First grade STEM project #1

{First grade teacher Ms. Darea wanted to share how she is using The Outdoor Learning Center in combination with her classroom and technology to implement Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) into first grade studies.  She provided these photos and the explanation below.  Sounds like awesome stuff!}

Amazing things happened in my classroom this week!  We went to The Outdoor Learning Center for two days practicing our observation and recording skills.  On Friday, during my integrated math/science block, we organized the data we collected, made a pictograph on the Mimeo Board, and analyzed the data!  There was so much math going on it was ridiculous!  The kids were totally engaged for the entire hour and a half!  First, they circled all of the plants they observed and recorded in their science journals in green.  Then, they circled all the animals in blue.  They then counted these in cooperative groups of five.  Each person had a job.  There was a recorder, a plant counter, a plant counter rechecker, an animal counter, and an animal counter rechecker.  I recorded these numbers for each group on the two column chart.  Then, I put a calculator under the document camera and showed them how to add the large numbers.  They counted 100 plants as a whole group and 96 animals.  We then took the difference of the this and talked about the numbers a little.  We even broke it down a little further into how many spiders and birds were observed.  Most kids got to come up to add their group data to our pictograph.  It was truly an amazing experience.  Look for more STEM projects coming up.  I’ve allotted time to be able to do this each Friday.  Our work through the week in science will culminate in a big integrated project like this one on Fridays.  It’s encouraging that this one turned out so well!






More on the primitive skills elective offering

Mr. Josh and the primitive skills crew

Mr. Josh and his primitive skills crew are putting The Outdoor Learning Center to good use!


Trying to start a fire with a magnifying glass.


A travois or stretcher



Using a magnesium stick to start fire.

The Outdoor Learning Center

Teachers and Board members learning about The Outdoor Learning Center before school began.
The 2011-2012 school year boasts the introduction of The Outdoor Learning Center (TOLC) at TLC!  This outdoor learning center is located adjacent to The Learning Center! campus.

The screen house in The Outdoor Learning Center.


In addition to a fire pit and seating area, TOLC also includes garden areas, berry patches, an old spring house, walking trails, story trees and screen house.  This awesome outdoor classroom space can be used for every subject taught during the school day including math, science, language arts, social studies, music, art and free play. 

Sixth graders making use of the fire pit.
Sixth graders are acting out Greek myths from their summer reading project in The Outdoor Learning Center.

Sixth graders wasted no time figuring out how to use TOLC.  Over the summer they read about Greek Gods and Goddesses and Ms. Jamie immediately knew it would be neat to let them act them out in TOLC.  The students put together a booklet of their specific story, read it together, and then made a skit.  Above, students are acting out the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades called “The Journey to the Underworld.” 

Stay tuned here to learn more about TOLC as the year progresses.  You’ll be able to use the Category drop down menu located in the right hand side bar to select “The Outdoor Learning Center” to pull up blog posts about it anytime you want to learn more.