Let's Go Outside! Distance Learning Activities
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Let's Go Outside Rules:
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1. Make sure you have permission to be outside! Parents must know where you are and they must approve of the activity.
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2. Always take your Nature Journal or a notebook with you so you can record your observations.
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3. Leave nature with nature: if you find it outside, leave it outside for another creature to use or for another person to observe.
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4. Leave No Trace: The only thing that you should leave behind on your adventures is footprints.
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5. Stay on paths if they are available! Remember, March through August is "Stay On The Path" time at the Wildlife Refuge because animals are raising their babies and using natural areas to build nests or hide their young. Click on the link below to view an album with some activity examples from my own Nature Journals.
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6. Use your judgement with these activities. You can repeat something you enjoyed earlier if the activity for the day is not something you want or are able to do. If the weather is icky, wear proper gear and go outside for a shorter period of time or do your observations through a window for the day. Any time spent outside is awesome!Outdoor Activity Journal PicturesFun Fact: Bird sightings are abbreviated with 4 letters. When you see GREG in my notes it means GReat EGret. DCCO means DOuble Crested COromorant. PUMA = PUrple MArtin RWBB = Red Winged Black Bird. My nature campers and I had way too much fun spotting GREGs and PUMAs in the sky. The running joke was to look at the sky and say, "Oh, hey GREG!" Haha!!
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Teachers: The directions/descriptions are how I envisioned explaining these activities to my students and my own children. Sometimes the attached link will be identical to what I have shared, sometimes it will be a resource, and sometimes it will just reference the activity or resource that sparked my idea. Also, ignore the grade level suggestions. There are levels provided for most of these, but the beauty of outdoor activities is that they can be leveled up or down very easily to fit the audience at hand. Remind students to follow the rule of 100 when gathering outside --> If there are 100 or more in one area, it is probably safe to take a sample (example: dropped needles). If there are only a few, I need to draw it to remember it, then leave it be (example: a single Lady Slipper plant). Our nature activities should never harm nature!Any resources linked below were shared with me during sharing/networking sessions during the numerous conferences I have attended. To my best knowledge, they were distributed with permission to use and share. Please contact me with any questions. Brenna Nyboer 5th-Grade teacher at Princeton Intermediate School brenna.nyboer@isd477.orgStudents with no access to a printer can set up their journal page before they go outside. They do not necessarily NEED every page. Feel Free to mix these up! I tried to plop activities into spaces that would be weather-appropriate and varied, but they are by no means LOCKED into place. Skip, substitute, rearrange, whatever you feel comfortable. I just want to encourage the students (and myself) to go outside.
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Week 1 Monday, March 30th Tuesday, Mar. 31st Wednesday, Apr. 1stThursday, April 2ndFriday, April 3rd
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Let's Go Outside Practice using your 5 senses to make observations. When you are outside, what are NATURAL things that you can see, hear, smell, and feel. Do not taste things for now. In your Nature Journal or a Notebook draw a line from top to bottom and side to side to divide the page into 4 sections. Give each box a label: See, Hear, Smell, Touch. (You could also substitute Amazes instead of touching if that is a concern.) Spend some time outside (10 minutes minimum) and see what you can write in each box. You can sit in one spot or walk around, but do it quietly so you do not miss details. Loosely based on the following lesson:In a notebook/Nature Journal, choose 3 to 5 places around your home, yard, or someplace you see on at least a weekly basis. Use words and pictures to describe what you see in those areas. What do you hear, smell, see? Make sure you choose areas that have NATURE to observe. Feel free to use a ruler or thermometer to take more data if you would like. Use lots of adjectives to make your recorded observations rich with detail.Sketching is such an important part of being a naturalist. The biggest thing to remember is that becoming good at sketching takes time, patience, and practice. We do not say things like, " I can't draw" or "I'm bad at drawing." We can say, "Mrs. Nyboer can draw as well as Mrs. Nyboer." We are all learning, we are all practicing, and every effort is appreciated when learning how to draw. For this activity, encourage students to go outside and find one thing they would like to draw. It could be a tree, a plant, a blade of grass, an ant, or a rock. Anything they wish to start with. With no criticism or judgement, they should practice drawing with detail. You will need to go outside/on a walk for this activity. Try to write an original sentence for each figure of speech listed on the sheet. Please see the link to the right for a link to my Reading Resources Packet. This packet has a section that reviews figurative language terms. Look at the Clouds! What colors do you see in the sky? What cloud types do you see? Do any of the clouds look like shapes you recognize? (dog, boat, dragon, car, etc.) Record your observations in your Nature Journal. Reading Resources Packet
