Using the Outdoors to Teach STEM During the COVID-19 Pandemic

An In-Person Standards-Based Professional Development Workshop for Teachers Grades K-4

INSTRUCTORS: Colleen Kelley and Helen Ann Sephton
DAYS AND TIME: Tuesday-Friday, 9am-12:00pm
DATE: August 18-21, 2020
FEE: $100 per person*
*Underwriting support has been generously provided by Whalen Insurance so that we may offer this professional development institute at a discounted rate for teachers.

Are you looking for creative and innovative ways to transition back to teaching at school? What new techniques will you need to have in your toolkit to create a supportive structure for your class? According to medical experts, COVID-19 transmission decreases outdoors, making outdoor education a safe alternative to strictly indoor learning. Being outdoors is also known to reduce anxiety and increase focus in children, as well as increase their interest in the environment.

This in-person teacher institute will model the latest COVID-19 health and safety guidelines while extending the classroom to the outdoors. Digital photography is the tool we will use throughout to promote observation, recall information, analyze data, demonstrate conclusions, and reflect on the process of learning. You will leave with many tools and best practices to share with your colleagues.

All lessons and activities modeled during this 4-day workshop will use the Hitchcock Center’s STEM-based outdoor classroom and will directly address Massachusetts State Standards for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Learning outcomes will include: 

A total of 12 Professional Development Points (PDPs) will be awarded upon completion of this workshop. 

ABOUT OUR INSTRUCTORS

Colleen Kelley, Education Director

Colleen has worked at the Hitchcock Center for over 35 years. She has had a lifelong goal of bringing science and nature alive through creative approaches to education that combines a keen understanding of each developmental stage of a child. Colleen provides strategic oversight and direction of the Center’s comprehensive environmental education programs. She develops and implements teacher professional development workshops that align school curriculum to the 2016 Science and Technology/Engineering Design frameworks. Colleen supports S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) learning in PreK-8 classrooms through designing classroom experiences and field trips that are Inquiry, phenomena and place-based. Colleen has received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education, the Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Education, and the New England Environmental Education Alliance Non-formal Educator of the Year Award.

Helen Ann Sephton, Environmental Educator/School Programs Coordinator

Helen Ann has been teaching at the Hitchcock Center for over 30 years. She plans, coordinates and implements the Hitchcock Center’s K–12 School Programs including field trips, classroom presentations, residencies, and professional development for teachers. Helen Ann worked on a New England Environmental Education Alliance – Environmental Protection Agency grant to develop innovative state-wide curriculum that meets the NGSS.  She has received the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs award for Excellence in Environmental Education.

MASSACHUSETTS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY/ENGINEERING STANDARDS

KINDERGARTEN

Kindergarten: Earth and Space Sciences 

ESS2. Earth’s Systems 

K-ESS2-1. Use and share quantitative observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time. . 

K-ESS2-2. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how plants and animals (including humans) can change the environment. 

Kindergarten: Life Science 

LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes 

K-LS1-1. Observe and communicate that animals (including humans) and plants need food, water, and air to survive. Animals get food from plants or other animals. Plants make their own food and need light to live and grow. 

K-LS1-2(MA). Recognize that all plants and animals grow and change over time. 

GRADE 1 

Grade 1: Earth and Space Sciences 

ESS1. Earth’s Place in the Universe 

1-ESS1-2. Analyze provided data to identify relationships among seasonal patterns of change, including relative sunrise and sunset time changes, seasonal temperature and rainfall or snowfall patterns, and seasonal changes to the environment. 

Grade 1: Life Science 

LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes 

1-LS1-1. Use evidence to explain that (a) different animals use their body parts and senses in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water, and air, and (b) plants have roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits that are used to take in water, air, and other nutrients, and produce food for the plant. 

1-LS1-2. Obtain information to compare ways in which the behavior of different animal parents and their offspring help the offspring to survive. 

LS3. Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits 

1-LS3-1. Use information from observations (first-hand and from media) to identify similarities and differences among individual plants or animals of the same kind. 

Grade 1: Technology/Engineering 

ETS1. Engineering Design 

1.K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change that can be solved by developing or improving an object or tool.* 

1.K-2-ETS1-2. Generate multiple solutions to a design problem and make a drawing (plan) to represent one or more of the solutions.* 

GRADE 2

Grade 2: Earth and Space Sciences 

ESS2. Earth’s Systems 

2-ESS2-1. Investigate and compare the effectiveness of multiple solutions designed to slow or prevent wind or water from changing the shape of the land.

