Goals & Standards

Goals & Standards

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 six (6) hours of hands-on instruction and activities supplemented with a pre- and post-visit activities to complete 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:

  • Learn how to incorporate outdoor, inquiry-based learning into NC Standard Course of Study http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/curriculum/science/scos/
  • 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.

Incorporate NC Standard Course of Study Social Studies Curriculum http:/ www.dpi.state.nc.us/curriculum/socialstudies/scos/2003-04/027thirdgrade  

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.

PBSKidsGo! provides a wealth of online resources for the outdoor classroom:

We're All in this Together pbskids.org/eekoworld

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. The Patchwork Quilt  (Reading Rainbow Episode 22)


LeVar Burton begins this episode at Boston Children's Museum where discovers children are learning to make their own brightly-colored patchwork quilts. Then he explores how three generations of an Italian American family work together in their food store making some of the foods (mozzarella cheese and meatballs) that are store specialties.  A variety of activities are available.  For example, children can share favorite family recipes. (Connects to EEKO World food chain activities)

And Still the Turtle Watched (Reading Episode 99) pbskids.org/readingrainbow/family/activities/activy99.html

The Ready To Learn Read-View-Do Learning Triangle model is followed.

Read  And Still the Turtle Watched

Author: Sheila MacGill-Callahan Illustrator: Barry Moser

This book helps depict the effects that human insensitivity can have on our natural resources. This sensitive story can be used to discuss the respect that early people held for our earth and the importance of that quality today.

View  Reading Rainbow Episode 99-A turtle carved in rock many years ago by Native Americans watches the river below. In the span of time it observes many ecological changes with a great deal of sadness.

Do Leaf Rubbings, Turtle Time

Additional recycling resources are available:

Workshop recycling activities are available regarding the telephone.  Related websites include:

**Topics of responsible choices, consequences of our actions, conservation, and problem solving can all be addressed.

North Carolina Standard Course of Study


The elementary science section of the SCS integrates the unifying concepts of science to provide continuity in science instruction across grade levels and among science disciplines. These unifying concepts are:

  • Systems, Order and Organization.
  • Evidence, Models, and Explanation.
  • Constancy, Change, and Measurement.
  • Evolution and Equilibrium.
  • Form and Function.

The elementary science section of the SCS strands provides unifying threads of understanding that span the content areas of elementary science. The strands include the following goals:

Nature of Science

As a result of activities in grades K-5, all students should develop an understanding of:

  • Science as a human endeavor.
  • Science as inquiry.
  • The nature of scientific inquiry.

Science as Inquiry

As a result of activities in grades K-5, all students should develop:

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.
  • Abilities necessary to understand, to use, and to apply the unifying concepts and processes of science including:
  • Evidence, explanation, measurement.
  • Ordering, organizing.
  • Changes (time, rate, scale, patterns, trends, cycles).
  • Systems.
  • Boundaries
  • Components.
  • Resources.
  • Flow.
  • Feedback.
  • Form, function, equilibrium.
  • Models.
  • Science and Technology

As a result of activities in grades K-5, all students should develop:

  • Ability to use and create technological designs.
  • Understanding about technology and design.
  • Ability to distinguish between natural and human made objects.

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

As a result of activities in grades K-5, all students should develop understanding of:

  • Impacts of science and technology on their daily lives.
  • The relationship of science to personal health and welfare.
  • Characteristics of and changes in populations.
  • Applications of science and technology to local challenges.



The third grade study is designed to expand the students' concept of "leaders" in relationship to their communities. Students study people of diverse groups, their cultures, religions, traditions, and contributions to the community. Students compare aspects of familiar communities with those of other cultures and other times. They are introduced to problems that "leaders" and communities confront and how conflicts are resolved.

Third graders discover how literature is integrated in the social studies discipline by reading about local, state, national, and global leaders (fictional and non-fictional). They investigate the contributions that these individuals have made to society. Students make connections between deeds leaders perform and the character traits each hero possesses such as courage, self-discipline, perseverance, integrity, respect, responsibility, kindness, and good judgment.

Strands: Individual Development and Identity, Cultures and Diversity, Historical Perspectives, Geographic Relationships, Economics and Development, Global Connections, Technological Influences, Government and Active Citizenship