Teaching Outside

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Outdoor learning professional learning is available: https://gibberagongeec.nsw.edu.au/pl/

Sound maps

Time: 15 minutes

Resources: Each student will need paper, pencil and a clipboard or book to lean on.

Students mark an ‘X’ in the centre of a blank page to represent the location of themselves. They then sit separately and silently in their own space. They use symbols, words or or other marks to represent the sounds they hear around them. These are notated on their map indicating the relative position and distance from the student. For more information, watch our short video on how to do a sound map.

Teaching tips: Make sure you provide your class with boundaries and let them know how you will call them back in (eg blow a whistle or cooee).

Leaf rubbing

Time: 15 - 20 mins

Resources: Crayons or pencils, Plain paper, hard surface to lean on (clipboard, table etc).

This is a simple activity to reveal the patterns and structure of a leaf. Leaf rubbing is an art activity but also a great way to investigate the different plants and leaf types in your local area. It may also be combined with maths outcomes such as symmetry, measurement or angles.

Teaching tips: To get the best results place the leaf upside down on the hard surface and place the paper on top, making contact with the leaf veins. Hold the leaf in place so that it doesn’t move during the rubbing. Repeat with different leaves. For more tips - watch our short video on how to do a leaf rubbing.

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Scavenger hunt

Time: 15 - 20 mins

Resources: Scavenger Hunt print out.

Scavenger hunts are a classic way to engage students in the outdoors. Here we have attached a variety of outdoor scavenger hunts, each with a different focus. Students can work individually or in a team. Students may either mark off the items that they find, collect them, or use iPads to record a photo of each item on the list.

Teaching tips: Make sure you provide your class with boundaries and let them know how you will call them back in (eg blow a whistle or cooee). For more tips - watch Kate explain how to do a scavenger hunt.

Questions for reflection:

  • What was the easiest thing to find?

  • What was the hardest thing to find?

  • What did you notice?

Other scavenger hunts you could use include:

Alphabet-scavenger-hunt-Childhood101.pdf
Neighborhood-Scavenger-Hunt.pdf
Nature-Scavenger-Hunt_Childhood-101.pdf

Colour matching

Time: 15 - 20 mins

Resources: Approximately 30 coloured pencils, textas or crayons (enough for one per student).

Colour Matching is a great activity to increase awareness and observations of the natural environment. The challenge is to try and find different colours in nature. Each student is given a coloured pencil/texta/crayon. The student then explores a natural setting within the school grounds to find the matching colour. Challenge the students to find harder colours such as pink and blue. Once a student has found their colour, they can swap for a different colour.

HINT: If students are having trouble finding a colour, encourage them to look at rocks, sticks or bark. Keep looking. You will be surprised at how many colours they will find!

Teaching tips : Make sure you provide your class with boundaries and let them know how you will call them back in (eg blow a whistle or cooee).

Questions for reflection:

  • What was the easiest colour to find?

  • What was the hardest colour to find?

  • Would we find different colours at a different time of year?

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Scrunch and sniff

Time: 15 - 20 mins

Resources: Natural space within the school grounds where plants may be picked. A jar or container if doing the 1 player option.

2 Player option:

Step 1 - Go outside and pick some leaves from a plant without your partner seeing.

Step 2 - Crush up the leaves in your hands and ask your partner to smell the leaves. They aren't allowed to look at the leaves, they can only smell them!

Step 3 - Ask your partner to go outside and try and find the matching plant.

1 Player option:

Collect different types of leaves in a jar. Crush them up to make a potion. Add water if you like!

Questions for reflection:

  • How many different smells did you find?

  • What was your favourite smell?

  • What did you notice?

Wallaby ears

Time: 10 mins

Resources: A suitable outdoor space for students to sit.

A wallaby has excellent hearing and can swivel it’s large ears in all directions to pick up sounds.

Find somewhere to sit outside in your playground. Sit quietly and set a timer for 5 minutes. Cup your hands around your ears like a wallaby to help catch the sounds.

Questions for reflection:

  • How many different animals did you hear?

  • What other sounds did you hear in the environment?

  • What was the closest sound?

  • What sound was far away?

Make a creature

Time: 15 - 20 mins

Resources: Items from nature such as leaves, sticks, rocks, gumnuts etc.

This activity works well following a listening challenge. Students may choose one of the animals that they heard (or saw) to recreate. Once the students decide what animal they will make, they are then given time to collect the items from nature that they will need. The students are then given time to create their animal. This can be done in pairs or individually. Scissors can be used to cut leaves into shapes.

The students' animal creations can be photographed as evidence of their work.

Teaching tips: Students need guidelines on safe handling of natural resources, eg. only collect items from nature that are already on the ground (ie don’t pick leaves or flowers); only take sticks smaller than your forearm.

Build a habitat

Time: 15 - 20 mins

Resources: Teddy bear or small world animal, natural resources (sticks, leaves, rocks).

This outdoor activity helps students learn about the needs of living things or animal adaptations.

A habitat is a place that provides an animal with everything it needs including plants for food, water to drink, air to breath and shelter.

Students are given an animal (either in groups, pairs or individually). They need to think about what this animal would need to survive. Then, in a natural space within your school grounds, the students are then invited to build a mini habitat for their animal. To do this they will be using the sticks and leaves and rocks that are already on the ground. What will their animal eat? Where will it find water? What shelter will it use?

Once the students have completed their habitat, the class may like to have a guided tour of the other habitats to promote further discussion and ideas.

Teaching tips: Students need guidelines on safe handling of natural resources, eg. only collect items from nature that are already on the ground (ie don’t pick leaves or flowers); only take sticks no bigger than your forearm.