In springtime, the draw of taking the class outside is strong. But sometimes the lesson plan you wanted to accomplish inside doesn’t translate in the great outdoors. That’s no problem! Here are four lessons, focusing on real-world problems, that can bring STEM learning to life outside.
Two lessons about water from the EPA
Government agencies are excellent sources of lesson materials. The EPA has a few lessons designed especially for spring. Critter Clues guides students through exploring microbial creatures in the water supply and how they can be an indicator of water quality.
On a related note, Pollution Solutions has students investigate water pollution due to human causes, like pesticides and fertilizers.
Project Feeder Watch
In Project Feeder Watch, elementary students help Cornell University track bird migration. The kids simply set up a bird feeder and report their sightings to the Project. Using the site, they can track where “their birds” are going throughout the year. You’ll probably have more success attracting birds if the feeder is far from campus, requiring regular trips outside.
The Noon Day Project
The Noon Day Project is a great cross-curricular math/science project. Students from around the world collaborate to measure the shadows in their location at noon every day. With that data, using a method that’s over 2,000 years old, they can calculate the circumference of the Earth. The trick will be to keep the students from looking up the circumference on Google first.
Some of these activity ideas can be bolstered using simple classroom supplies. If you’re running low, check out the Classroom Direct online store.