Changing weather, cooler temperatures, and color changes are all signs of the arrival of fall. There's something magical about the colors, sounds, and smells of fall. Students often find themselves more engaged in learning when they are surrounded by the beauty of nature. Whether it's studying the changing colors of leaves, identifying different animals, or learning about the life cycle of a pumpkin, outdoor lessons are inherently captivating.
Fresh air and natural surroundings can help improve students' focus and stimulate their creativity. Studies have shown that spending time outdoors can boost cognitive function and problem-solving skills, making outdoor classrooms an ideal setting for critical thinking activities.
Spending time outdoors has been linked to improved mental health and reduced stress levels. Fall's cool, crisp air and the calming influence of nature can help students feel more relaxed and connected to the world around them.
The hands on experiences and fresh air also invigorate students and engage them in their learning.
Fall is the perfect time to encourage physical activity among students. Hiking, nature walks, and outdoor games not only promote exercise but also foster teamwork and social interaction. Getting students moving in a natural setting can help overcome the hours of sitting in classrooms and keep them engaged.
There are many different subjects that can be taught outdoors. Each of these add a real world element to the students' learning and experience. Integrating social studies and science activities into your fall outdoor learning adventures can provide a well-rounded educational experience. To further enrich your fall outdoor learning adventures, try incorporating some math and language activities into the mix.
Here are some suggestions for social studies, science, math, and language arts that might be of interest.
• visiting local historical landmarks
* learning about fall harvest and traditions
• using maps and doing a geography scavenger hunt
• leaf identification activities
• studying the pumpkin life cycle
• weather monitoring
• learning about weathering and erosion
* keeping a nature journal
• stream study
• learning about seed dispersements
• nature math scavenger hunt
• using measurement skills outdoors
• fall data collection
• outdoor poetry writing
• nature journaling with descriptive writing
• vocabulary scavenger hunt (looking for examples in nature)
• reading fall themed books
Here are some preparation tips that will help make your outdoor sessions successful.
Select an outdoor location that suits your curriculum and learning objectives. Local parks, forested areas, the seashore, or even your school's own outdoor spaces can be transformed into effective learning environments. Make sure students are dressed appropriately for the fall weather. Layers, hats, and gloves are essential to keep everyone comfortable during outdoor lessons.
Tailor your lessons to incorporate the unique features of fall. Explore topics like the changing colors of leaves, the science behind falling leaves, the life cycle of pumpkins, or even Halloween-themed literature.
Bring technology outdoors by using tablets or smartphones for nature observation apps or taking pictures to document findings. This can enhance the learning experience and provide opportunities for digital storytelling.
Make sure that your plans are flexible and adaptable as the weather can be unpredictable and you may need to make changes quickly.
With preparation ahead of time and some back up ideas in case of change, getting outside to learn is worth the effort and will benefit your students.
Embracing the great outdoors during the fall season is a fantastic way to enhance your students' learning experience. The benefits of outdoor education are numerous, from improved engagement and focus to enhanced physical and mental well-being. By incorporating nature into your curriculum, you can create unforgettable learning moments and inspire a lifelong love for the natural world in your students. So, this fall, take your class outside and let the wonders of the season become your classroom.
Happy outdoor learning!
The first weeks of school can be exhausting and overwhelming both for students and for teachers. It is important to make sure that these days are a mix of activities that help with the transition back into work mode, are fun and engaging, and also slowly reintroduce academic skills and concepts.
One of the most important goals is to create a positive and engaging learning environment where your students feel safe and the classroom community is one of respect and caring for each other. Here are 10 activities to consider:
1. Icebreaker Activities: Plan icebreaker activities to help your students get to know one another and build a sense of community. These can include "All About Me" presentations, "Find Someone Who", sharing circles, or partner interviews. Encourage students to share their interests, hobbies, and goals for the school year.
2. Establish Classroom Rules: Collaboratively develop classroom rules with your students. Discuss the importance of respect, responsibility, and cooperation. Create visual reminders of the rules and involve your students in creating a classroom rules display.
