Are you ready for the groan next week when you announce the half term homework assignment? Are you already inwardly dreading marking an amorphous mass of googled, cut and pasted projects? How about thinking outside the box a little to give you all a burst of enthusiasm? Think outside! The project can be designed to tie into one or more parts of the curriculum, with the emphasis on learning through exploration.
Only by exploring do children learn about their environment and the more they know about where they live, the more they will care about it. To learn more about the importance of environmental citizenship and the hugely beneficial impact that a connection with the outdoors can have upon a child, visit our website and take a look at our Whitepaper ‘The Outdoor Environment’. Without further ado, how about some of these ideas?
A Scavenger Hunt
Get the children to think of things that they might expect to see outside and create a bingo style grid for them to take home and tick off items as they come across them on a walk, a trip to the park or even exploring in their own back gardens. Suggest they make a note of when and where they saw the items which might include a puddle, a robin, a snowdrop, a spider, a rainbow or a stripy umbrella.
Make a Rock Stack
Set the children the task of building the highest stack of rocks they can manage. Ask them to take a photo of their tower, to measure its height and count how many rocks they used.
Ask the children to keep a log of all the birds that they see when out and about. Suggest they make a note of the type, if known, and distinguishing features if they are unsure. How big is it; what colour is it; what are its feet like or what shape is its beak?
Paper Aeroplane Flight Record
Practice making paper aeroplanes in class, then ask the children to make some more at home and to record their flights in a chart. How far did the plane fly; was the flight straight or looped; was the landing soft or hard and what was the difference between different designs? Was it a windy day or a rainy one? How long did it take before the plane got too soggy to fly?
The possibilities are endless, but the objective is specific: get the children outside and exploring. They won’t even realise they’re doing homework!