing on Nature
More than 97% of the animal species on Earth are invertebrates. Invertebrates are small animals that do not have backbones. There are many types of invertebrates, from fluid-filled jellyfish, and squishy earthworms to hard shelled insects like beetles, and eight-legged arachnids. This fascinating and diverse group of animals spans the globe – invertebrates live on … Read more Iowa Invertebrates
*NPS Photo by Ivie Metzen Citizen science projects combine useful observation or data collection with an opportunity for students to learn more about scientific principles, problems, and processes as well as helping them better understand our environment and how to protect it. Citizen science projects involve students in data collection, presentation, and involvement on a … Read more Citizen Science
There are many issues involved when we are deciding how to utilize the land and our natural resources. How do we decide where to build new housing developments? How do we decide where to set aside land for wildlife and recreation? Figuring out how best to use the resources that we have for the greatest … Read more To Zone or Not to Zone
Thundersnow in December? Snow in May? Do strange weather phenomena ever leave you wondering about the weather? We do too! Let’s explore weather this week! Start by having students share what they know about weather. Make a list or chart to track what students already know. Lead into a discussion about what students want to … Read more Wild Weather
A human community is a group of people who live and interact with one another in a specific region under relatively similar environmental, social, and political conditions. A natural community is a group of plants and animals that live and interact with one another in a specific region under similar environmental conditions. Our human communities … Read more Using Local History in Your Classroom
Bat week is an annual international celebration of the role of bats in nature. This year’s bat week is October 24-31. Step outside around dusk and take a few moments to look for bats in your neighborhood. Iowa is home to nine bat species: little brown bat, big brown bat, red bat, hoary bat, silver-haired … Read more Happy Bat Week!
Animals can be a wonderful resource to enhance learning and understanding in the classroom. Many children today have limited exposure to wildlife and animals. Having an animal in the classroom allows children to observe and study an animal first hand. It allows for the observation of animal life cycles and behaviors. Classroom animals also teach … Read more Keeping Classroom Animals
Take a peek into Iowa’s prehistoric past with these “living fossils” that still exist in Iowa today. Paddlefish This fish is older than the dinosaurs – for real. Fossil records show paddlefish have been around for more than 300 million years – that’s about 50 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared. Not only has … Read more Iowa’s Land Before Time: Prehistoric Species Live On