If you are a teacher feeling the strain of third quarter and searching for the elusive fourth quarter of your school year to arrive, there is hope. Although you have been trapped inside with your students, the spring weather gives you opportunity to get your students outside, either during class projects or for homework. Here are ten outdoor assignments, categorized by subject matter, that both teachers and students can enjoy:
English Language Arts
- Write haiku poems which are usually about elements of nature. A haiku is a succinct style of poetry that should have only three lines and include exactly five, seven and then five syllables per line.
- Try poetry written in the imagist style to capture specific, simple pieces of nature. This assignment works especially well when studying American Literature because of the origins and history of imagism.
- Practice using descriptive language and literary devices to describe the outdoor setting. Teachers could require students to include their observations from all five senses and to use a set number of similes, metaphors, onomatopoeias, alliteration and symbolism.
- Search for unique rocks, and then categorize them as igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic. Teachers could encourage a chart or table be designed and presented.
- Teach students how to safely catch and preserve or to catch and release insects; then practice classifying each insect based on its taxonomy.
- Ask for observations in a journal or report that describe the habitat of squirrels, birds or other animals in the area. This assignment could also include students classifying the animals or studying the entire ecosystem.
- For preschool classes, help students collect a designated number of rocks and leaves with which to practice counting.
- For elementary classes, ask students to gather a certain number of items, then practice adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing the assortments during whole-group instruction. You could also demonstrate using fractions with their outdoor collections.
- Assign students a diorama showing their grasp of a historical event, and have them make a list of supplies they need; then go outside to gather a portion of their supplies.
- Have older students observe others at a park and report back on social structure, group behavior, gender roles and social norms. Adapt this exercise as needed for various sociology and psychology topics.
Indeed, springtime provides a unique season for students to explore and learn hands-on. Perhaps you are a teacher trying to engage students who learn best in a kinesthetic or tactile way; here’s your chance to add to your typical lessons and interest students even more. Encourage your students’ development by trying these creative and fun academic exercises.