Once your schoolyard habitat is in place, utilizing the space with your students can seem intimidating. The following organizations offer a variety of tricks and tips on taking student learning outdoors. Click on the links below to learn more.
The following websites link to specific lesson plans or examples of ways in which teachers have successfully utilized outdoor spaces. Consider these websites a source of inspiration; they represent just a small fraction of the ways in which schoolyard habitats and outdoor spaces can be used as learning environments.
Elementary School (Grades K-5)
“Birds and Worms” from Project Learning Tree
“Exploring the Native Plant World” from Pollinator Live
“Here Come the Sunflowers!” from the Smithsonian Institution
"Plot Studies with Students" from the Harvard University Forest
"Soil Decomposers" from the National Wildlife Federation
“The Shape of Things” from Project Learning Tree
"Web of Life" from the Smithsonian Institution
"Worm Watching" from the Smithsonian Institution
Middle School (Grades 6-8)
"A Weed By Any Other Name" from the University of Connecticut College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences
"Adopt a Twig" from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
"Is That Tree Safe?" from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
"The Blossoming of Flower Power" from the Learning Network
High School (Grades 9-12)
"Buds, Leaves, and Global Warming" from the Harvard University Forest
"Dendrology Scavenger Hunt" from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
"Selecting Trees for Urban Environments" from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences
The Project WILD, Project WET, Project Learning Tree, and Growing Up WILD environmental education training programs are offered to educators throughout the state of Maryland. Upon completion of these programs, educators receive comprehensive guides that contain a variety of lesson plans, many with activities that can be completed in conjunction with schoolyard habitats. Educators may be eligible for Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) credit. The following websites provide links to activities that include schoolyard habitat connections and the associated curriculum standards these activities meet. For more information, please contact Kerry Wixted (Kerry.firstname.lastname@example.org).
Educators engaged in professional development workshops by Elaine Raesly and Kerry Wixted
Citizen science projects are research projects named for the way in which they engage individuals beyond the professional scientific community. Citizen science projects provide a great way for students to participate in hands-on, real-life science; and many of these projects can be completed in schoolyard habitats. Below are various projects that teachers and students can take part in.
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