Teaching in the Outdoors


Eric Reisweber



Teaching outdoors can seem overwhelming and more challenging than in the controlled environment and safety of the standard school classroom. However, those risks produce great rewards for teachers and students alike. As stated by Jacobi-Vessels (2013) benefits to teaching outdoors include, “an understanding of local ecology and the developing an intrinsic drive to conduct scientific inquiries/observations.” The goal of this mini course is to demonstrate how all teachers can develop and thrive teaching in nature.


  1. Develop a concern for the natural world and effect of our actions upon it.
  2. Provide students with hands-on experiences applying scientific processes, such as observing,inferencing, and drawing conclusions.
  3. Use the natural setting as a way to promote real-world learning opportunities.

Unit 1: Observation vs. Inference

Lesson 1: Observation vs. Inference

One of the foundations in teaching science curriculum is the promotion of observation and inference. Developing observations can be modeled in the classroom and perfected outside. See the following sequence of events to promote the learning of these concepts.

Unit 2: Local Ecology

Lesson 2: Local Ecology

After allowing students time to observe their surroundings on the school property it’s time to have them pursue their interests.

By allowing them choice in what they want to study will increase student buy-in and engagement.

Unit 3: Design for the Future

Lesson 3: Design for the Future

Unit 3 is designed to have students apply what they’ve researched and learned in order to benefit the ecosystem.