3. Name Games and All About Me Activities: Use name games and activities to help your students learn and remember each other's names. Play name games, create name tags, or use interactive name charts. Do activities that help them to share information about themselves. Create "All About Me" posters, collages, or shields. Try combining name acrostics with interests.
4. Daily Routines: Teach and practice daily routines and procedures, such as entering the classroom, morning routines, transitions, lining up, and using materials. Model and practice these routines to ensure a smooth flow of the school day.
5. Team Building Activities: Include team-building activities to encourage cooperation and collaboration. Assign the students group tasks or problem-solving activities that require them to work together and share ideas. This helps build relationships, create a supportive classroom community, and develop important social skills.
6. Classroom Jobs or Responsibilities: Introduce classroom jobs and allow your students to take on responsibilities within the classroom. Assign age-appropriate tasks such as line leader, librarian, or materials organizer. This encourages a sense of responsibility, promotes leadership skills, and helps them feel valued and involved in the classroom community.
7. Growth Mindset Activities: Teach and reinforce the concept of a growth mindset through activities and discussions. Help your students understand that their abilities can be developed through effort, perseverance, and a positive attitude. Engage in discussions about challenges, mistakes, and the power of "yet" (e.g., "I can't do it yet, but I will keep trying").
8. Math and Literacy Centers: Set up math and literacy centers with hands-on activities that review or reinforce skills previously taught. These centers can include puzzles, manipulatives, sorting activities, or small-group games that focus on essential concepts.
9. Arts and Craft Projects: Plan arts and craft projects that allow your students to express their creativity and personalize their learning environment. This can include creating classroom banners, designing name tags, or decorating bulletin boards with collaborative artwork.
10. Brain Breaks: It is important to include energizing brain breaks throughout the day to help your students stay focused and engaged. These can include quick physical activities, stretches, or movement-based games that allow them to recharge their energy.
Remember to create a balanced schedule that includes a mix of academic, social emotional, and community building activities during the first weeks of school.
These activities will help your students feel connected, engaged, and excited about the learning journey ahead. They may also help lessen your teacher overwhelm and stress as you make connections and develop relationships with your students.
Story books have a special way of capturing our children's imaginations and teaching them important life lessons. They can help our kids understand and care about other people's feelings, appreciate diversity, and feel good about themselves. In fact, story books can be powerful tools for helping children develop empathy, learn acceptance, and build confidence.
Special Story Books For Developing Empathy, Acceptance, and Self Confidence
One of the great things about story books is how they make us feel. When children read stories, they connect with the characters and start to understand their own emotions better. This connection helps them show kindness and understanding towards others. Here are some of my collection that I used every year to help build a positive classroom environment.
Each of these books tackles important themes such as self-acceptance, embracing individuality, standing up against bullying, and navigating cultural differences. They provide opportunities for discussions about empathy, understanding, and inclusivity, encouraging children to appreciate diversity and embrace their own unique qualities.
Books About Anxiety And Self Acceptance
In "A Bad Case of Stripes" by David Shannon., Camilla Cream loves lima beans but she is afraid of what others will think. She develops a strange case of stripes that changes with her emotions. Through this colorful and imaginative tale, the book addresses themes of self-acceptance, embracing one's true identity, and overcoming the fear of judgment.
In "Woolbur" by Leslie Helakoski, Woolbur, a free-spirited sheep dares to be different. Woolbur's unique personality and refusal to conform to the flock's expectations inspire children to embrace their creativity, think independently, and celebrate their own quirks. The book encourages kids to express themselves authentically and embrace their individuality.
In "Wemberly Worried" by Kevin Henkes, Wemberly worries about everything. This is a heartwarming and reassuring story that teaches children important lessons about managing their worries and finding comfort in relationships with others.
Books About Problem Solving And Considering Other Perspectives
Story books also provide opportunities for problem-solving. Through the characters' challenges and dilemmas, children learn to think critically, consider different perspectives, and make choices that consider others' feelings.
