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Grades K-2

Concepts

The learning of science involves both content and process. The processes of observing, communicating, comparing, and organizing are essential to the learning of basic scientific content. Environmental observations are best done in an outdoor setting.

Standards

Investigation and Experimentation

Grade K—4a-e

Grade 1—4a-e

Grade 2—4a-g

EP & C

 Ia, b

 IIIa, c

Objective

To explore the natural environment; to use appropriate process skills and behavior while conducting investigations.

Note: Depending on your location in the County, look for evidence of recent or past fires. When discussing any of the following topics consider the influence of wildfires.

Description

Outdoor investigations are an excellent way to learn about the environment. Frequent, short trips—with a designated objective—will increase the teacher’s and students’ comfort level while learning in an informal setting. Start by investigating various areas of the schoolyard. With maturity and experience you can add short trips around the block or to a local park or natural area. Possible topics for exploration include:

Kindergarten

          Properties of matter

          Water and evaporation

           Observation and description of plants and animals

Observation of weather

           Uses of earth resources in everyday life

Grade 1

          States of matter

          Different plant and animal environments

          Needs of plants and animals

          Roots and leaves

          Sun and warming of land/air/water

Grade 2

          Sounds

          Plant and animal life cycles

          Characteristics of an organism influenced by the

environment

          Flowers, fruits and plant reproduction

Kinds of rocks

Weathering of rocksFormation of soil

Rock, water, plants, and soil as resources for human

use

Time  10 – 30 minutes

Vocabulary and Materials   will vary

Procedure             

Become familiar with the area you intend to investigate. Select a grade-level appropriate topic. Seek assistance from parents, volunteers, or older students.

Engage                           

Start with something simple such as trees on the school grounds.

Introduce a question about your topic. “How many trees are in front of the school?” Allow for some discussion and predictions. Set rules for behavior.

Explore             

Lead students to your designated area, seeking the answer to your question. Try to stick to your topic, but be flexible should a “teachable moment” arise.

Explain             

Return to the classroom. Lead a discussion of your results. Encourage students to use complete sentences. When possible expand student vocabulary by seeking new, descriptive terms.

Evaluate             

Did you successfully answer your question? Did students behave in a proper manner?

Extend             

Did your exploration lead to other questions? What would you like to learn on your next trip? What kinds of trees are there? How big are they? Do the leaves drop in the fall?

                         

                       Refer to the following Classroom Activities for additional suggestions:

                         

Kindergarten        

Activity 2 “Where’s My Home?

Activity 3 “I Spy Trees”

 

Grade 1

Activity 2 “San Diego County Habitats”

Activity 3 “Science Tools”

 

Grade 2

Activity 2 “Forests and Fire”

Reference

Russell, Helen Ross. Ten-Minute Field Trips. National Science Teachers Association, 1990.

ISBN 0-87355-098-6

                         

 

Grades 3 - 5

Concepts

The learning of science involves both content and process. The processes of observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, relating and inferring are essential to the learning of basic scientific content. Environmental observations are best done in an outdoor setting.

Standards

Investigation and Experimentation

Grade 3—5a-e

Grade 4—6a-f

Grade 5—6a-i

EP & C

Ia

IIIa, b, c

IVb

             

Objective

To explore the natural environment; to use appropriate process skills, scientific tools, and behavior while conducting investigations.

Note: Depending on your location in the County, look for evidence of recent or past fires. When discussing any of the following topics consider the influence of wildfires.

Description

Outdoor investigations are an excellent way to learn about the environment. Frequent, short trips—with a designated objective—will increase the teacher’s and students’ comfort level while learning in an informal setting. If students are not accustomed to field experiences, practice taking short exploratory excursions on the school grounds. Expand your trips from the schoolyard to local walking trips, then longer trips to parks or natural areas. Suggested topics for investigation:

Grade 3

Energy from the Sun                

Sunlight and shadows

Diverse life forms.

Living things cause changes in the environment.

Plants, animals and environmental change

Grade 4

Plants as primary source of matter and energy

Producers, consumers, decomposers and food chains

Ecosystems—living and nonliving components

Plant and animal adaptations

Rock formation/rock cycle

Identifying minerals

Slow and rapid processes in Earth changes

Weathering and erosion

Grade 5

Structure and function of organ systems in plants and  animals

Carbon/oxygen cycle

Water cycle

Community water sources

Weather

Time  10 minutes to 2 hours depending on location and activity

Materials and Vocabulary will vary with activity.

Procedure             

Become familiar with the area you intend to investigate. Select a grade-level appropriate topic. Seek assistance from parents, volunteers, or older students.

Engage             

Introduce a question/s about the topic to be explored on your field trip. Allow time for some discussion and predictions. Review the process skills that will be involved in conducting your exploration—observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, relating, inferring. Determine what materials or equipment will be necessary for your exploration. Set rules for behavior. Divide the class into cooperative teams. Make sure everyone knows the assignment.

