Outdoor Classroom Day is an international initiative to promote the importance of children experiencing the outdoors. The event began in London, England in 2012, grew internationally in 2015 and became a global project in 2016 with the support of educators, environmentalists, play experts, NGOs, Project Dirt and Unilever. The organization supports and shares research around the benefits of playing and learning outdoors. More information can be found on the website HERE.
We participated in our first Outdoor Classroom Day on November 1 with three classes at Grauer. Each class began with some time in The Studio where we shared ideas about where and how we might see and experience mathematics outdoors. I shared a different book of images with each class to inspire their mathematical thinking.
It was pouring rain most of the day, but being the day after Hallowe’en it was actually a good day to be outside and moving.
Each class took on different tasks with the grades 1&2 classes looking for and thinking about estimating, counting, size (measuring) and shape.
As we were coming inside, one of the grade 2 students said, “This was the best math day ever!”
The next Outdoor Classroom Day for this school year was May 23. The grades 3 and older classes at Grauer were at the district track meet, so the three K-2 classes spent the day outside together. We took our new Outdoor Studio Wagon with us outside and it was filled with materials, tools and resources to support and inspire our mathematical thinking.
We began our morning by finding out own counting collections outdoors and then recorded our counts in different ways. Some students gathered leaves, twigs or pieces of park to group and count while others found multiples in plants such as buttercups (counting the flowers by 1s and the petals by 5s) and clover (counting the leaves by groups of 3s).
After recess, we considered different types of branding and growing patterns that we noticed in the growth of trees, plants, leaves, flowers and roots and captured these patterns with clay prints and plant prints using rubber mallets.
Here are the contents in the Outdoor Studio Wagon:
The next Outdoor Classroom Day is November 7 2019. You can sign up HERE.