Whether teaching reading, math, science, or social studies, nature can be a teacher’s best friend for motivating students and engaging learning. The DNR has a variety of resources to help educators in formal and nonformal settings teach students about natural resources. Explore this page to find lessons, outdoor teaching tips, and opportunities for professional development.
- How to Teach Outside - Tips to help you prepare and succeed in your outdoor classroom.
- Nature Play - Playing outside has numerous benefits, get started by learning about the benefits and how to encourage nature play.
- Bringing Nature Inside - Tips and ideas on bringing natural objects inside including how to collect items, attracting wildlife to your window, and creating a nature corner.
- Classroom animals - Before you bring animals in the classroom consider these important points.
Lessons and Curriculum
- K-12 Outdoor Lessons - Use these lessons and videos to take learning outdoors in your schoolyard, neighborhood, or outdoor classroom.
- A Teacher’s Guide to Arbor Month - Contains eight lessons (K-8) about Minnesota’s trees and the natural world.
- Geology of Minnesota: A Guide for Teachers - Guide for 6-8 teachers and others who have an interest in understanding Minnesota’s geology.
- Mining Lessons and Activities - Includes fact sheet and activities: cookie mining, layer cake core drilling, birdseed mining, and bingo game.
- MinnAqua Leader’s Guide - View and download 39 detailed, illustrated lessons and activities to introduce 3-5 graders to fishing.
- Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Young Naturalists - Articles and teacher’s guides designed to engage elementary and middle school students in nonfiction topics on natural science and outdoor life.
- Public Land and Mineral Ownership: A Guide for Teachers - Resources to supplement 9-12 grade discussions on Minnesota’s history, government, and geography.
- Wildfire Prevention - Download Smokey Bear materials (K—8) and learn about Firewise Communities: Reducing the Risk of Wildlife (9-12) lessons.
- Complete a training to get a copy of these interdisciplinary curriculums: Project Learning Tree - , Project WET - , or Project WILD -
Free Teacher Materials
- Build a Prairie coloring book - Print out this coloring book when classroom materials related to prairie are needed.
- Forestry Posters - Request free copies of education posters from DNR Forestry.
- All About Minnesota’s Forests and Trees: A Primer - An overview on forestry in Minnesota for educators, naturalists, and students.
- Smokey Bear classroom materials- Any Minnesota educator can order activity cards, coloring books, posters, and other classroom materials.