Outdoor lessons for K-12 students

collage of four images showing students engaged in outdoor lessons

Teaching outdoors is easier than you think. The outdoors is a place to inspire learning, get fresh air, lift moods, and reduce virus transmission.

Your students will love it!

Get started with these great, real-world lessons in math, science, reading, and writing.

Lessons, videos, and student handouts

Children ages 3 to 7 are natural explorers. Use these guided explorations to help young children discover learning concepts outdoors.

Full lessons

Student handouts and videos for outdoor learning

  • Soil Study video - Grades 4 and up. Learn how to sample soil, separate organic from inorganic matter, and make a soil shake.
  • Looking at Leaves - Go outside and collect some leaves. Then answer these questions.
  • Macroinvertebrate ID keys from MinnAqua – Students use these sheets to identify critters they find in the pond
  • Minnesota Season Journals: grades 3-5. Each journal contains vocabulary, diagrams, worksheets, and a structured way to record phenological observations of plants, animals, temperatures, and precipitation. Fall | Winter | Spring
  • Junior Ranger Activity Booklet: grades 3-5. Pages include outdoor bingo cards, mazes, and coloring sheets, covering topics such as camouflage, movement, fish, plant ID, senses, shapes, and habitat.
Middle School

Full lessons

Student handouts for outdoor learning

High School

Full lessons

  • Monitoring Forest Health lesson - Students head outdoors measure biotic and abiotic elements of a forest, schoolyard, local park, or backyard: measure a plot, assess soil pH, crown spread, diversity of other plants and animals, tree size, etc. Full lesson includes 14 student handouts.
  • Teaching With iTree- Three full lessons send students outside to identify and measure the diameter of a tree. Then they enter those values into iTree to calculate the value of that tree's benefits in terms of energy savings, water quality, and carbon sequestration.

Student handouts and videos for outdoor learning

Outdoor Classroom Management Skills

Managing a class outside is similar to your indoor classroom. Set expectations, have clear goals, and follow through with any discipline or reward.

If you're new to teaching outdoor or looking for tips on safety, weather, or rules, we have some ideas for you. How to Teach Outside.

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