Learning Outdoors

Resources from Environmental Education - 4/15/21

The SDW Environmental Education team will be sending weekly newsletters throughout the school year. Our hope is that some of the activities will support your classroom learning, inspire you to take your students outside, or spark a creative idea for you. If there are specific topics that you would like us to explore, please feel free to reach out with your ideas or suggestions! We can support you best when we know what you need!

Spring Curriculum and Classroom Visits

We're on the move again! This spring we are offering in-class visits for 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms with activities themed around pollination and severe weather. We will provide all of the supplies and lead a 45-60 minute program in your classroom. To learn more and sign up for a program, follow these links: 2nd grade and 3rd grade. To discuss possibilities for in-class visits with other grade levels, please email ekoeppel@waukesha.k12.wi.us

Earth Day Edition!

Did you know earth day is coming up next week on Thursday, April 22nd? Our newsletter has many wonderful ideas and resources to help you celebrate the day with your students! Learn more about the history of Earth Day here!

1000's of Ways to Celebrate Earth Day!

Did you know there are 1000's of ways to celebrate Earth Day!? The SDW Environmental Education team wanted to share some of our favorite ways to celebrate the earth and encourage you to be creative in finding your own favorite way to celebrate!

Earth Day Tip - Litter Clean Up

EE teachers Mrs. Hughes and Mrs. Keber are here to show you how to make a plastic bag cinnamon roll (watch the video, you'll see what we mean) to help you pick up litter in your community. This is a fantastic way to celebrate Earth Day and to help keep your community clean and healthy.
Earth Day Tip - Litter Clean Up

Earth Day Craft

EE teachers Mrs. Wilkie and Mrs. Parkhurst bring you this video featuring a fun Earth Day craft! You'll need an egg carton, some drawing supplies and a glue stick to bring this craft to life!
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Student Opportunities

Check out these fantastic activities for Earth Day/Week/Month and beyond! All activities and descriptions compiled by Green and Healthy Schools Wisconsin.

The Great Wisconsin Birdathon runs each spring from April 15 to June 15. Interested educators form a team and then go birding on their day of choice to see how many species they can find.

Youth Summit is taking place online April 13 - May 13. Youth Summit provides a unique opportunity for youth in grades 6-12 from across Wisconsin to share projects with peers, participate in facilitated activities and discussions, and engage with diverse perspectives around sustainability.

Great Lakes iNaturalist BioBlitz starts on Earth Day, April 22 and runs through May 20, 2021. To participate simply create a free iNaturalist account and become a member of both your local project and the umbrella project for the Center for Great Lakes Literacy 2021 Great Lakes BioBlitz, then upload your photos (see below for more details). For added fun, participate in the weekly aquatic or terrestrial challenges!

ClimateScience Olympiad is a global climate competition engaging 10,000 youth (ages 14-25) in an effort to find solutions to some of the most challenging climate problems. Competitors are asked to propose solutions to climate-related problems in one of nine categories.Thousands will compete, but only the top 25 teams will make it to the finals! Registration ends on 1 August, 2021. The last qualifiers will be in early September.

Solar Youth Leadership position allows students to work with Midwest Renewable Energy Association AmeriCorps members to organize within their school or community to advocate for clean energy initiatives, which could include solar at your school, 100% RE resolutions, advocating for increased RE curriculum, and more.

Virtual School Gardens Tour

Young people from across the country will be gathering on April 27 for the first-ever virtual school garden tour! Students from Hawai’i to D.C. will share with your students how STEM education, nutrition and environmental literacy, hope and healing are brought to life through outdoor learning. Register here at growingschoolgardens.org. Follow @sgsonetwork for more info!

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Planetarium Corner

Each week, Lisa Swaney (the Planetarium Director) will share some fun opportunities here!


Check out these extension activities for the planetarium:

Are you interested in showing a brand new planetarium show in your classroom yet this year? Catch Big Astronomy: People, Places, Discoveries in a 360° livestream this April. Every Monday we will be livestreaming the Spanish version of the Big Astronomy Film in 360°, at 6 PM Chile time / EDT and 3 PM PDT. On Wednesdays, we will be livestreaming the English version of the film, at 2:30 PM Chile time / EDT and 11:30 AM PDT. These will be the last livestreams of the show for a while, so if you haven't caught one yet, make sure to tune in.

California Academy of Science is a great resource for any science classroom and is offering some great offerings for April’s live streams. Registration closes at 12pm PT one week before each live session, so that they have time to send instructions and pre-visit activities to educators.

Are you looking for a simple little demonstration to teach your younger students about the sun and shadows? Check out this 6-minute video from the Our Sky online activity bundle from the California Academy of Sciences. Academy educator Ethan will shed some light on how the Sun’s path across the sky changes how your shadow appears

Phenology Phorum

Spring Frogs

written by EE teacher Laureanna Raymond-Duvernell

Are they keeping you up at night? It’s the time of year when frogs in Wisconsin are thawing out from winter and digging up out of the mud, leaves, logs or other debris that has kept them insulated from the cold. It’s prime mating season, and they are eager to find a mate.

There are twelve kinds of frogs in Wisconsin (including one toad - the American toad) and each species has its own distinct call. Around my house, the most common are chorus frogs, but we also hear spring peepers this time of year. The Wisconsin DNR’s EEK! website is an awesome resource to learn more about each frog and hear how they sound.

A great book to read together is Marsh Music by Marianne Berkes. It imagines each of these frogs as a part of a natural orchestra, playing together with inspiring harmony.


It may be getting colder but that doesn't mean that learning can't happen outdoors! We are still offering sit-upon kits for classrooms. These are cushioned, waterproof spots where students can take a seat during outdoor learning. If you are interested in requesting them for your classroom, email Emma Koeppel at ekoeppel@waukesha.k12.wi.us

Support for Outdoor Learning

The SDW EE program wants to support you in bringing student learning outdoors! Access our full flyer for more information, including who to contact with questions or ideas.
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Science Joke of the Week

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