Howard B. Wigglebottom is a beloved character in a series of children's books by Howard Binkow. Howard is a young rabbit who encounters various situations and learns important life lessons throughout the series. Here are some of the lessons that Howard B. Wigglebottom has learned:
In "Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen," Howard discovers the value of active listening. He realizes that listening attentively to others is essential for understanding, learning, and building positive relationships.
In "Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart", Howard learns about the importance of trusting his instincts and listening to his inner voice. Through relatable situations, Howard discovers the value of following his passions, making choices based on what feels right, and being true to himself.
In "Howard B. Wigglebottom and the Power of Giving", joy and fulfillment that comes from giving and helping others is emphasized. Howard discovers the positive impact of acts of kindness, sharing, and generosity, teaching children the value of empathy and making a difference in the lives of others.
These stories featuring Howard B. Wigglebottom are designed to engage young readers and provide them with valuable life lessons in an accessible and relatable manner. The character's experiences and growth inspire children to develop important social and emotional skills, promoting positive behaviors, empathy, and good character.
Bucket Filling Books
Here are several different books that focus on bucket filling. Bucket filling is a concept that promotes kindness, empathy, and positive behavior. The idea behind bucket filling is that everyone has an invisible bucket that represents their emotional well-being. When we engage in acts of kindness, empathy, and encouragement, we "fill" someone's bucket, including our own, and promote a positive and caring environment. Conversely, negative actions, such as unkind words or bullying, can "dip" into someone's bucket and diminish their emotional well-being.
Dealing With Teasing And Bullying
Story books create a safe and imaginative space for children to explore complex emotions and social situations. They provide a platform for conversations in the classroom, where children can share their thoughts and learn from others' perspectives.
"Oliver Button Is a Sissy" by Tomie dePaola, tells the story of Oliver Button, a boy who faces teasing and criticism because he enjoys activities traditionally associated with girls, such as dancing. Oliver finds strength and self-acceptance in pursuing his passion despite societal expectations, teaching children the importance of being true to oneself and embracing individuality.
"The Recess Queen" by Alexis O'Neill, tackles the issue of bullying in a relatable and engaging way. It follows the story of Mean Jean, the recess queen, who dominates the playground with her intimidating behavior. When a new girl named Katie Sue arrives, she challenges Mean Jean's reign by extending kindness and friendship. The book promotes inclusivity, empathy, and the power of friendship.
Books About Self Worth
By using story books in the classroom, we can engage children in meaningful ways. We can teach them to understand and care about others, accept and appreciate differences, and develop a positive sense of self.
These Max Lucado books for kids are known for their engaging storytelling, vibrant illustrations, and uplifting messages. They aim to inspire children with the principles of faith, love, acceptance, and self-worth, while also fostering their spiritual growth and understanding. The books provide an opportunity for parents, caregivers, and educators to share valuable life lessons with children in an accessible and enjoyable way.
Overcoming Obstacles And Cultural Diversity
Story books inspire children to believe in themselves and overcome challenges. Characters who face obstacles show kids that they too have inner strength and can navigate life's ups and downs.
"Angel Child Dragon Child" by Michele Maria Surat, tells the story of a young Vietnamese girl named Ut who moves to the United States and faces challenges as she adapts to a new culture and language. The book highlights Ut's resilience, the importance of family support, and the strength found in embracing one's cultural heritage while navigating new experiences.
"The Name Jar" by Yangsook Cho, explores themes of identity, cultural diversity, and acceptance. It follows a young Korean girl, Unhei, who moves to the United States and contemplates changing her name to fit in. Through Unhei's journey, the book teaches children the value of embracing their heritage and appreciating the differences in others.
Story books give children a chance to think about their own experiences and emotions. By reflecting on these stories, children become more aware of their own feelings, strengths, and worth.
