What are the best practices in outdoor and nature education? How can I construct the best environmental and outdoor experiences for my students or children? After years of research and field testing and revision, the Lawrence Hall of Science BEETLES (Better Environmental Education, Teaching, Learning & Expertise Sharing) program has released a rich set of teaching resources for field instructors, leaders, and classroom teachers. What I love about this approach is that it gives students the tools to explore, observe, question, and discover in nature on their own terms and not rely on didactic, teacher driven lessons, or simulation games. This is where we should be moving in nature education. These are the best environmental education resources I have seen in over thirty years of teaching in nature. It is a must for every outdoor educator or home school facilitator. And it’s free.
Being involved as an advisor to the BEETLES had dramatically changed the way I think about and facilitate outdoor education experiences. On the most superficial level you will find some great activities to augment your nature study program. But do not stop there. The BEETLES program helps us rethink our program priorities, and gives a framework for the flow of learning activities that is functional, effective, and versatile. There are resources for individual field instructors, program leaders and developers (to help you create staff workshops), and classroom teachers. The BEETLES website provides downloadable resources, online documentation, videos of the activities in the field with real students, and much more.
Just a few samples to wet your appetite: Notice, I Wonder, It Reminds Me Of: Student activity pdf, Discussion Leading Tips for Field Instructors: It’s a really useful document for those interested in leading student discussions , for program leaders/professional learning sessions- Making Observations: Good example of one of the professional learning write-ups.
Visit the site, share it with other teachers, parents, and outdoor leaders.