How to Expose Students to Outdoor Activities

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

Outdoor recreation and activities offer a unique learning environment for students to learn about themselves and to form stronger social ties with their classmates. This lesson goes over methods to introduce children to these activities.

Outdoor Activities

Edwin is a second-year teacher who wants to make sure he gets his students outside as much as possible this year. He knows children learn by doing, and he thinks bringing them into the environment they're learning about is important. Outdoor activities, or learning that takes place outside the classroom, fall into these categories: leisure, noncompetitive, and community-oriented. How can Edwin provide his students with these experiences? Let's take a look.

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  • 0:04 Outdoor Activities
  • 0:30 Noncompetitive Activities
  • 1:31 Leisure Activities
  • 2:13 Community-Oriented Activities
  • 2:44 Safety
  • 4:03 Lesson Summary
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Noncompetitive Activities

Edwin knows students like to play games that allow them to compete against each other. Winning and competition are certainly motivators. However, noncompetitive activities, or those that don't have an end goal of winning or losing, have value as well.

One of the most common noncompetitive outdoor activities is hiking, which many first-time participants find both challenging and fun. The length and difficulty of the hike should be carefully chosen based on a number of factors: expected weather, available hiking areas, age of the students, fitness level, and hiking experience, to name the most important ones. For younger students, or those not used to a lot of physical activity, a half-mile paved path on mostly level ground might be appropriate. For an older group of students who've already had several successful hiking experiences, an eight-mile path, including steep hills and rougher trails, might be an appropriate challenge.

Like other noncompetitive activities, hiking often results in a feeling of shared accomplishment, which leads to better group-bonding.

Leisure Activities

There are all kinds of outdoor activities people participate in that fall into the leisure category. A leisure activity is one that uses free time for fun. Edwin and his girlfriend go cycling almost every weekend. His personal hobby inspires Edwin to coordinate with his local bike shop to take his students on a tour of their city, focusing on historic places corresponding to some of the lessons they have gone over during the school year.

When students have opportunities to participate in leisure activities, they get a chance to build fitness and stamina, learn about their environment, and work as a team to accomplish a goal. For example, on one cycling outing, Edwin took his students on a trail and had them work together to identify trees, a technique they were working on in science.

Community-Oriented Activities

Any activity that brings members of the community together makes for a stronger community. That's why, when Edwin finds out that one of the parents at the school is organizing a 5K run to raise funds for a local charity, he convinces his class to participate. Community-oriented activities help students become active in the lives of others and become members of a larger group. Some of the students raise money by running and getting sponsors, while others help provide refreshments to the runners or help with other details to make the race go smoothly.

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