TG Escapes Blog
Outdoor Homework for the Christmas Holidays
At The Learning Escape, we appreciate the benefits of outdoor learning. We know it’s getting chilly and the longest night is looming, but there is still plenty of sunshine to be enjoyed, giving ample opportunity to encourage your pupils to get learning outside this Christmas holidays. Why not ask them to keep an outdoors, winter journal? You can see what ideas the class have as to what should be recorded, or you could use some of ours.
What about a weather log? Perhaps suggest the findings are recorded twice a day: once in the morning or late afternoon when it is still dark, and once towards the middle of the day. Is it dry, wet or frosty….or even snowy? Is it sunny enough to see your own shadow or clear enough to see lots of stars, or is there heavy cloud cover or even fog? Is it cold enough to see your own breath, or is it feeling nice and mild?
Ask everyone to take at least one walk and to make bark rubbings of the trees they come across. Get them to look up into the bare branches and count how many nests they can see in each tree. Suggest they stop a while in a quiet spot, close their eyes and listen out for as many different sounds as possible. Are the sounds loud or quiet; nearby or far in the distance; natural or manmade? Can they open their eyes and follow the sound to identify its source? Ask them to sketch the soundscape in their journal when they get home.
Encourage them to feed the birds, with either kitchen scraps or from a homemade feeder: we particularly like the idea above which is taken from this great Crafty Garden Ideas infographic from Sainsbury’s Bank. Alternatively, or in addition, they could make some fat cakes such as these from Gardeners’ World. Ask the children to keep a record of all the birds that visit the feeder, and maybe make a drawing or two of some of the most regular visitors.
Whatever you decide to include in the winter journal, don’t forget to make sure everyone remembers to wrap up warmly before heading outside to enjoy the fresh air and make their scientific observations.
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