Nature Walk

Walks in nature provide opportunities to use all five senses to investigate the changing seasons. Crayola® Washable Markers let you represent your observations in full color!

  • 1.

    Take a walk! Or plan to take a short weekly or bi-weekly nature walk over the course of one season (Fall, Spring, Winter) or throughout the school year. These walks can be around the schoolyard, on a local nature trail, or on a safe sidewalk in the neighborhood.

  • 2.

    As you walk, instruct students to take time to use their senses one at a time to gather information about the environment. Start the walk by feeling the temperature of the air. Invite children to describe the temperature and the moisture in the air. Model age-appropriate vocabulary used to describe these environmental features.

  • 3.

    Continue the walk using vision to see as much as possible without any talking. After a few minutes, invite children to share what they saw. Ask questions about signs of the seasons they observed with their sense of vision.

  • 4.

    Next walk using ears to hear the sounds of the seasons and the environment. Take a minute to allow children to share all of the sounds they heard.

  • 5.

    Walk with your noses in the air! Students use their sense of smell to get information about their environment. What do the children smell? What do these smells tell about their surroundings?

  • 6.

    The final part of the nature walk can focus on touch and feeling. Initially focus on touching things in the environment. You may wish to plan ahead for this part so that students are near a pile of leaves, a snowy slope, or a puddle so students have something specific to touch. At the end of the walk, discuss once more how your body feels. Do you feel warm? Do you feel cold? Do you feel energized? Do you feel tired? Talk about the physical effects and benefits of taking walks.

  • 7.

    When you return to the classroom, provide white drawing paper and Crayola Washable Markers for students to visually depict their experiences. Encourage them to find ways to show the temperature, things they heard, saw, and touched, and the way their bodies felt at the end of the walk. Invite children to include living things they observed along their walks and symbols to represent weather and seasons.

  • 8.

    Ask pairs of children to share their drawings and describe the choices they made in them. Observe these conversations to informally assess learning.

  • 9.

    Compile illustrations over time into individual notebooks so children can see how plant and animal life changes through the seasons.

Standards

  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • LA: Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
  • LA: Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.
  • SCI: Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time.
  • SCI: Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.
  • SCI: Make observations at different times of year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year.
  • SCI: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
  • VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.
  • VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.
  • VA: Students will reflect on, share insights about, and refine works of art and design.

Adaptations

  • Discuss the words “observe” and “observation”. How do people observe their surroundings? What is an observation? What makes a good observation? Guide students to understand that to observe means to “watch carefully”.
  • Explore each walk before taking children with you. Find interesting natural features to investigate, such as seeds, nuts, feathers, upturned soil, or bird nests.
  • Invite students to create a nature walk checklist to use to take their families for nature walks. Use the items observed and sense experiences from your nature walk to create the lists.