Cities are the dominant feature of the lives of most young people. Cities have a real meaning for young people in terms of urban culture, fashion and living. Learning outside the classroom provides an ideal methodology to explore how science can support healthy cities. Enquiry based science outside adds new dimensions that cannot be delivered in the classroom.
Sir David Attenborough wisely points out that “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”. We find ourselves at a point in time where the natural world is in dire need of our positive attention, yet where we are increasingly disconnected as a species from nature upon which we ultimately rely for our existence.
Outdoor spaces provides additional opportunities for critical thinking, creative inquiry and problem solving; fundamental life skills permitting students to think critically about issues pertinent to their lives and the world outside the classroom. Outdoor learning is an approach that engages those pupils who find classroom based learning more challenging. A UK government report (2008) states that outdoor learning ‘contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupil’s personal, social and emotional development.'
- What opportunities lie within the school grounds or within a short walking distance?
- What practical measures will you need to put in place to take your students outside?
- Explore the Real World Learning Network for a practical model combining outdoor learning, science and sustainability here.
- The Institute for Outdoor Learning provides a good overview into the risks and benefits of outdoor learning here.
- The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom offers an introduction of outdoor learning here.