2-ESS2-4(MA). Observe how blowing wind and flowing water can move Earth materials from one place to another and change the shape of a landform. 

Grade 2: Life Science 

LS2. Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics 

2-LS2-3(MA). Develop and use models to compare how plants and animals depend on their surroundings and other living things to meet their needs in the places they live. 

LS4. Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity 

2-LS4-1. Use texts, media, or local environments to observe and compare (a) different kinds of living things in an area, and (b) differences in the kinds of living things living in different types of areas. 

Grade 2: Physical Science 

PS1. Matter and Its Interactions 

2-PS1-1. Describe and classify different kinds of materials by observable properties of color, flexibility, hardness, texture, and absorbency. 

2-PS1-2. Test different materials and analyze the data obtained to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose.

Grade 2: Technology/Engineering 

ETS1. Engineering Design 

2.K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same design problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each object performs. 

GRADE 3

Grade 3: Earth and Space Sciences 

ESS3. Earth and Human Activity 

3-ESS3-1. Evaluate the merit of a design solution that reduces the damage caused by weather.* 

Grade 3: Life Science 

LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes 

3-LS1-1. Use simple graphical representations to show that different types of organisms have unique and diverse life cycles. Describe that all organisms have birth, growth, reproduction, and death in common but there are a variety of ways in which these happen. 

LS3. Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits 

3-LS3-1. Provide evidence, including through the analysis of data, that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exist in a group of similar organisms. 

3-LS4-2. Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals within the same species may provide advantages to these individuals in their survival and reproduction. 

3-LS4-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular environment some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive. 

3-LS4-5(MA). Provide evidence to support a claim that the survival of a population is dependent upon reproduction. 

Grade 3: Technology/Engineering 

ETS1. Engineering Design 

3.3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem that reflects a need or a want. Include criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost that a potential solution must meet.* 

3.3-5-ETS1-2. Generate several possible solutions to a given design problem. Compare each solution based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the design problem.* 

GRADE 4

Grade 4: Earth and Space Sciences 

ESS2. Earth’s Systems 

4-ESS2-1. Make observations and collect data to provide evidence that rocks, soils, and sediments are broken into smaller pieces through mechanical weathering and moved around through erosion. 

4-ESS3-2. Evaluate different solutions to reduce the impacts of a natural event such as an earthquake, blizzard, or flood on humans.

Grade 4: Life Science 

LS1. From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes 

4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that animals and plants have internal and external structures that support their survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction. 

Grade 4: Physical Science 

PS3. Energy 

4-PS3-2. Make observations to show that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. 

Grade 4: Technology/Engineering 

ETS1. Engineering Design 

4.3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out tests of one or more design features of a given model or prototype in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify which features need to be improved. Apply the results of tests to redesign a model or prototype. 

4.3-5-ETS1-5(MA). Evaluate relevant design features that must be considered in building a model or prototype of a solution to a given design problem.* 

Massachusetts Mathematics Standards

Kindergarten

Counting and Cardinality:

  1. Count to tell the number of objects.
  2. Compare numbers.
  3. Identify whether the number of objects in one group is greater than, less than, or equal to the number of objects in another group for groups with up to 10 objects, e.g., by using matching and counting strategies.

Measurement and Data:

  1. Classify objects and count the number of objects in each category.

Grades 1- 4

Measurement and Data:

Represent and Interpret Data

Massachusetts English Language Arts and Literacy Standards

Kindergarten 

Text Types and Purposes:

  1. 2. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
  2. 3. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

Grade 1

Text Types and Purposes:

  1. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  2. Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

MA.3.A. Write poems with rhyme and repetition.

Grade 2

Text Types and Purposes:

  1. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  2. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

MA.3.A. Write stories or poems with dialogue.

Grade 3

Text Types and Purposes:

  1. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  2. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

MA.3.A. Write poems, descriptions, and stories in which figurative language and the sounds of words (e.g., alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme) are key elements.

Grade 4

Text Types and Purposes:

  1. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  2. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective
    technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

MA.3.A. Write stories, poems, and scripts that use similes and/or metaphors.

Translate »
Hitchcock Center for the Environment