So you've built your GOSY project... Now what do we do???
Updated: Feb 2, 2020
It is the classic, just because we built the Greening of Schoolyard projects, what happens next? Folks don't always know what to do or how best to use these features.
Sometimes it the uses evolve over time with creativity and persistence from teachers. Other times, it is the magic of self-directed exploration from the students that drives the broader use. Or maybe there is a local partner or grandparent who has some time and talent to share and takes kids on adventures or teaches them how to grow tomatoes. If your community has the resources, local non-profits have programs that will come and teach.
Whatever the start, there are simple and easy ways to engage those students in getting outdoors. Learning can come from a curricula based STEM activity or just a recess game. Most folks find that when you start small and easy (and low cost), the time spent is really successful.
If you find you are a school with new GOSY features, here are some ideas to start getting you students outdoors, connecting to nature:
Have a staff, parent volunteer or student leader host a recess nature scavenger hunt
In the fall, bring in bunches of fall flowers like dahlias, aster or sunflowers and let the kids explore
Gourd studies are so much fun in the fall. Put of variety of small and medium gourds in a discovery box and let them explore the textures. Crack a few open and talk about what you see
Rock cycles, the bigger the better. Third graders typically study the processes of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rock formations. If you have rocks, boulder or even the whole representation, send the kids on a hunt as to what they find. Explore the differences and let them tell you what they see.
Raised garden boxes don't always have to be used for veggies (although we love it when they are). If you don't have time to create a master garden, start with sunflowers and nasturtiums (usually K-1 are studying basics of plants). Don't have time for plants, then add start an experiment.....add a variety of organic matter and see which ones decompose faster. Does adding worms to the beds help?
Local organizations and on-line trainings are available to help teachers and staff learn how to teach outside. Look in your area for ideas or search the web (i.e. Mystery Science, Clearing Magazine, etc). In Clark County, the Clark County Nature Network will launch GOSY trainings in 2020. Stay tuned for more information!