With all the activities that the end of last school year brought –Including Ms. Aslan taking the Destination Imagination team to the Global Finals in Kansas City, Missouri– we were unable to publish this article in June, so we wanted to share it with you now…
Every year, thousands of schools around the world take their classes into the open air on May 21st to celebrate learning with inspiration from nature. Outdoor Learning Day aims to build stronger ties between students and nature; using the interaction with space, it proves that learning can take place anywhere.
This year we were outside with our Primary School students on May 21st. Our students freed their curiosity and incorporated their love of learning in the activities they conducted. With this change of learning environment they had the opportunity to explore their learning from different perspectives. Reflecting on their experiences, the students realized that they could achieve various learning outcomes by making different connections. Going out of class created an excellent opportunity for our students to expand their learning culture repertoire.
We worked with the Grade 1 students on the “Sharing the Planet” looking at Natural Resources. We observed trees, air, water, and soil in our environment. We made creative paintings and engaged in storytelling using shadow drawings of objects we chose from nature. In the English classes, we practiced spelling vocabulary about ideal holidays.
We focused on the relationship between living things and their habitats within the scope of the PYP theme two. We made observations in the garden pool and its habitat zone. Our students studied frogs, fishes, snails, ant nests, worms, trees and soil with deep curiosity, discussing the habitats of living things and their adaptation processes. In English classes, they wrote and shared puzzles about the characteristics of animals. Then they conducted brain training via playing games.
Grades 3 chose an object from nature within the PYP theme “How the World Works” and drew that object and its symmetrical opposite. Our students who explored nature with their magnifying glasses in English classes had the opportunity to get to know the plants and insects in the garden.
Grade 4 students played games to develop their thinking and strategy skills within the scope of the PYP “How We Express Ourselves” theme via hand-eye-brain coordination activities. As a STEM activity, they built the Da Vinci Bridge. In English classes, they used their creativity to create their own mythological characters and describing the characters with the adjectives they learned and then drawing the characters.
The students who attended the outdoor activities in their branch classes held the rhythm together and made music. They integrated nature with their paintings and played many team games.
“I liked the lesson outside. There’s so much to see in nature, especially insects. ”
“That was so fun. We took in more oxygen outside and felt that my brain was working harder. ”
“I wish we could do Outdoor Learning Day every year.”
–Berna Aslan, Primary School Teacher