Below are some online place-based education resources for teachers. These ideas are very low-to-no-cost and are meant to support curriculum you are already covering in class! These mini place-based education exercises introduce students to another learning environment that builds connections for them between what happens outside of the classroom and with in-class exercises.
Example 1: Journey North activities
Journey North is a free, Internet-based program that explores the interrelated aspects of seasonal change. For example, students discover that sunlight drives all living systems and they learn about the dynamic ecosystem that surrounds and connects them.
The site offers more than 40 activities and lesson plans for teachers to engage their students through place-based and traditional classroom settings. It also features live cams of exotic animals in their natural habitats and a free phone app for teachers to share data.
One great seasonal project is the Tulip Test Garden. This allows teachers to use the planting and growing cycles of spring to explore the changing seasons. Participants are encouraged to document their location and when the tulips emerge and bloom on Journey North’s website and compare results with other classes across the country. Visit http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/tulips/HowTo.html for more information.
Example 2: The Great Sunflower Project
The Great Sunflower Project is an online resource for teachers to show students the link between plants and pollinators. By using flower and insect counts and allowing teachers to share their information with a larger database, students are able to learn about how their backyard compares to locations nationwide.
The website also features maps, data resources and helps teachers plan which plants to add to their gardens in order to attract more pollinators. More information can be found at http://www.greatsunflower.org
Example 3: Audubon Society Bird Counts
For more than 116 years, the Audubon Society has asked citizens to help it catalogue and count various bird species across the nation with its annual bird counts. These counts are easy and fun activities to get students more aware of the diversity of species in their own backyards. The activities can take less than 15 minutes to complete and teachers can submit their data online or access the nation’s compiled results after the count is finished each year. There are two opportunities to participate:
Great Backyard Bird Count, Feb. 12 – 15.
Visit http://gbbc.birdcount.org/ for more information.
Christmas Bird Count, Dec. 14 – Jan. 5.
Visit http://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count for more information.