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Outdoor instruction makes students more open to learning

Science Daily – Staff Writer

“‘There is still a conceptual gap between teaching science and environmental education,” says Dr. Ulrich Dettweiler, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Stavanger in Norway, formerly employed at TUM. To close this gap and to get pupils excited about the natural sciences is a goal of the “researcher weeks” at the Berchtesgadener Land student research center. Between 2014 and 2016, approximately 300 students participated in the program which is based on the curriculum for science subjects in secondary level I. Students are prepared for the one-week stay in the classroom. This is then continued on site during the research week, culminating in a two-day research expedition with experiments.” (more)

Students more engaged and attentive following outdoor lesson in nature

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A study recently published in open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology has found that 9-10 year-old children are significantly more attentive and engaged with their schoolwork following an outdoor lesson in nature. Strikingly, this “nature effect” allowed teachers to teach uninterrupted for almost twice as long during a subsequent indoor lesson. The results suggest that outdoor lessons may be an inexpensive and convenient way to improve student engagement – a major factor in academic achievement.”(more)

Finding the Beauty of Math Outside of Class

Edutopia – Alessandra King

“A math trail is an activity that gets students out of the classroom so they can (re)discover the math all around us. Whether out on a field trip or on school grounds, students on a math trail are asked to solve or create problems about objects and landmarks they see; name shapes and composite solids; calculate areas and volumes; recognize properties, similarity, congruence, and symmetry; use number sense and estimation to evaluate large quantities and assess assumptions; and so on.”(more)

Outdoor Education a Plus for Lessons in Science and Language Arts

The Santa Barbara Independent – Michelle Howard

“In schools challenged to overcome significant achievement and enrichment gaps, the outdoors offers a level playing field. Educational strategies are always evolving, working to respond to the times while balancing funding and testing trends. And in recent decades, evidence has piled up in support of outdoor education. Social ecologist Stephen Kellert of Yale University sums it up: “Children’s direct and regular experience of the natural world is an irreplaceable dimension of healthy maturation and development.” But we’re not offering regular doses of this essential developmental ingredient today ​— ​schoolchildren spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors.”(more)

Yet another reason to tell your kids to go outside and play

Medical X-Press – Dr Kate Raynes-Goldie

“Parents worry about how much time their kids are spending in front of screens, but are they worried for the right reasons? According to an Australian industry study from March 2017, the top concerns that parents have about their kids spending too much time in front of the screen are online predators, bullying, being hacked and exposure to sexual and violent content. But new research is suggesting that there are also serious health concerns related to too much screen use by young people, in particular, young children.”(more)

Less plastic, more trees: New effort seeks to reinvent preschool playgrounds and capture kids’ imaginations

Chalk Beat – Ann Schimke

“The idea is to create outdoor spaces that capture kids’ imagination, connect them with nature and keep them active in every season. Such efforts grow out of a recognition in the education field that healthy habits start early and boost learning. Step by Step staff members had talked many times about their stagnant play space. But it was hard to envision anything different until they attended a design workshop with experts from ECHO, a partnership between the National Wildlife Federation, Qualistar Colorado and the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University.”(more)