Leading Classroom and Schoolyard Experiences
Outdoor science programs–especially residential, multi-day experiences–can be transformative for students for many reasons. In addition to important social/emotional impacts (not a small thing!), students often return to the classroom excited about science, interested in nature, and excited about learning in general. Field experiences, by their nature, provide students with opportunities they can’t get in the classroom. To make the most of these rare outdoor opportunities, students should have pre and post experiences in the classroom that are connected to and coherent with their field experiences. If students arrive at an outdoor science program with experience in respectfully discussing ideas, making observations, asking questions, discussing evidence-based explanations, or evaluating evidence, then a thoughtful field instructor can build on those skills, and explorations in the field will be deeper and more rewarding for students. When students have further opportunities to continue using skills after leaving the outdoor program, they’re more likely to incorporate them into their lifelong toolkit of learning. Providing connections between outdoor science and classroom science helps ensure that students’ time outdoors doesn’t end up feeling like an isolated event.
BEETLES is in the process of developing four classroom activities that support the outdoor science field experience. We also recommend published curriculum (below) that we think is of high quality. Finally, BEETLES staff have extensive experience collaborating with schools and districts to provide custom support. Read the For Custom Support page for more information.