Emma Olsen working with Brooklyn Lawson
Front: Brooklyn Lawson, Kora Havel, Kolt Songster, Tommy Kallhoff, Braxton Harre, Saydee Kassik, Anton Classen, and Archer Engert
Back: Briana Capek, Kole Svec, Braden Capek, Casey Underwood, Cameran Jansky, and Emma Olsen.
Outdoor Education Day
By Marla Weber, Exeter-Milligan Second Grade Instructor
On September 25, second graders and biology II students from Exeter-Milligan took to the outdoors for their day of learning. This day, called Outdoor Education Day, was a day filled with nature-related activities and learning. Preparation began long before this day. Miss Sliefert, high school biology II teacher, and Mrs. Weber, second grade teacher, met to discuss topics for the day. Teaching units were prepared with objectives for students’ learning. Next, high school biology II students scanned the teacher-prepared packets and continued research on the topic to be taught. Necessary materials were gathered for the lessons. Second graders prepared for this day by learning about plants, animals and different habitats to gain background information. Finally, these two groups of students met at Gilbert Park in Exeter. Biology II students led the lessons with second graders rotating around the centers. EM biology II student, Brianna Capek stated, “This is like a full circle because we did this as second graders and now, as juniors, we are leading it. It’s cool.”
Throughout the day, students measured their shadows and compared their results. Centers at this year’s Outdoor Education Day included: wind, recycling, tracks, water cycle and oceans in a bottle, insects, tree rings, eat like a bird and bird feeders, rainsticks and senses. The day also included nature-related games like Bat and Moth, Hug-a-tree and a scavenger hunt. Grade 2 student, Kolt Songster remarked, “It doesn’t even feel like school because this is so awesome.”
Journal time at each center ended that session as was a way to measure what elementary students learned. High school students were evaluated on the presentation and preparedness of their lesson.
Some may ask, why is class time spent outdoors learning about nature? Research shows that contact with nature can enhance creativity, bolster mood, lower stress, improve mental acuity and productivity, cultivate social connectedness, and promote physical activity. It also offers a wealth of educational benefits for teaching and learning. Archer Engert summed up his day of learning about nature by saying, “This was the best day ever.”