They feature characters who exhibit positive behaviors like kindness and resilience. These characters become role models for children, teaching them valuable lessons and helping them feel good about themselves.
In "7 Habits For Happy Kids" by Sean Covey, children are introduced to seven essential habits that can help them develop a positive mindset, build healthy relationships, and make responsible choices. It teaches kids about setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and taking personal responsibility. The book empowers children to become proactive, confident, and happy individuals.
These are just a few of many books out there that help develop a nurturing environment that fosters empathy, acceptance, and sef-esteem in children. By choosing meaningful stories, having open discussions, and encouraging empathy and self-reflection, we can help children grow into kind and confident individuals.
Here is a template that will help children to share their feelings and connections to the stories that they read. Get a free copy by signing up to my newsletter.
Let's continue to embrace the power of story books. Each story we read plants seeds of kindness and acceptance in our children's hearts. Together, we can nurture a generation of empathetic and accepting individuals who celebrate diversity and believe in themselves.
Sometimes it can be challenging to find activities that engage kids as the school year ends or during the summer. Puzzles are fun to do and they help keep kids active and learning at the same time whether they are at school or at home. They can also be done at many different times of the year.
Puzzles can be great for challenging our brains
Puzzles can be fun to solve and they challenge our brains to think. They are a great way to make connections between what we know and what we want to learn or discover. They can be big or small, intricate or simple, for groups or for individuals.They can be done indoors or outdoors depending on the type of puzzle used.
Types of puzzles
There are many different types of puzzles available. Some require following clues, other require manipulating pieces. Some can be done wherever you are, and some require moving around or going to other locations. The type of puzzle you choose will depend on who is going to be solving it, what the purpose of the puzzle is, and how much time is available for it. If you are going to other locations, method of travel may also need to be factored in.
Here are some examples of different types of puzzle:
• puzzle hunt with encrypted codes
• following a timeline or identifying key objects or events
• scavenger clues hunt
• team puzzle hunt (In class or with other classes)
• unpublished geocache
Puzzle hunt with encrypted codes
This can be done in many ways. One of the simplest is to find different signs in an area and find the hidden word on each sign to lead you to the answer.
I recently did one of these with a group of students. It was done with smartphones, but it doesn't have to be that sophisticated. Pen and paper can work just as well. We moved around a park that had rocks with quotes on them. We needed to figure out the codes by counting lines and letters on each rock. The kids were broken up into groups of 4 and they were given a time limit to complete the challenge.
Solving math equations or answering questions to find the codes could be added for a more difficult form of puzzle hunt.
Following a timeline or identifying key objects or events (like in a local museum)
Following a timeline or identifying key objects or events (like in a local museum)
This could be as simple as going through an exhibit and putting events in the correct order, or answering questions about different objects located there. Questions or clues could be prepared ahead of time, and on a field trip to the museum they could be used as a tool for gathering information to be discussed as a follow up to the trip.
Create a scavenger clue hunt
Create a scavenger hunt for home or for the classroom that requires finding different clues for the final reward. Here is a sample from one that my granddaughter and I made for her younger brother and sister.
I have created a free template for you so you can make up your own scavenger hunt.
Team puzzle hunt
The class can be divided into groups of 4 and create riddles or clues for objects in the room and then have other groups hunt for the object. This could also be expanded to objects in the school as a whole and other classes could be invited to participate in solving the puzzles.
Using coordinates in the school vicinity, or a neighboring park or forested area, plan a geocaching adventure for your students. You can either hide more than one geocache and give different coordinates to each group of students, or you could create a multi-cache where they must find information to move on to the next location until they arrive at the final cache. If you make it an unpublished geocache, you can remove it afterwards and you won't need to ensure that it is far enough from other published geocaches.
Puzzles can be lots of fun, but they are also great ways to get outdoors and use critical thinking skills.
As the weather begins to warm up and the sunshine brightens our days, other things can warm our heart as well. This is the time of year to think about special people and all that they have done for us. From caring for us to little acts of kindness, we have been blessed to have these people in our lives.
