Activities

Activities listed below are intended to provide inspiration for how to connect students to the natural world through meaningful learning and experience. All activities are correlated to grade levels, intended student outcomes, and subject areas. You may filter activities based off of these categories to easily find a activity to inspire your classroom.

  • Observing Lifecycles in the Classroom

    Observe the life cycles of classroom animals and plants including ladybugs, painted butterflies, silk moths, mealworms, and Wisconsin Fast Plants (rapid radish/brassica).

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  • Who’s Sharing Our Space?

    Instigate curiosity about wildlife by using motion-triggered cameras to observe the types of species that share your schoolyard site yet go unseen.

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  • Visit a Local Natural Area

    Explore a local natural area for fun, learning, and connection!

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  • Create a Compost or Recycling Program

    Create a compost or recycling program for your school or classroom.

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  • Sort Your Waste

    Describe, sort and categorize waste items for recycling, composting, and landfill. Open up a conversation about why this is important.

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  • Take Action and Make an Impact

    Take an action to make a positive impact or solve a problem. A youth-led, research-based framework teaches them civic engagement and empowers students to stand up for their rights and their environment.

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  • Research an Issue or Proposed Action in Sustainability

    Research a political issue or proposed action that cuts across social, economic, and ecological systems and analyze pros and cons.

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  • Lifecycle of a Recyclable Product

    Follow the life cycle of a common product (i.e. paper, plastic, aluminum) from manufacturing to use to recycling and visit a recycling waste management facility.

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  • Plant Dissections

    Dissect a plant when it is mature to see basic structures and relate to functions.

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  • Understanding Agriculture

    Develop models of the main practices for producing food and compare the impacts on land and other resource use.

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  • Comparing Life in Different Habitats

    Compare the plants and animals in different habitats to show students the diversity of life and help them understand how it differs depending on the environment.

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  • Explore Sun, Shade and Shadows

    Use the phenomenon of sun, shade, and shadows to demonstrate the passage of time and the basics of solar energy, or as inspiration for creative exploration of naturally occurring patterns.

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  • Conduct a Waste Audit

    Conduct a school or class waste audit to see what is in the trash and help the school improve its sorting and reduce its waste production.

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  • Bird Feeders

    Place bird feeders outside of classroom windows. Research the needs of local species and see what comes to visit!

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  • Natural vs. Human Seasonal Competition

    Conduct seasonal comparisons of local natural/human environments and the activities of wildlife and people in the community.

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  • Silent Hike or Sit Spot

    Students engage their senses through a silent hike or sit spot.

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  • Story or Animal Stories and Poems

    Write a story/poem about a connection with a special plant or animal.

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  • Identify Shapes and Patterns

    Identify shapes and patterns in the shape of leaves from different trees, shrubs, plants and glasses around the school.

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  • Make a Field Guide

    Make a field guide of common schoolyard wildlife and grasses/shrubs/trees.

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  • Identifying Flora and Fauna

    Identify local flora and fauna to build a sense of place and knowledge of local ecosystems.

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  • Citizen Science

    Participate in gathering data to help scientists around the world answer real questions about the natural world.

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  • Regular, Unstructured Time Outside

    Regular, unstructured (child-led) time outside improves physical and mental well-being, enhances social-emotional learning, and builds’ students connection to the outdoors. No lesson or instructions needed!

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  • Growing Plants Outside

    Take care of living things, work with others, and build a sense of connection to the land, ecosystems, and food chain through a school garden. Older students can even use a garden to practice vocational skills!

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  • Plant Journals Over Time

    Observe and journal about one plant in the garden over time.

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  • Tracking Changes Through Time

    Learn about the seasons, plant phenology, the weather, etc. by recording changes you observe in the schoolyard or local natural area.

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  • Care for Plants and Animals

    By helping to care for animals and plants, students learn to be sensitive to the needs of others and to engage in acts of service. As students get older, move from inside to outside and focus on the complex human responsibility to care for other living things.

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