Find a Park
Have you looked at your county or regional park website recently? If you go to it and find the list of parks near you, you might be surprised by how many opportunities are available to you to experience and enjoy nature.
I knew there were some parks in my county, but I didn’t realize how many there were until I began to research places where I could teach homeschool classes. The website listed a description for each park, and many of the parks had nature hiking trails. The same is true for the county where I grew … Read more
Would you like a way to add some curb appeal to your house and teach your kids about the environment at the same time? Why not plant natives in a container garden next to your front door?
Native plants benefit the environment because they provide food that native animals need. They benefit you because they’re adapted to the climate where you live. Once they’re established, they usually need less maintenance than non-native plants.
Container Garden Ideas
Since I’m new to gardening, I did some research about how to make container gardens. Here are a few simple ideas I picked up:… Read more
July’s theme at EI4K is place-based education (PBE). PBE gives you the tools to connect your child with a specific place in your community, help them to understand this place, and take action to improve it.
Environmental Education Connection
PBE ties in to environmental education because your child learns about the environment nearest to them first. The empathy gained for the local environment will gradually extend to the entire Earth as your child grows and becomes aware of the world around them.
Through PBE, your child can learn about the environment, history, and culture of a place. They can also … Read more
A few days ago, I found pictures I had taken when I worked as an environmental educator in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. In this collection, I saw one of my favorite photos from that year. I had taken my class to one of the ponds, and the students were sitting along the bank. They had their notebooks open, and they were writing about what they had observed during our recent activity.
Out of the three boys in the picture, two heads were bent down in concentration, and the third boy looked out ahead, as if he was … Read more
A couple of weeks ago, I was walking through an asphalt parking lot and saw a young boy about five years old following his parents. He crouched down, scooped up a handful of asphalt gravel in his little hand and shoved it into his pocket. I’m sure that decision required some explaining later, and hopefully the conversation took place before the shorts went through the wash.
Natural Treasures on Display
Besides the occasional handful of gravel, kids can enjoy collecting natural objects. When I was a kid, I kept containers filled with all sorts of treasures in the garage, and … Read more
Writing Japanese haiku poems is an effective strategy for combining science with language arts. Traditionally, nature was the subject of these poems.
Language Arts Connection
A haiku is made up of three lines. As you write them, you can teach or review how to count syllables. Each line has a certain number of syllables in it.
How to Write Haiku Poems
One version uses a pattern of 5-7-5 for the syllables. Here’s an example.
Rolling waves tickle
Soft sand slides under my feet
Pulled back to the sea
A simpler version uses a pattern of 3-5-3 for the syllables.
Red … Read more
The next time you get outside to explore nature, take your smart phone along and download the iNaturalist app. This app gives your child the opportunity to be a citizen scientist, which means professional scientists could use the information your child collects as part of their research.
Features of the iNaturalist App
- Satellite map that shows your location and plants/animals that have been discovered nearby. You can change the location to find out what’s been found in other places.
- Camera connection to take pictures of plants/animals and upload them. If you can’t identify them, other users can help.
- News updates,
… Read more
Finding out where water goes can be a fun adventure. For this activity, help your child find your house on a map, such as the satellite map in Google Maps. Locate the nearest waterway, and then follow its path on the map to see where it goes.
For example, the canal behind my house leads to a creek, which flows into an estuary, which is connected to the ocean. (You may need to research ahead of time to find out which direction the water flows.)
Then print out the map, get some paper and crayons or colored pencils, … Read more
Kids are full of questions. They point at something and want to know what it is or where it comes from or how it happens. This natural curiosity can lead them on a path of environmental exploration and knowledge-building.
Go Out and Explore
By taking your children on outdoor explorations, you can provide opportunities for them to ask questions about the world around them. Go to the beach or a forest or a park. If you live in the city, you can walk and observe anything living, such as ants or birds, or nonliving objects, like rocks. Take a notepad … Read more