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)5 Senses ActivityCheck-in with NatureSketching PracticeFigurative Language OutsideCloud & Sky ViewerDirect Link To Sky Viewer Original Printable
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Week 2 Monday, April 6th Tuesday, April 7th Wednesday, April 8thThursday, April 9thFriday, April 10th
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Monday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same?Go outside and hunt for angles and shapes! Sticks, grasses, trees, almost anything can be used to find the items listed on the sheet linked below. If you have a protractor at home you can search for specific angles, but if not, you can keep the search more basic and categorize angles into: Acute, obtuse, right, straight, and reflex angles. Use a hula hoop, rope, yard sticks, or anything else you have handy to mark off a small section on the ground. Spend at least 20 minutes closely investigating this area. Make observations and record then in your Nature Journal. Remember, the area you are looking at is small, and the creatures and plants you are observing are liley very tiny. You will have to use your eagle eyes! What questions do you have about the things you are seeing? Write them down in your journal!This activity is usually done with paint sample cards that can be easily picked up from any home improvement store. For flexibility during this time, students can use any items/objects they want to try to match colors. (Magazine pictures, grocery ads, a favorite toy, boxes/containers before they are thrown away, color on a paper with favorite crayons or colored pencils, anything...) The goal is to go outside and try to find NATURAL items that closely match the colors on your paint sample. Record these items in your Nature Journal.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureHunt for Angles & ShapesCultivating a Sense of WonderColor Match
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Week 3 Monday, April 13thTuesday, April 14thWednesday, April 15thThursday, April 16thFriday, April 17th
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Monday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same?PART 1: Descriptive Writing Students should divide a page in their Nature Journal into quadrants. They will use one box each for sight, sound, smell, and touch. They should walk around outside and try to find vivid adjectives that will enhance their writing. PART 2: A Day in the Life Students will use the activity from yesterday to imagine what a day in the life of an organism would be like. They can choose an animal that they often see around their home, a plant, an insect, fungi, anything as long as it is not something man-made. Students will use interesting verbs, adjectives, and adverbs to tell a story from the perspective of whatever natural organism they have chosen. They can write it as a diary entry, with times, or just as a free write. They can also keep their own perspective and tell a story of what they might see if they stared outside all day. To increase the challenge, encourage them to incorporate figurative language into their writing. Wednesday - Friday are being connected this week to complete a writing project that focuses on powerful adjectives. Encourage students to share their writing with you and/or each other when they are finished.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureDescriptive WritingA Day in the LifeReading Resources Packet
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Week 4 Monday, April 20th Tuesday, April 21thWednesday, April 22thThursday, April 23rdFriday, April 24th
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Tuesday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same?Go outside and try to find as many items as you can from this sheet. Can you make a BINGO? Did you observe anything else that you thought was interesting during your time outside? Write it down in your Nature Journal and share it with us!Sit or walk around outside for at least 10 minutes. In your Nature Journal, draw a line down the middle of a page from top to bottom. On one side write, "Birds I Hear" and on the other write, "Birds I See." Quietly use your eyes and ears to record with tallies the birds that you see and hear. Maybe write a 1. for your first bird heard or seen, and then write a 2., 3., 4., etc. for each new bird seen or heard. How many different bird calls did you hear? How many birds did you see? Did you hear more birds or see more birds?Listen to Everybody Needs a Rock by Byrd Baylor. Go outside and try to find some rocks for an activity we will do next week. They can be any kind of rocks as long as you have at least 10 rocks that you find interesting, and they need to be small enough to fit in your hand. You can keep them outside in a pail, bucket, bin, bag, or pile until our next activity. Happy Arbor Day! Go outside and adopt a tree to celebrate. Take a peek at the attached document to gather ideas for how to describe your tree. Take notes in your Nature Journal, and feel free to check back with your tree every couple of weeks to observe changes.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureSpring BINGOTweeting TalliesEverybody Needs A Rock (read aloud)Adopt a Tree
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Week 5 Monday, April 27th Tuesday, April 28thWednesday, April 29thThursday, April 30thFriday, May 1st
