Our school playground is wonderful. It's a big field with play equipment and sports fields. The playground is surrounded by forest and wetlands. We have a garden, composting, and a courtyard nature space too.There's so much teaching and learning opportunity all around us.
I continually want to integrate our terrific environment into the curriculum. Our second grade teacher has done this well with her commitment to the school garden--which has been awesome.
Yesterday we spent a bit of time exploring decomposition at the back of the playground as students hunted for earthworms. And we also studied the play structure looking for evidence of simple machines. We attached a pulley to the play structure too to play with that simple machine.
A biologist from Grassroots Wildlife Conservation who is an expert on vernal pools visited too. She taught teachers and students a lot about the endangered spade foot toad, a vernal pool amphibian that we are raising in our classroom aquariums. Today students and teachers will explore our wetlands area on the playground edge to look for amphibian eggs, tadpoles and other creatures. We'll study the plant life too.
Later in the day we'll go outside to experiment with matter as we blow up balloons with baking soda/vinegar and make slime.
Our playground space offers endless, playful, and rich science teaching/learning opportunities. I want to maximize that opportunity more.
How do you use your playground as a valuable outdoor classroom? I look forward to hearing your ideas.