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  • Sunday, July 13, 2014 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Instructional Aids , Science

    Learning gardens are ideally suited for developing the critical thinking skills and foundations of understanding for the disciplines of math, science and language arts. The inquiry based learning methods facilitated in the outdoor laboratory/outdoor classroom reaches across the curriculum by virtue of the inter-related nested and natural systems of the earth. When students’ are in the outdoor classroom they learn firsthand that natural systems are composed of cycles, processes and structures that interact and are driven by a flow of energy through them; the students‘ learn about these systems through sensory observations. Empirical learning through hands on science and math investigation creates transformative experiences which guide the students’ learning in ...

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  • Friday, July 11, 2014 | Filed under Volunteering , Language Arts , Educators , Lesson Plans , Science , REAL Teacher Journal , Math

    Friday, June 6th – Lee Elementary Full Day Professional Development



    Helping out with the teacher training was a very unique experience for me.  Having learned quite a bit about REAL School Gardens through my Nature of Giving course at TCU, I was very much looking forward to working here this summer.  From the beginning, I have been very open to helping out wherever needed and learning more about not only a wonderful, innovative organization, but growing in my nonprofit skills.  Getting to see a first teacher training happen was a blessing, and ended up teaching me more than ...

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  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Filed under Language Arts , Educators , Science , Math

    Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi believed in educating students through head, hand and heart. His pedagogical method was that education should be based on concrete experience as in the use of tactile objects such as plants and other natural specimens in teaching the sciences to students.

    These principles appeared in the introduction to A Manual of Elementary Instruction for the Use of Public and Private Schools and Normal Classes published in 1873. Do these principles still apply today?


    1. Activity is the law of childhood. Accustom the child to do – educate the hand.
    2. Cultivate the faculties in their natural order – ...

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  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Science


     Who knew that the physical properties and components of soil would be so all encompassing. This 1st grade student takes to the wonders of soil while viewing it through a loupe magnifier. She is learning to determine that soil particles have size, texture and color, and discovers soil is nonliving but has living components. In the outdoor classroom a student can observe, compare and describe the attributes of the medium they manipulate


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  • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Science



     When vegetable gardening, the Earth’s natural food cycles are integrated into the cycles of planting, growing, harvesting, composting and recycling, and these garden cycles are in turn implanted in larger systems that have further interconnections. Food cycles interconnect with the water cycle, the nitrogen, carbon dioxide - oxygen cycle, the nutritive cycle, and the cycle of the seasons. Vegetable gardening involves ...

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  • Friday, December 13, 2013 | Filed under Health and Nutrition , Educators , Lesson Plans , Science , REAL Teacher Journal

    What did the fig tree teach Ms. Burn’s 2nd grade class at Highland Meadows Elementary?



    Engage- Students independently estimated the number of figs on the tree. 

    Explore - Partners identified a branch and then counted the number of figs on their branch.

    Explain - Teams wrote their numbers down and we added double digit numbers using sidewalk chalk.  Teacher modeled with help from students the addition process.  We concluded that there were around 40 figs on the tree. 

    Elaborate - Students gathered around the tree again, picked a fig from the ground, and identified a leaf that ...

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  • Friday, November 1, 2013 | Filed under Educators , Lesson Plans , Science , REAL Teacher Journal

    10.28.2013 – Dig In at Gooch Elementary

    Pre-K, Kinder, and 1st grade teachers retrieved 6 rocks from the garden.  Then, they named their very favorite rock (Randy), and tried to build a rock tower with Randy at the very bottom or the very top of their tower.  Next, teachers placed their rock friend in a special place in the garden.  When they come to visit the garden, they will check on their friend and see what sorts of changes have occurred.  Imagine if a 1st grader checks up on their rock for 4 years.  By the time they enter ...

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  • Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | Filed under Engineering , Instructional Aids , Science , Math







    Solarization is a simple non-chemical technique, which captures radiant heat energy from the sun.  This energy causes physical, chemical, and biological changes in the soil.  These changes lead to control or suppression of soil borne plant pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and pests along with weed, weed seed and seedlings.



    Helpful Hint: Solarization is most likely to be effective during long days of high temperatures and no wind.  The summer months are the optimum time for solarization.



    How to Solarize?

    Step 1: Spade the soil 2 -3 inches ...

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  • Wednesday, June 26, 2013 | Filed under Engineering , Science , Math


    The Fibonacci numbers sequencing of natural objects and processes are natures’ way of creating pattern and order. For example, this naturally occurring numbering system is a way of growing patterns in plants that allow leaf arrangements to maximize space for each leaf so that the amount of light that falls on the plant is distributed equally; leaves on plants are staggered in a spiral pattern to allow the gathering of light and to prevent the casting of shadows on adjacent leaves. This sequence recurs in other structures found throughout nature in flowers, fruits and seeds. Flowers have petal arrangements ...

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  • Thursday, May 9, 2013 | Filed under Educators , Instructional Aids , Science

    We recently attended a great workshop at the NSTA conference in San Antonio where we acquired a simple and synthesized list of some of the best iPad apps to use in the outdoor classroom. For many of the apps, students took pictures of things outside and used the pictures in the apps to create diagrams, sequences, webs, etc. We thank Judi Kur and Kimber Hershberger, two elementary teachers from Pennsylvania, for sharing this list with us.  Looking for ways to integrate outdoor teaching and technology?  These apps are kid tested, teacher approved!



    This app allows students ...

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