Are you looking for ways to engage your kids in nature this summer? In this week’s digest, we have three ways for young people (and those young at heart) to explore the natural world. Enjoy!
The Nature Conservatory: Nature Lab
The Nature Conservatory created Nature Lab so that students can learn the science behind out environment and how to keep it healthy and strong. Below are a few of the online activities available at the Lab.
- Join a virtual field trip to Hong Kong and learn about their Ridge to Reef initiative. This activity includes a 16-minute YouTube Video and has a curriculum guide for both primary and secondary grades.
- Take part in a 4 part mini series on water security called “Gray, Green, Blue: Water Security and YOU!” This mini series includes videos and a curriculum guide.
- Explore the robust Youth Curriculum section that has been specifically designed for classroom use. This section is separated into age ranges 5-11, 11-14, and 15-18. Each curriculum section has different topics including protecting the land and water, food and water sustainability, and climate change.
- Participate in a 4-Week Summer Camp for grades 3-8. The camp has “week-long thematic family guides to lead at-home enrichment activities this summer! With videos and learning activities, including a weekly hands-on project to get outside safely, kids can explore nature right in their community.”
I believe that The Nature Conservatory has compiled one of the most comprehensive and visually appealing set of resources for engaging youth in summer environmental education. I especially like the focus that they put into their videos and virtual field trips. Some of these field trips are 45 minutes long and range for exploring the coral reefs of Palau to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.
All these resources are free and easily accessible at Nature Conservatory Website.
Encyclopedia of Life
In last week’s Nature Digest we linked to an EOL podcast about Moths. This week we are going to highlight EOL’s Learning and Education website. EOL worked with educators and citizen scientists to create a series of lesson plans, articles, podcast, and species cards that you can use in the classroom or at home.
The lesson plans are divided into three grade and age ranges, with five themes. Topics include human impact, animal classification, adaption, basic science, skills, and energy flow.
I looked at the activities for youth ages 11-13 on science skills. The activities in this section include, “Meet a Creature”, “ID that Bird”, “How Diverse is Biodiversity”, “Modeling Classification” and a few others.
I took a deeper dive into the “ID that Bird” activity and I found it interesting because it encourages the development of some basic observation skills. The activity asks students to really think about what they are looking at and what are the characteristics that make a bird stand out. This activity also encourages kids to use field guides to help identify different birds. Overall, the activity seems like a great way to start exploring the application of basic observation skills.
This activity does ask the students to practice using binoculars and have access a field guide. Needing these supplies may be a barrier for some. However, I think you can meet the main objectives of this activity without the binoculars and substituting AllAboutBirds.org or Audubon for the field guide. A follow-up step that I would add to this activity is to get the students out into the world and start trying to ID the birds in their neighborhood. That would probably be the homework for this section
This information is free and easily accessible through their website.
National Moth Week’s Kid’s Page
National Moth Week starts July 17 and the kids are included.
The National Moth Week website has a page designated to resources and activities for kids. There is a downloadable moth coloring book, links to a variety of moth trivia and memory games, educational resources from the Lepidopterists Society, and several book recommendations.
The photo below is from one of their recommended books called Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths.
This book looks great! I may have to get a copy for myself.
Do you know of any online resources that support kids to connect to nature? If so, please share below.