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Monday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same?Grab your rocks from last week. If you can, find a shady spot and sort them however you want. How did you sort them? Can you sort them another way? Now, take your collection to a sunny spot if you can. Would you still sort them the same ways or would your sorting change. in the sunlight? Finally, if you have time, get some water to pour over the rocks or dunk the rocks in. Would you group the rocks differently after seeing what they look like wet? Remember, rocks have many attributes: size, shape, texture, color, hardness, weight...Using your rocks from yesterday, think about the categories you classified them into. What fraction would you give to each category? Can any of these me simplified? Can you turn any of them into decimals or percents? To change this activity a little bit, have a parent, sibling, or someone else already at home go out and collect sticks, leaves, acorns, feathers, or fallen pieces or bark. Count how many total items you have including your rocks, and find the fractions for each category.See if you can complete all of the boxes of this hunt! You can keep track in your Nature Journal.Sit quietly outside. If you know which direction you are facing, you may write it on your journal page. If not, that is okay too. You are going to use your ears for this activity. On your journal page, draw a line approximately where you want the ground to be. Put a circle on your ground to represent you sitting. Listen to the sounds around you and try to place them on your paper. If you hear a bird in a tree on your right, put a 'B' on the location you think the sound is coming from. If you are feeling fancy, you can even map out the sounds using the music note values you learned from Mrs. Ryan. If you know what made the sound you may write it, but it is okay to just describe the sound too. Maybe you hear some kind of frog 'F' low and to your left, or mosquitoes 'M' buzzing close to your head. Mark on your paper any NATURAL sounds you hear during this time. Be sure to make a key on your page to let others know what your letters or notes represent.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureIf You Have a Rock ThatNature FractionsSpring Scavenger HuntSound Mapping
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Week 6 Monday, May 4th Tuesday, May 5thWednesday, May 6thThursday, May 7thFriday, May 8th
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Monday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same?Remember the tree you adopted? Let's see how tall it is and how wide its crown is! Use the resource below to figure out the height of your tree. If you get confused, here is a YouTube video that shows another easy way to estimate the height of a tree. Copy & Paste this link into a new browser tab to view. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kKsp9R9Xb0&t=21s&disable_polymer=true Gather some sticks or twigs from outside. They should be about the length of your hand from your wrist to the tip of your longest finger or smaller. Gather at least five twigs. Select one twig to draw and describe. Take your time drawing details of your twig. You can even get colored pencils to enhance the color of your drawing or a magnifying glass to help you spot tiny details. Write a description of your stick using specific vocabulary words to show along with your picture. When you are finished, mix your twig back with the others you found. Give your drawing and description to someone you live with and see if they can pick out your stick based on your picture and description. If they can, ask them which details were helpful in figuring it out. If they cannot, what do you think you could have done to make it easier to pick out your stick?Follow the directions in the link below. Students will first describe themselves using figurative language. Next, students will go outside to gather items they can use to describe themselves. Please see the examples in the link. Remind students to follow the rule of 100 when gathering outside --> If there are 100 or more in one area, it is probably safe for me to take one (example: dropped needles). If there are only a few, I need to draw it to remember it, then leave it be (example: a single Lady Slipper plant). Students can tape or glue their examples in their Nature Journals or onto whatever paper they are using to create their poems. Can you find these shapes in nature? Go for a walk around your yard or another are outside and try to find an item in nature that makes each shape. These items could be large or small and living or nonliving, but they have to be items created in nature, not made by humans. Record what you find in your Nature Journal/Notebook.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureTree Height & Crown SpreadMatch the StickName PoemNature Shape Bingo
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Week 7Monday, May 11th Tuesday, May 12thWednesday, May 13thThursday, May 14thFriday, May 15th
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Monday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same?Divide a journal page into quadrants. Put one in each box: Color, Sound, Texture, Shape. Walk around your outdoor space and, using as much detail as possible, describe your favorites in each box. Your goal is to use such great detail that other people can envision what you are talking about simply from reading your words. Example: Your favorite color cannot blue, but it can be the deep, watery, blue color of the pond at noon when the sunlight is sparkling off of its still watersGo on a walk or search around in your yard to find items in nature that look like the letters in your name! If you do not want to use your name, use the name of a pet, friend, or your favorite flower. You need to use careful observation to find items that make the shape of a letter. I went on a walk once and found