Special Days For Special People
Some of the most popular special celebrations at this time of the year are Mother's Day, Father's Day, Teacher Appreciation Day/Week, and Volunteer Appreciation. Here are a few ideas and resources to help with these celebrations.
Mother's Day/Father's Day
As family dynamics change, it makes it more difficult to focus on some celebrations, Mother's Day and Father's Day are two that have been traditionally celebrated over the years and time has been spent making gifts and cards at school for these special days.
However, it is more complicated now and we need to take into consideration those who might find this a challenge and help them to feel included and comfortable participating. If a mother or father is not part of the picture, a special lady or special man in the person's life can be the focus instead.
Mother's Day (Special Lady)
There are many special women that can be acknowledged on this day. They may be mothers, grandmothers, aunts, step mothers, foster mothers, friends of the family, neighbors, or even teachers. These women are special for various different reasons, but they are important in our lives. If a child has more than one "mother figure" and wishes to celebrate these special ladies, it's important to give them that opportunity.
Here are some resources that may be of interest for Mother's Day.
Mother's Day Certificates
Mother's Day Booklets And Cards
Special Mother's Day Coupons And Acrostic
Special Day Coupons, Templates And Acrostics (for mothers, fathers, and generic)
Father's Day (Special Man)
As with mothers, kids may want to celebrate different special men in their lives. They may be fathers, grandfathers, uncles, step fathers, foster fathers, friends of the family, neighbors, or even teachers. These men provide different roles in their lives, but they are important to the child. Opportunities need to be provided to acknowledge them as well.
Here are some resources that may be of interest for Father's Day.
Father's Day Cards For Dads And Other Special Men
Father's Day Cards And Posters
Special Day Coupons, Templates And Acrostics (for mothers, fathers, and generic)
Teacher Appreciation Day/Week
Teachers do so much for our children. It is only fitting that they be celebrated. They have had a tough time during these last few years dealing with the pandemic and the residual effects of varied learning experiences as a result. They continue to show up and give their all every day, even when they are struggling. Teacher appreciation day or week, depending on where you are, is just a small acknowledgement of their impact on our children's lives. Every little thank you token of appreciation is special to them. Don't forget to let them know how much you appreciate them.
Support staff and educational assistants are also important and should be included in these celebrations. There are so many things they do to help teachers and support learning.
Many schools have volunteer appreciation days or teas to thank volunteers for all they do for the school. This could be the parent groups, classroom helpers, individual parents, or people from the community. All of these people help the programs and school run better. Helpers are always needed, and we want to make sure they are not taken for granted.
Every school or district is different, but here is an example from what we have done at our school.
The classes would meet in the gymnasium and the volunteers would be invited to enter after every class was there. The students would give them a standing ovation as they entered the gym. This would be followed by some entertainment and then a strawberry tea. The students would be in class or outside playing while the tea was happening. The senior students would serve the volunteers.
Place mats and thank you cards were made for the tables. Plants were also provided to decorate and then take home.
Here are some place mats and thank you cards that I created for use at our tea.
Helping Hands Thank You Notes
Whatever the special occasion, it's a chance to say thank you and let people know that you appreciate them. So many times people feel taken for granted and this little acknowledgement can warm their hearts and help them to keep going.
Thank you to all the special people in my life. You have given me so much and I truly am blessed to have you as part of my life. I may not say it often enough, but I do appreciate you.
Life is a series of give and take and in math class, this is also true. We give and take when we work with addition and subtraction and it is important that we learn how to do this well in order to be able to apply skills to real life situations.
Last week I focused on addition strategies for basic facts. Today I would like to look at subtraction strategies. You may notice there are many similarities between the two.
As with addition, I recommend starting with manipulatives such as base ten blocks, number lines, ten frames. These visuals will help the strategies make sense for many children.
Deciding what strategy to use will be different for each person, but in order to be able to choose, it is important to be introduced to a variety of strategies and have opportunities to practice them. Here are 6 strategies you might find helpful.