Explore

Lead students to the designated area. Seek the answer to your question/s using observational skills and appropriate tools. Record observations and data collected in journals or on data sheets.

Explain

Return to the classroom. Lead a discussion (communication) of your results. Where possible make comparisons. Organize your results in tables or graphs. Relate what you have learned to previous knowledge. Can you make inferences as to what might occur in similar situations? Have students submit written reports.

Evaluate

Did you successfully answer your question/s? Did students behave in an appropriate manner?

Extend

Did your exploration lead to other questions? What would you like to learn on your next trip?

Refer to the following Classroom Activities for additional field trip suggestions:

Grade 3                           

Activity 2 “Impact of Fire”

                           

Grade 4                           

Activity 1 “San Diego County Habitats”

Activity 2 “San Diego County Watershed”

Activity 3 “Vernal Pools”

                           

Grade 5

Activity 3 “Impact of Fire on Air and Water Quality”

             

References

Russell, Helen Ross. Ten-Minute Field Trips. National Science Teachers Association, 1990.

ISBN 0-87355-098-6

Lingelbach, Jenepher and Lisa Purcell, editors. Hands-on Nature. Vermont Institute of Natural Science, 2000. ISBN: 1-58465-078-8

 

Grades 6 - 8

Concepts

The learning of science involves both content and process. The processes of observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, relating and inferring and applying are essential to the learning of basic scientific content. Environmental observations are best done in an outdoor setting.

Standards

Investigation and Experimentation

Grade 6—7a-d, h

Grade 7—7a, c, d, e

Grade 8—9a, b, c, e

History Social Studies

 8.3—the American political system and citizen participation

EP & C

              Ia, b, c; II a, b, c; IIIa, b, c; IVa, b,c; Va,b

             

Objective

To explore the natural environment; to use appropriate process skills, scientific tools, and behavior while conducting investigations; to investigate decision-making processes regarding natural resources; to participate in an environmental project—letter writing, creating information posters, site clean-up, creating a school garden, etc.

Description

Outdoor investigations are an excellent way to learn about the environment. Frequent, short trips—with a designated objective—will increase the teacher’s and students’ comfort level while learning in an informal setting. If students are not accustomed to field experiences, practice taking short exploratory excursions on the school grounds. Expand your trips from the schoolyard to local walking trips, then longer trips to parks or natural areas. As a result of their investigations, students become involved in environmental action projects.  Suggested topics for investigation:

Note: Depending on your location in the County, look for evidence of recent or past fires. When discussing any of the following topics consider the influence of wildfires.

Grade 6

Erosion, transportation, and sedimentation

Landslides, floods, and fires change human and

wildlife habitats

Sun energy powers winds, ocean currents, and water

cycle

Ecosystems and the exchange of energy and nutrients

Renewable and nonrenewable resources

Grade 7

          Evolution and species diversity

          Extinction and environmental change

          Rock cycle and uniformity

          Fossil evidence and past environmental conditions

          Flowering plants generate seeds and fruit.

Grade 8

          Rocks are changed by physical and chemical processes.

          Density and buoyancy related to natural objects

          Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, sulfur

in living organisms

Time  will vary with project.

Materials and Vocabulary will vary with activity.

Procedure             

Become familiar with the area you intend to investigate. Select a grade-level appropriate topic. Seek assistance from parents, volunteers, or older students.

Engage             

Introduce a question/s about the topic to be explored on your field trip. Allow time for discussion and predictions. Review the process skills that will be involved in conducting your exploration—observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, relating, inferring. Determine what materials or equipment will be necessary for your exploration. Set rules for behavior. Divide the class into cooperative teams. Make sure everyone knows the assignment.

Explore             

Lead students to the designated area. Seek the answer to your question/s using observational skills and appropriate tools. Record observations and data collected in journals or on data sheets.

Explain

Return to the classroom. Lead a discussion (communication) of your results. Where possible make comparisons. Organize your results in tables or graphs. Relate what you have learned to previous knowledge. Can you make inferences as to what might occur in similar situations? How can the knowledge you have gained be applied to real-life situations? Have students submit written reports.

Evaluate

Did you successfully answer your question/s? Did students behave in an appropriate manner?

Extend

Did your exploration lead to other questions? What would you like to learn on your next trip? Investigate environmental concerns or projects for student involvment.

Refer to the following Classroom Activities for additional field trip suggestions:

Grade 6                           

Activity 1 “Ecosystem Game”

Activity 2 “Fire Impacts on Streams”

                           

Grade 7                           

Activity 3 “Impact of Fire on Chaparral and Mixed Conifer Forests”             

                           

Grade 8                           

Activity 1 “Testing Water”

Activity 2 “Testing Soil”             

             

References

Russell, Helen Ross. Ten-Minute Field Trips. National Science Teachers Association, 1990.

ISBN 0-87355-098-6

Lingelbach, Jenepher and Lisa Purcell, editors. Hands-on Nature. Vermont Institute of Natural Science, 2000. ISBN: 1-58465-078-8

 

 

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