Environmental Science Education
Helen Ross Russell has written Ten-Minute Field Trips. A Teacher's Guide to Using the Schoolgrounds for Environmental Studies to help teachers learn with their students and discover the advantages of using their own school ground for field trips. This book is available as a free download.
Since every school ground is different and since all field trips should be a part of classroom experiences, this book can only suggest possibilities that the teacher can select and adapt as a starting point.
Each subject is introduced with a page or two of background information on the general topic. Next, some related classroom activities are suggested as a reminder that field trips need an introduction and and a follow-up in the classroom. There is also a section on teacher preparation.
"WILD' is for young children and directly relates to animals and habitats thereby making environments accessible.
Ecology Explorers is an example of how universities are teaming up with the K-12 community to give teachers and students opportunities to learn through real scientific research.
The particular example deals with the Phoenix, Arizona ecosystem and Allows classes to be part of the Central Arizona - Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research project. The scientific data collected is shared with other researchers and schools to see what patterns in nature exist across the Phoenix metropolitan area.
What opportunities exist in your area?
Great Lakes Now brings along students on a virtual field trip to learn more about the importance of coastal wetlands, the danger of algal blooms and a deep dive into lake sturgeon.
This experience is targeted for 6-8th grade, but is certainly not limited to this age group. Preview the videos on the site to see if it's right for your students.
Nature is the fantastic factory that makes the building blocks of all our lives—food, drinking water, the stuff we own, and the air we breathe. The Nature Conservancy has created Nature Lab to help students learn the science behind how nature works and how we can help keep it running strong. While focusing more on lesson plans than just field trips, many of their video presentations are engaging.
Natural & Built Environments
This video contrasts natural and built environments in the Philippines.
- YouTube URL
How do people interact with and change the natural environment? A major focus of urban ecology is comparing how ecosystems function in nature and how they are changed by people. Urbanization means changing from native vegetation to man-made materials.
Here are some lesson plans from Arizona State University to challenge your students to think about the consequences to humans and other organisms of our changing urban landscape.
The Difference Between Natural & Built Environments
This short video shows the difference between natural and built and explains why we build.
- YouTube URL
Changing Earth at the The Franklin Institute museum is an example of resources that may be available in your area. Like most museums, The Franklin Institute provides an educator guide to go along with their exhibits.
Even if you are not able to visit an installation, the corresponding web site and educator guide can be a valuable source of ideas and images.
The EPA has compiled a list of environmental games and find other activities to play online, including crossword puzzles and word searches. Topics include recycling, water, and sunburns.
Especially for students in urban areas, the school grounds offer a microcosm of ecological niches and investigation for students and families to explore.