I know I’ve mentioned this excellent resource in the past, but the University of Washington’s Institute for Science and Math Education has an amazing website called STEM Teaching Tools. The Tools include an ever expanding set of Practice Briefs for assisting teachers, schools, administrators, and other entities in conquering issues that may arise as we implement the Next Generation Science Standards. The Practices Briefs provide very “slick” eye-catching 2-sided PDFs for use in professional development, advocacy work, or to guide implementation of NGSS.
The latest Practice Brief is titled- Getting Their Hands Dirty: Engaging Learners in Authentic Science Practices Outside the Classroom. This Practice Brief might be of use to any champion of outdoor learning as we continue to ‘make the case’ for the importance of guiding our students to be stewards of the environment. This Practice Brief also describes how getting students learning outdoors directly supports the NGSS.
Each Practice Brief provides a section titled: Why it Matters to You. Below is text from the Practice Brief above on outdoor learning…
- Teachers should provide opportunities for students to explore and understand the natural world outside of the classroom through scaffolded and emergent investigations. That science learning outdoors should be connected to learning in the classroom if possible.
- District Staff & PD Providers should encourage and model the learning opportunities of outdoor experiences.
- School Leaders should make resources and supports available for teachers to provide young children with outdoor science learning experiences.
Take some time to check out the other Practice Briefs… you won’t be disappointed.