Theme: Outdoor Classroom
Objective: Children will make predictions and collect and investigate materials found in nature while taking a walk outside.
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What You Will Need
- Large, natural outdoor space for a walk
- Wide masking tape – 1 roll
- Magnifying glasses – 1 per child
What To Do
Note: This lesson requires a walk outside.
- Tell the children that they will be taking a walk outside to collect things found in nature (see Lesson Tips).
- Ask the children to make predictions about what they might find during this time of year (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
- Wrap masking tape around your own wrist with the sticky side out, show it to the children, and wrap their wrists.
- Tell them that as they find items, they can stick them to the tape on their wrists.
- Remind children that since this is a nature walk, they should only collect things found in nature. Ask if they should collect a leaf, some seeds, or grass? Then, ask “What about a candy wrapper?”
- Take the children outside.
- Encourage the children to collect a variety of objects such as leaves, grass, twigs, seeds, pieces of bark, small pebbles, flowers, etc.
- Continue to encourage the children to collect a variety of items during their walk.
- Upon returning to the classroom, distribute magnifying glasses.
- Have the children use the magnifying glasses to investigate and discuss the items they found (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
- Display the bracelets in the science area.
Guiding Student Inquiry
- Make a prediction about the kinds of things you think you might find on your walk.
- Explain the reason you think you will find those things.
- Describe what you have found.
- Tell me if you think you would find the same types of items if we take this walk in the winter (summer, fall, or spring).
Explore, Extend & Integrate
- This activity can be repeated seasonally. Teachers can take pictures of the nature bracelets from season to season for comparison.
- This activity can be aligned with your current curriculum. For instance, if you are studying patterns, have the children create an ABAB pattern on their bracelet; leaf, twig, leaf, twig. Or children can be limited to collecting only items that are green, that are brown, or that begin with a certain letter, or only items that are seeds.
Check for Children’s Understanding
- Could children make predictions about what they might find?
- Could children make connections between what they might find and the season of the year?
- Could children describe their findings?
- Could children understand that different types of items are found in different seasons?
Did You Know?
The natural world is full of many fascinating processes. Children’s interest in the outdoors is seemingly endless, and they are naturally very curious. Using all of their senses, children will thoroughly explore the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. As they explore on their own, they generate questions about their discoveries.
Exploring outdoors is a wonderful opportunity for children to actively engage in learning about nature. Nature provides many opportunities for discovery as things such as leaves, acorns, twigs, and buds fall to the ground. Even blades of grass can make some interesting investigating. Children’s awareness of the Earth and nature around them will be increased as outdoor exploration is incorporated throughout the year.
- nature – the physical world and things in their natural state.
- outdoors – the outside; in the open air.
- predict – to say ahead of time that something will happen.
- collect – to gather together.
- investigate – to look closely at.
- materials – a group of things.
- You may want to inform families that the children will be exploring outdoors so the children will be dressed appropriately and have sunscreen and/or insect repellent applied before coming to school, if appropriate for the weather.
- Remind children to choose materials found on the ground and not to pick up insects or leaves, flowers, twigs, or other items that are attached to living plants.
- You can also give the children tweezers for picking up small items.
- Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies
- Ask Me by Bernard Waber
- What Color Is Nature? by Stephen R. Swinburne
- What in the World? Numbers in Nature by Nancy Raines Day
Content provided by:
Common Core State
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
Important Legal Disclosures & Information
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.