Just like in addition, zero is a special number for subtraction. Zero can be subtracted from a number and leave the same number or it can be the answer when a number is subtracted from the same number. When kids see a zero they should be able to automatically recognize this fact. It will come in very handy when they start to use larger numbers.
If you have a ruler or a number line, you can use a counting back strategy to figure out the subtraction question for basic facts. It is possible to do it for larger numbers as well, but it is not a very efficient strategy for subtracting double digit numbers.
Place your finger on the first number and count back the number of spaces of the second number to get your answer. If you use a pencil and paper with a number line, you can actually draw the steps backward. This will help to avoid getting lost or miscounting.
Related facts help when you know one fact and need to figure out the other fact. When you look at the question, think about the related fact to figure out the answer. Sometimes it is easier for us to figure out the related fact and then solve the question. It's just the way our brain works sometimes.
If you are taking away an amount that doubles to equal the first number of the subtraction question, then the answer will be the same as the amount taken away. This strategy depends on how well one knows the doubles facts.
Looking For Tens
With basic facts, tens can be a useful strategy. For instance, if you know the different combinations of numbers that equal ten, you can use fact family triangles or number bonds to figure out the different subtraction questions. If you are subtracting using a ten frame, colored objects or circles help you to see how many are remaining. See the image below as an example. For larger numbers up to 20, you could use a couple of ten frames.
Change To Addition
Sometimes it's easier to think of the question in addition rather than subtraction. You can also apply addition strategies to this. For instance, in the example below you could use doubles plus one to figure it out, or you could count on to get the answer.
Once the basic subtraction facts are well practiced, moving on to double digit subtraction and more complex questions requiring regrouping will make more sense.
Next time I will talk more about double digit addition and subtraction and strategies that will help these make sense.
When I was first introduced to using glyphs in math, I'll admit I was a little dubious. It seemed more like an art project than a math tool. But once I saw the benefits of using glyphs, I was sold!
What are glyphs?
Glyphs are pictures with characteristics that represent different responses, which can be extremely helpful for visual learners. And because they're picture-based, they can also be a lot of fun!
There are all sorts of glyphs out there, from traditional sun and star shapes to more modern emoji-style pictures. Many glyphs are used in our environment to represent different places, objects, and rules.
How to use glyphs
For math, glyphs are great for comparing, contrasting and counting data based on the attributes in the image. Each attribute can be used to represent a different response. For example, a pumpkin has different shapes, eyes, mouths and number of teeth. The shape or style of these attributes can represent answers to questions such as what is your favorite food?
This is a fun way for students to learn how to interpret data and make math more engaging. Plus, it's a great way to sneak in some extra Halloween fun!
Sometimes glyphs are created by selecting different parts or images and putting them together to create the picture. Here are some examples of this type of glyph.
Other times, glyphs are drawn based on the attributes that match the responses to the questions. Here is an example of this.
The purpose of glyphs
Regardless of the type of glyph chosen, the purpose is the same - to interpret data. They are great for learning how to interpret data from the attributes and how they correspond to the questions.
The purpose of the glyph can also be connected to various themes or subjects. A bookmark could be created to share things about a person such as hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. An animal could be used to learn more about pets or animals that have been encountered, etc. A book might show what types of books or characters are favorites. You can create you own shapes and themes based on your needs and creativity.
.As you can see, glyphs can be used for many different purposes. Once they are created, post them on the board and let the data interpretation begin.
If you are interested in trying out some glyphs, here is a guide that might help. It is free for my subscribers. Click on the image to get your copy.
Glyphs make math fun and engaging for kids, which is a great way to get them interested in learning about data interpretation. The possibilities with glyphs are endless.
Watching A Seed Grow
There's nothing quite like watching a plant grow. It's a miracle of life that never gets old, no matter how many times you see it. And there's no better place to see it than in the classroom, with a bunch of curious kids who are just as excited as you are. Seeing the wonder in their eyes as they observe the tiny seedlings sprouting up and then getting to watch them monitor the plant's progress day after day is truly a magical experience.
