In the Northern Hemisphere, we are (finally!) heading into spring – the nights are still chilly, but the days are creeping up into near 70 degrees F today. My Southern Hemisphere friends and readers are enjoying the shift to autumn weather. The sudden changes in both spring and fall make them excellent times to move your science instruction outdoors. Whether you are a homeschooling family with adolescent children, a parent with a tiny tot in tow, or a classroom teacher with 20 winter-tired faces looking at you, you can take advantage of nature as your classroom, for only 15 minutes a day.
Getting Started With Nature Study
For those of you who are just dipping your toes into the world of nature, here are some excellent resources to help you get it off the ground.
- “8 Reasons to Do Nature Study” reviews the rationale behind including nature study in your instruction, from laying the groundwork for more formal studies later on, to enhancing students’ inquiry skills, to increasing their overall health, just by getting outside more.
- In “Getting Started With Nature Study,” my friend and fellow nature lover, Barb McCoy, gently guides teachers and families into the routine of nature study, through ten simple lessons.
- When I first started homeschooling, I put together “Nature Study,” a lesson template I use to build a day’s instruction around a 15 minute outdoor excursion.
Building a Nature Study Library
Over the years, I have read many homeschool and outdoor education blogs on nature study, and I have compiled what I find to be the most commonly used nature study “texts” among all users. These books get used so frequently in my house that they rarely get put away. I personally own all of these books, and highly recommend them, for any nature study setting, and any grade level. Click on the individual photos for information on ordering them directly from this page.
[Note: The field guides here are suitable for the northeastern part of the United States, where I live. Choose the field guide that matches your own region.]
Writing and Nature Study
Science and nature study provide rich opportunities for student writing. Here are some resources that you might find helpful, when pushing writing into your science instruction.
- The Essentials of Science and Literacy provides step by step rationale and ideas for building a culture of inquiry in your classroom, creating and using science notebooks, and talk as work.
- In “How to Organize Your Nature Notebook Pages,” Barb McCoy gives really practical advice on getting the most power out of your nature notebook (she has awesome ideas).
- I share some ideas and research on the role of drawing in science, in “Sketching for Understanding.”
Debra Reed, at NotebookingPages.com, has created an amazing assortment of pages that can be used for science and nature notebooking and journaling. We have found pages for just about any topic you’d like to study, and have had a membership for many years. From now until April 30, she is holding several promotions. For more information, coupons and a free gift, click on the link, or ad, below. NotebookingPages.com Free Nature Study Gift, 50% Coupon, & Prize Giveaway
[Note: This post contains affiliate links. I received nothing for mentioning these products, and personally have purchased all of them for my own use as a homeschooler and teacher. I never promote a product I do not currently use or wouldn’t consider purchasing. ]