Nature Based Pedagogy

How can I teach in nature? An alternate way to teach inquiry learning.

I have just had the pleasure of spending a day with @ClaireHWarden, hearing about #NaturePedagogy.

Image result for beyond the gate

People tend to be indoor dwelling. While some people thrive on the adventure of being outdoors there are many that avoid the outdoors for a wide variety of reasons. Add to this to opportunity to be in nature, hiking, bush walks or just sitting absorbing the serenity. This often requires an absence of mobile data and no wi-fi.

For some being outside or being in nature means accidents, possible injury and feeling unsafe.
Image result for no wifi
What if we took time to teach our children the idea of safe limits, how to be safe and what it means to be in a physically unsafe space? What does it mean to give children an opportunity to learn beyond the gate? 

What does Nature pedagogy look like?

How can I teach about Nature?
How can I teach in Nature?
How can I teach with Nature?

The idea of teaching about nature is often represented in classrooms by a nature table. Items that represent nature. Teaching about nature is more than this.

Teaching in nature is not just sitting outside under a tree. Teaching in nature is more than this. Teaching with Nature is more than using an image of a tree or using a shell as stimulus for writing. 

So what does it look like?

Just like all things nature pedagogy is open to interpretation by each individual teacher.

How can I teach about Nature?

There are so many topics in Nature

  • rivers, aquatic life, human impact, indigenous links, mangroves, ecosystems
  • patterns, Fibonacci, perfect number

How can I teach in Nature?

Image result for fibonacci spiral nature
  • Collect items and sort in order from largest to smallest. 
  • Collect leaves and sort in order of size, estimate area and perimeter. Use graph paper and string to calculate area and perimeter.
  • Use the microbit compass outside to assist with mapping and learning about direction.
  • Use microbit thermometers to investigate the temperature of different habitats and the influence it has on vegetation and animals.

How can I teach with Nature?

  • Survey insects in leaf litter and collect data on numbers and varieties, graph results.
  • Teach scientific drawing using items found in the playground.
  • Collect pond water and examine it with a microscope or a magnifying glass.