a rock shaped like the letter 'B', a stalk of dry grass that bent into a perfect 'R', and other sticks and pieces of bark to finish off the other letters in my name. If you do not want to do that, maybe go on a hunt and try to find all of the letters in the alphabet instead.Find something outside that you would like to sketch in great detail. It could be a feather, stick, pinecone, acorn, plant, bug, a piece of bark, or anything else that catches your eye. You are going to "zoom in" on this item to make qualitative and quantitative observations. If you have a hand lens or magnifying glass that you can use that is great, but this will also work if you do not. Begin by drawing the item in as much detail as you are able. Draw it to size if possible and discuss its shape, color, and texture. Quantitative observations can be measured or counted (Ex. my item was a pinecone --> It was about 3 inches long. It had more than 100 scales on it.) Qualitative observations are not as measurable (Ex. The flat parts of the scales were smooth, but the edges were jagged. The cone was rectangular in shape and rather lightweight.) Make as many observations as you can about your item and record them in your Nature Journal. A Seton Watch is a time to enjoy quiet outdoor time. Find a spot outside, get comfortable, and enjoy the activity of nature around you. You can write poems, journal your thoughts, or sketch what you see. Stay in this quiet spot for at least 15 minutes and record what you see, hear, smell, touch, and what you wonder while sitting there.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureMy FavoritesOutdoor AlphabetObservation OpticsSeton Watch
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Week 8Monday, May 18th Tuesday, May 19thWednesday, May 20thThursday, May 21stFriday, May 22nd
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Monday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same?Take some time outside to collect nature items that you find interesting. You will be using these items to make a self-portrait out of nature materials. Try to make use of items that have already fallen on the ground and avoid injuring any plants or animals on your search. Can you find any items that have a hidden meaning? For example, I can use small Red Dogwood twigs for my hair since my hair is red and straight. I can use tiny seeds from dried Mullein stalks for my freckles. Get creative with your materials! Once you have everything you need, assemble your portrait on a piece of sturdy paper or cardboard. Liquid glue works best for this. Walk around your yard or another outdoor area and think like a critter. What kinds of shelter do you see? Where could you go if you were a squirrel? Butterfly? Mouse? Spider? Frog? What kinds of animal shelters do you have around you? Make sure to examine your outdoor space carefully for little holes and other protective areas. Are there any holes in the ground? What do you see up in trees? If you were a little animal, where would you go to feel safe?Today's activity involves going on a hike. If you are able to go to a new or larger area, fantastic! If not, try to look for changes or surprises in your current outdoor space. The purpose of this activity is to enjoy being outside, and to see if nature has any surprises for you. Take your time and see what you find. Maybe you will see a super intricate spider web or a type of mushroom you have never seen before. Maybe a flower will be blooming or you will see evidence of an animal that you did not notice last time. Look for prints, scat, paths, and new growth. Outdoor spaces change every day! Record your observations in your Nature Journal. The window activity is similar to what we did in Week 2 with the hula hoop/string. Find a new area or go back to the area you investigated last time. Mark off a small box or circle and spend some time analyzing what you see in the space. What living and nonliving things do you see? Describe what you see, hear, smell, and feel while completing this observation. Make sure you are looking very carefully as many of the items in this area are incredibly small.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureSelf-Portrait From NatureLOOSELY based on: Squirrel In A TreeDiscovery HikeWindows
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Week 9Monday, May 25th Tuesday, May 26thWednesday, May 27thThursday, May 28thFriday, May 29th
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Let's Go OutsideOn a new page in your notebook/Nature Journal write the date and the time. Check your same spots from last Monday using your powers of observation. Take your time and use your senses to investigate each location. Record what you see. What has changed? What has stayed the same? What is the biggest change you noticed from your first observation to your last? Was there anything that you expected to change but it did not?Let's try another scavenger hunt! Are you able to find all of the items? What has changed from the last search you did? Did you see anything interesting that was not on the list?Think about the spaces you have visited, and the activities and observations from the past nine weeks. What are your favorite outdoor spaces? What is your favorite color? What is your favorite animal? What else would you like to look for and observe this summer? Is there someplace you would like to go to use your naturalist skills? Do some free writing and summarize your time spent outside and what you would like to do outside this summer.
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Let's Go Outside Lessons & Links (If Applicable)Check-In With NatureSpring Scavenger Hunt #2Reflections
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WE MADE IT!!!!!!! :)
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