My lesson for the day was done as the students couldn't think about anything other than the upcoming science class outdoors. Then came the questions and comments: "What about poison ivy? Last time I was in those woods, I got a bad case." "How long are we going to be out there?" "I don't have any old sneakers." "Wow, my mom can come because she knows all about poison ivy." "Where are the tadpoles? Did you see them?" I realized I was over my head on this one.
As a mom and teacher, I DO know how careful you have to be with your words. In actuality I really thought it would be so fun to go outside in search of tadpoles. The reality was that I needed to plan for an outdoor adventure of the science kind. (Here is a great site that explains how to use the outdoors for science.) To really do justice to a lesson of this type, having a clear objective with careful planning is a must.
#elemsci) was discussing "Outdoor Science". Questions such as: What do primary students find fascinating about the outdoors? How do we tie this into their learning? and, If you can't be outside, how can you bring the outdoors in for a lesson? were discussed. Little did I know how these would come guide me in the day to come!
I tried to sheepishly avoid any conversation about "the field trip". Some students remembered their sneakers, others were worried they hadn't brought them. One by one, the students came to me to see if we were really trekking behind the school. I felt awful about not taking them outside.
Then one child came to me and said, "You know, the third grade teachers have some tadpoles in their room." I knew if I could somehow have my students observe THOSE tadpoles then I would once again regain their trust. So I asked my colleague (thank you Deb for sharing!) if we could take a peek...she did better...she wheeled this large fish tank into our room when the kids were at recess. Well, it was amazing as there were hundreds of tiny tadpoles swimming in that tank. (Apparently, one of the third grade students got them out of their pool.) This following video is what it was like when my students returned from recess to find the those little froggies-to-be in the classroom.
This excitement really inspires me to bring science to life for my students....allowing them real world experiences and providing opportunities for authentic learning. I can't wait for Monday so that the students can really take time to make observations and learn about these creatures!
The Teacher's Guide: Frog & Tadpole Lessons
Thinking Beyond the Classroom: 10 Lesson Ideas
Scholastic Outdoor Activities: Includes Skills and Objectives
Foss Video with Helpful Tips for Outdoor Learning