Learning Outdoors

Resources from Environmental Education - 10/22/20

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!

THANK YOU TEACHERS! YOU'VE GOT THIS!

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Teacher Resources from USGS

The US Geological Survey has a large selection of teacher resources and activities on their website. They have specific resources designed for students to participate in virtually, or activities for the classroom that are organized by grade level. Topics include water, biology and ecosystems, geography, geology, oceans and coasts, global hazards, and more.

Pickles the Black Swallowtail

Our resident butterfly expert and EE teacher, Mrs. Parkhurst, has an exciting guest staying at her house this winter! Its name is Pickles! Curious yet? Check out her article to learn more!

River Meditation

We could all use a few minutes to simply just "BE" during this time when there is so much to do. Join EE teacher Mrs. Hughes for this relaxing 3 minute river meditation, where you can let your thoughts float on leaves down the river. This is a wonderful resource for students or adults.
River Meditation

Poem of the Day

We will be featuring seasonal poems from the book "Sing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the Year" illustrated by Fran Preston-Gannon and selected by Fiona Waters. This week, enjoy the poem "Leaves" written by Elsie N. Brady and read by EE teacher Ms. Koeppel.
Poem of the Day - "Leaves" by Elsie N. Brady

What is Phenology?

By EE teacher Mrs. Raymond

See her other articles and resources at her website!


Simply put, phenology is the study of the timing of life cycles of living things. You’ve probably done it, but not even realized it. Have you noticed when the robins return to Wisconsin in the spring? Have you compared when strawberries ripen in the summer? Did one of your favorite trees turn orange earlier than usual? And when was that first snowfall last year?


All of these are examples of people noticing changes in nature around them, and comparing them with when they happened in the past. In these posts, I hope to highlight some easy examples of phenological observations that kids can do, and pair them with a children’s picture book that I love.


If you’re really motivated, keep a journal of things that you notice happening in nature, and then compare it with when those things happen next year. Or use birthdays and anniversaries as your markers - what happens every year around those days?


This week’s book is a great one to share with kids - A Stroll Through the Seasons by Kay Barnham and illustrated by Maddie Frost. It’s a non-fiction book about why we have seasons, with many details that kids can notice in their own worlds.

I Notice, I Wonder, It Reminds Me Of

In this video from BEETLES, students and teachers demonstrate a powerful set of statements that help students engage with nature: "I Notice, I Wonder, It Reminds Me Of". Using these statements can help students pose questions, make connections, and strengthen their observation skills. Check out the video to learn more!
BEETLES "I notice, I wonder, It Reminds Me Of" Student Activity In Action

Moving in Nature

Need a brain break? Join EE teacher Emma Koeppel for some mindful movement. This week we'll try moving like a tree! You might think that trees don't move, but have you watched them sway in the wind or drop their leaves in the fall? What other ways can you think of that trees move?
Mindful Movement - Tree Pose

Planetarium Corner

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

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Calling All Middle School Teachers- Are you looking for a classroom extension or an extracurricular club idea? Look no further- Sign Up for the Future City 2020- 2021 Competition by October 31st!


Future City is a project-based learning program where students in 6th- 8th grades imagine, design, and build cities of the future. This year’s challenge, Living on the Moon, asks teams to design a futuristic lunar city and provide examples of how the city uses two Moon resources to keep its residents safe and healthy. Obviously, this year the competition is all virtual, and there are three different categories of competitions. Check out the attached link and remember that October 31st is the deadline!

Exploring Energy Outdoors for K-6 Students

The WI K-12 Energy Education Program is offering a video series that they describe as a "series of fun, hands-on, outdoor energy activities that explore how wind and solar energy are formed and work...Videos are short, hands-on, inquiry-based, and great ways to introduce a topic." Each video comes with a lesson plan and an at-home version. Sign up to receive the full video series here.
Exploring Energy Outdoors - Shoebox Solar Cooker Grades 4-6

Energy - Your Home in the Winter

Join Green and Healthy Schools WI to learn about how your house is affected by the winter weather. Learn wonderful ways to conserve energy and keep your home warmer during the winter months.
Your Home's Seasonal Wardrobe

Garden Corner

This week we feature a fantastic activity that can be done inside or outside called "Six or One, Half a Dozen of the Other". It suggests using materials you find in nature, but it could certainly be done with items in your classroom as well. Check out the video below to learn more!


Another resource we wanted to share was a compilation of virtual activities by the WI School Garden Network.

Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other

Support for Outdoor Learning

We know that this year is asking for a lot of flexibility, patience, and perseverance! As you are being asked to take learning outdoors, the SDW EE team wants to support you!


To see detailed outdoor learning ideas, check out this slideshow.

To see a flyer that outlines our support offerings this year, check out this link.

Science Joke of the Week

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