It’s definitely spring here in the northeast! Daffodils are up, forsythia are blooming, and the kids have (just a touch of) spring fever! Here are some ways to take advantage of the warmer weather and have your science classes outdoors!
Take your students on a nature walk around your school or in a nearby park. Encourage them to observe the plants, animals, and other natural features they see along the way. Have them record their observations in a notebook. Provide them with field guides or identification apps to help them identify the different species they encounter. Give them scavenger hunt bingo cards (yellow flower bud, crawling insect, segmented worm, animal track, burrow, exposed root, evidence of erosion, plastic water bottle…)and challenge them to find 5 things in a row.
Check out the soil in your community. Is it light or dark colored? Does it feel sandy, loamy or clay-like? Is it fine or coarse? Compacted or loose and crumbly? Dig a small hole and observe the change in profiles. How does the color, water, and root content change as soil gets deeper? Take the pH of the soil or any body of water you have nearby.
Bird watching is a fun and easy way to introduce your students to the world of ornithology. Provide them with binoculars and field guides to identify the different birds they see. Have them take notes on the birds’ physical characteristics, behavior, and habitat. Connect what they see to natural selection, animal habitats, or genetics.
Set up a weather station in your schoolyard and have your students record the daily weather conditions. Have them track temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, and precipitation. Give them pictures of the different types of clouds and see if they can identify the clouds today. Over time, they can analyze the data they collect and look for patterns and trends.
Water Quality Testing
If you have a nearby pond or stream, have your science class outdoors and let your students test the water quality. Have them measure pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature, and other parameters to determine the health of the ecosystem. This is a great way to teach your students about the importance of environmental conservation.
Take your students on a stargazing adventure! Teach them about the constellations, planets, and other celestial objects visible in the night sky. Set up telescopes or binoculars to get a closer look at the moon and stars. For a quick overview of what’s up in the sky tonight, check out the AstroGuy Podcast.
Any way you design it, a lovely spring day is a perfect day to have your science class outdoors!