Land Lab Grants

Points to Remember

 

  • Document every step with photos, video and notes.

  • Make sure that several educators in your building are on baord. Often, after the first year or two, projects get neglected due to teachers retiring or moving buildings.

  • Be flexible with your budget and "wish list". A happy balance must be struck between these two topics in order to have a functional outdoor classroom. Always ask, "Is there a better/cheaper way to accomplish our plan?"

  • Your labor force could include: students, parents, scouts, retired citizens, club members, inmates, students from other schools looking for community service projects.

  • Stay committed to the project, even after it has been completed. So many labs fall to the wayside because the one or few people who developed the lab, leaves the school. Without someone to keep the lab working, all that time, money and energy will have been wasted.

  • Get the students involved in the planning and construction. It helps give them a sense of ownership, and could reduce vandalism.

  • Make sure everyone has fun. If this becomes a chore, then the project will be short lived. Instead, add something new for the lab or find a new spin on an old aspect.

  • Don't forget to participate in certification workshops like: Project WILD, Project Learning Tree, Project WET, and Habitats for Learning.

  • Consider developing a library of activities which will be specifically used in the land lab. Put items needed for different activities and stations into large, labeled, plastic bins with lids, and keep them in the library.

  • Keep things simple. Each station should provide the basic materials, and the teachers can bring the items needed for the lesson.

  • Cheap and/or free materials are available if you know where to look.

  • Never overlook the students' parents. This is a valuable professional resource.

  • Almost any subject can be taught in a land lab, not just science. It may take more ingenuity and creativity, not necessarily money, to present a different subject.

  • Set the rules for the outdoor classroom before going outside; which shouldn't be much different than the rules for being inside. Enforce the rules and maintain the lesson, otherwise the students may consider this an extra recess.

  • Land labs may make some teachers uncomfortable, simply because he or she is not familiar with nature. Take along some identification guides and a notebook to record questions to be researched later.
     

Raised beds designed to grow food for local food bank

Rain garden designed and constructed by 7th graders

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