Seasons And Seeds
Spring is a great time to get seeds started for planting outside and growing fruits and vegetables throughout the summer. Watching that little seed that started its life in the classroom grow to maturity and produce food to eat is incredulous. Imagine one little seed producing an entire tree full of apples or a garden full of beans or other produce.
Fall can also be a good time to plant some seeds in the classroom. For example, if you plant a pumpkin seed at the beginning of the new school year, depending on the variety, it might produce a pumpkin in time for Halloween. Imagine growing your own Jack-o-lantern!
Potatoes are another plant that would be great to watch in the fall. It can start producing tubers and then stay dormant through the winter and continue growing in the spring. This would be a terrific way to see how some plants are fast growing and others are slow growing. It would also help kids to see that some plants produce underground.
Activities For Learning About Plants
Here are some different activities that you might like to try during your study of the plant life cycle.
1. Take an empty dvd case and put a bit of soil in it. Place a bean seed in the soil and moisten the seed and soil. Close up the case and place it near a window. Watch as the seed begins to sprout and produce roots. When it is about to produce leaves, remove it from the dvd case and plant it in a pot of soil. Continue to add water and watch it as it grows into a plant. Transplant it into the garden and continue to watch as the beans appear.
2. Put a potato that has sprouts (eyes) growing out of it into a large pot with some soil. Water it and watch it as it begins to produce leaves. Take note of the tubers when you transplant it into a garden area or larger pot. The kids will be amazed to see small potatoes growing underground.
3. Gather seeds from different fruits and vegetables and dry them. Plant them in the spring and watch to see which ones grow into new plants. Do experiments to see what happens when you add too much water, not enough water, not enough sunlight, etc.
4. Do art activities to show how the life cycle works and the various stages a seed goes through before it becomes a mature plant. For example: Cut out shapes from construction paper to represent each of the stages of the life cycle and make a life cycle mobile. Write on each shape which stage of the plant life cycle it represents.
With these plant life cycle activities, your students are sure to have a blast while learning about plants!
Plant Life Cycle Resources
Here are some resources that I created to help with studying various plant life cycles. They include worksheets about plant needs, the life cycle of the plant, and types of plants. Each resource also includes an observation journal for that plant. You can check them out by clicking the images below.
Teaching plant life cycle activities are not only fun, but they're also educational. They help kids learn about the different stages of plant growth and development. They also learn about where our food comes from, how different animals rely on plants for survival, and the important role that plants play in our ecosystem.
By incorporating plant life cycle activities into your lesson plans, you can help your students learn about these important concepts in a fun and engaging way. Plus, they'll always remember the time when they got to watch their very own plants grow!
Have fun watching the wonder in your students' eyes as they observe their tiny seeds sprout and become plants.
Teaching Outdoors In The Fall
It's back to school time again, but that doesn't mean you need to stay inside the classroom. Get outside and enjoy nature, exercise, and fresh air before it is too wet or cold and inside recess becomes the norm.
Science topics and ideas for outdoor study
Fall is the perfect time for science lessons for outdoors. There are many science topics that can be covered including plant life cycles, the water cycle, and the effects of weather.
Think of all the amazing questions you can investigate and discuss. Here are a few examples:
Why is it called Fall?
What causes the leaves to change color and fall off the trees?
What are seasons? Why are there four?
Why do we set the clocks back an hour in the fall?
Fun Science Activities To Do
1. Take a nature walk and collect leaves of different colors. Talk about the different shapes, sizes, and textures of the leaves.
2. Visit a pumpkin patch or apple orchard. Talk about how pumpkins and apples grow.
Compare the different types of apples: some are good for eating, some for baking, and some for cider.
3. Rake leaves into a big pile and jump in! Then, use leaf blowers to blow the leaves into the air.
Kids will love playing in the pile of leaves and learning about wind power.
