Outdoor Classroom

You Have an Outdoor Classroom!  How Can You Use It?
Inquiry-Based Learning In the Schoolyard

Click here to visit the PBSKidsGo! website a wealth of online resources for the outdoor classroom.
Click here to visit the EekoWorld website.outdoor classroom

There are many environmental education opportunities out there for teachers and their students, but this does not always translate into students spending more time learning in the out-of-doors.  Many educators are not comfortable taking their students outside and have concerns about student behavior, their own knowledge of content, or think their schoolyard does not have an adequate outdoor learning area.  Current research indicates that there are many benefits, both academically and behaviorally, to outdoor learning opportunities. UNC-TV applied for and was granted a PBSKIDS GO! Outreach Replication Grant from the National Center for Outreach (NCO) /Corporate Public Broadcasting (CPB).  UNC-TV partnered with the Office of Environmental Education, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and UNC Chapel Hill's Carolina Environmental Program to create a national replication model workshop that would encourage teachers to incorporate outdoor, inquiry-based learning into the (NC) Standard Course of Study and become comfortable taking their students outside.  The workshop is titled, "You Have an Outdoor Classroom! How Can You Use It? - Inquiry-Based Learning in the Schoolyard."  Participants will springboard from the PBSKIDS GO! website.

The workshop is an exciting, innovative, and interactive model that leads you through several activities involving nature observation, nature journaling, recycling, experimentation and reading.

The workshop includes hands-on instruction and activities supplemented with pre- and post-visit activities to complete 6-10 hours of continuing education. We ask that everyone do the pre- and post-workshop activities in order to receive certification of hours completed.  Pre-Workshop activities/articles will be part of your discussion and answer session at the beginning of the workshop. The workshop can be adapted to a 3-hour workshop for childcare providers who work with school age children in before and after school programs.

Goals of Workshop:

  • Click here to learn how to incorporate outdoor, inquiry-based learning into NC Standard Course of Study
  • Become more comfortable going outdoors and using the school grounds in teaching hands-on science activities
  • Learn inquiry-based teaching skills and K-W-L. (What do you know?  What do you want to know?  What have you learned?)
  • Learn the importance of incorporating language skills into the science curriculum
  • Learn how to incorporate journaling as a teaching/learning technique
  • Incorporate PBSKidsGo! and PBS TeacherSource into an inquiry based learning classroom
  • Discover how to have fun with outdoor inquiry based learning in the schoolyard.

Character Education:  Character education in North Carolina crosses the curriculum areas: science, math, social studies, art, guidance, communications and computer skills.  This workshop seeks to incorporate some aspect of each of those areas.

In addition to a series of hands-on outdoor activities, participants will receive materials and resources to jumpstart inquiry based learning activities in the schoolyard.

This lesson introduces students to the food chain and concepts such as producers, consumers and predators.  Activities include listening, summarizing, creating and making connections.  From poems to physical education activities teachers have lesson plans and resources tied to National Teachers of Science Standards.
PBS Ready To Learn is supported by a cooperative agreement from the U. S. Department of Education, PR/Award Number R295A00002.