4. Go on a scavenger hunt. Look for acorns, pine cones, rocks, and other objects.
Talk about the different colors, sizes, and shapes of the objects you find.
These are just a few ideas – there are endless possibilities for learning about science outdoors in the fall! So put on your jacket and get outside – it's time to learn!
Take Math Lessons Outdoors
Math is another area that can be adapted to outdoor study. Think of all the data collection activities you can do. Comparing, contrasting, and classifying activities can be endless depending on what you choose to collect.
You can even create glyphs for data collected. These could be follow up activities for outside lessons.
You could create a tree with leaves falling. The colors of the leaves, number of leaves left on the tree, shape of the leaves and number of branches could all represent different attributes of data collection.
If creating a glyph is something you would like to try, grab my free glyph templates.
Sign up for Diamond Mom's Treasury email list and get your free copy.
More ideas and activities
Geometry and measurement activities can also be done outdoors. There are many different shapes in our environment. A scavenger hunt or neighborhood walk would be a great way to find examples of the various 2D and 3D shapes. Area and perimeter are effective measurement activities to try outdoors. It could be fun to measure the school field, playground area, or the school building and then graph them.
Many other subject areas could work well outside. Geography and mapping skills are some of my favorite. Check out this post for a few ideas for social studies outdoors.
Many lessons can be tailored to any grade level and can be adapted to fit the needs of any class size. With a little creativity, lessons outdoors can be an enjoyable and educational experience for all.
So hurry up, beat the inside recess rush, and get outside to learn.
Combining Geometry And Measurement
Geometry and measurement activities can be fun to combine in outdoor experiences for practical applications and real life examples. This is another way to take learning outdoors during the warmer weather.
Learning How To Measure
First, it is important to learn how to measure with standard units of measure. This may be customary units or metric units, depending on what is standard where you live. If you are looking for some anchor charts or guides to help with this check out my measurement category.
There are so many different ways to have fun learning to measure items. Here are a few ideas.
Are you a rectangle or a square? Is your arm span equal to your height making you a square, or is it shorter or longer making you a rectangle? I love using this activity as a family activity for student led conferences.
Who can find the most? Use a measuring tape and try to find as many items as possible that are 10 cm or 4 inches long in the classroom. This can be a group or partner activity.
How much does this container hold? Have an assortment of containers of different shapes and see which hold the most liquid. This can be a fun way to guess liquid volumes.
Which weighs more? Use a scale and measure different groups of objects to see which are heavier. These could be classroom objects such as books, blocks, or backpacks.
Once they are comfortable with measurement units and how to use them, it will be time to add in another component. Learning about perimeter and area is an important skill and a great tool for taking outdoors for practical applications.
Start with practicing how to calculate perimeter and area of objects and show how they got their answers, Use examples on paper and work with graph paper to help distinguish given measurements.
After they practice with scaled drawings, it would be fun to try doing larger measurements outside. As an extension, they could also use graph paper and learn how to measure the school yard, the building, the playground, the fenced area, etc. and record it on the graph paper.
Geometry In The Environment
It will also be necessary to do some work with geometry activities to prepare for outdoor applications. It is important to be able to recognize 2D shapes and 3D shapes. Once the shapes are identified, then activities can be done to find them in the environment. These can be matching activities, bingo, geometry building activities, and even geometry worksheets.
If you are looking for some resources to help with this, check out my geometry category.
Once the kids have an understanding of the basics of measurement and geometry, it is time to put it all together and take it outdoors. For most of the measurement situations, linear measurement will probably be used, but it is possible to do some mass or volume as extensions if wanted.
You can have some specific geometry and measurement tasks ready, but it might also be fun to have the kids choose some of their own to try. The goal is to help them to see ways to use geometry and measurement skills in the real world, so if they are able to create some of the tasks, this is a great way to see if they have mastered the concepts.
Have fun taking math outdoors. I would love to hear about your adventures.
About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.