Nature Based Education Summer Institute

Session 1

2017 Nature Based Education Home | Friday Sessions | Friday Evening Lecture | Saturday Sessions

Session A  Outdoor Classroom: First Steps

Location: Landing
Presenters:

Who will benefit most from this session?

  • Early educators (B-5 age students)
  • Early educator directors/administrators
  • Primary grade educators (Pk- Grade 3)

Session Description: The session will help educators connect learning to nature by sharing ideas of how to start an outdoor classroom by making small steps that expand as the children and staff are ready. Setting up a feeding station for birds, squirrels and chipmunks will support literacy as we read about them, numeracy as we count how many come to the feeders and science as we learn about their diet. Filling the feeders will support children in having responsibilities, turn taking, problem solving and making predictions. Children will learn to recognize different types of birds as well as squirrels and chipmunks. Children will begin to become stewards of nature.

The participants will move outside during the session to take part in a small group activity that they can do with their children. There will be samples of natural materials that can be readily found in our area and ideas of how they support different areas of curriculum.

Presenter Biography: Jill Barnes was raised on a family dairy farm in Maine and has always preferred outdoor activities. Jill had a family day care for 7 years before moving into center based care. Jill has been with Broadreach Family & Community Services for 16 years. She helped to pilot Unity Sprouts, an outdoor inclusive summer program in 2015. This year Broadreach has opened 2 Sprouts nature based programs that are open year round. Jill helped the Forest Classroom at the Mill Lane site in Belfast start up and then returned to the Unity Sprouts year round program. Jill obtained her degree in Early Childhood Education at UMF and has the 081 and 282 credentials.

2017 Nature Based Education Home | Friday Sessions | Friday Evening Lecture | Saturday Sessions


Session B Exploring Nature Through Agriculture – Resources and Hands-On Activities

Location: North Dining Hall A
Presenters:

Who will benefit from this session?

  • Primary grade educators (Pk- Grade 3)
  • Early educators (B-5 age students)
  • Early educator directors/administrators
  • Upper elementary educators (Grade 4-6)
  • Middle grade educators (Grades 7-8)
  • Out of school educators (4-H, museum, camp settings)
  • Pre-Service Teachers

Session Description: To make participants aware of the plethora of free lessons, activities, videos and other resources available to use agriculture as a teaching tool in all subjects across their curriculum.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Increased utilization of available hands-on experiential materials available.
  2. Increased instruction in formal and informal education to include the food and fiber system.
  3. Increase awareness in educators and students of how food is grown, healthy local foods and farms that produce it!

How does your session help educators connect learning to nature?

Agriculture is the study of plants, soils, water systems, ecosystems, weather, recycling/composting, and much more, that are all part of nature.  Gardening is a great way to get students outside and interested in working with the soil to grow the foods they love to eat!

Curriculum materials for educators are pre-aligned to state and national standards and free to access online from Maine Ag in the Classroom (AITC) and National AITC in a searchable format. Many other sources, such as Nutrients for Life, The American Farm Bureau and The Wild Blueberry Commission provide free materials to teachers just for the asking!

How will participants engage in nature during your session?
Participants will actually build 2×2 mini-gardens and learn what is needed in the soil for their seeds to grow, for drainage and watering and actually plant seeds that will grow this summer in their classrooms or homes.

Presenter Biography: Kevin has been a preschool instructor for over 30 years, and a UMaine instructor for nearly a decade, and with each group he has introduced the students to the joy and necessity for agriculture education and experiential activities. Named the 2015 Teacher of the Year for Maine Agriculture in the Classroom, Kevin is always striving to find new and inventive ways to get agriculture activities and education into the hands of the upcoming generations. Originally from Aroostook county and a family of 15, Kevin was introduced to agriculture at an early age, but found something missing from his education. While his father taught him much about agriculture, the JOY surrounding agriculture learning was missing from the instruction. Kevin strives to make agriculture learning enjoyable and educational, and from the reaction of his students, he is successful in his teachings about agriculture.

2017 Nature Based Education Home | Friday Sessions | Friday Evening Lecture | Saturday Sessions


Session C Engineering Design Inspired by Nature

Location: North Dining Hall B
Presenters:

Who will benefit from this session?

  • Middle grade educators (Grades 7-8)
  • Upper elementary educators (Grade 4-6)
  • High School educators (Grades 9-12)
  • Out of school educators (4-H, museum, camp settings)
  • Any age/grade Educator

Session Description: Session goals are to (1) develop an appreciation for the vast engineering feats of nature and (2) learn about how to integrate engineering design into your science teaching.  By the end of this workshop, participants will understand and have experienced the steps of the engineering design process.

Participants will explore and make observations of biotic and abiotic aspects of nature in order to learn about how natural organisms survive and thrive in nature. This experience will provide STEM projects  that teachers can bring back to and apply in their own classrooms and habitats around their school’s campus.

Presenter Biographies STEMinists: Carole Lee is Associate Professor of Elementary Education at UMF and Susie Nicholson-Dykstra is the Director of Teacher Education Accreditation at UMF and high school science teacher.

Click here for session materials.

2017 Nature Based Education Home | Friday Sessions | Friday Evening Lecture | Saturday Sessions


Session D: Relationship Between Spiritual Development and Nature

Location: North Dining Hall C
Presenter: Deborah L. Schein (Schein.deborah@gmail.com)
Who will benefit most from this session?

  • Any age/grade Educator

Description of presentation: Deb will share her journey towards a useable definition of spiritual development to be used in all schools for all children learning within the United States. In 2012 she completed research in which a definition of spiritual development emerged.  This definition consists of a system of spiritual development that includes deep connections and the nurturing of a child’s disposition.  Through such connections and spiritual nurturing, children grow in their ability to act kindly and with empathy.  Being a system, each part of the system contributes  to sustaining and strengthening  the entire system.   Nature appears to play a major part of this system as it provides many spiritual moments as well as wonderment, awe, and joy.  In this workshop participants will learn about the findings and make a Nattle – a nature rattle for participants to take home.

  • Participants will learn how to use nature to support children’s spiritual development.
  • They will learn what spiritual development can look like and feel like in nature settings.
  • Participants will glean a deeper understanding of how the hundred languages of children supports feelings of biophilia.

Presenter Biography: Deborah L. Schein has been an early childhood educator since 1972.  After many years of teaching in urban, suburban, private, and public early childhood classrooms and colleges, she completed a Ph.D. in order to research a definition of spiritual development.  She currently works as an educational consultant and teaches early childhood graduate courses for Champlain College . Deborah offers workshops across the country for national movements and participates in webinars about the connection between spiritual development, nature, and peace education for young children.  She has also helped in publishing several books – What’s Jewish about Butterflies (Handelman & Schein, 2003), The Great Outdoors (Rivkin with Schein, 2014), and two books that will be published 2016-2017 by Redleaf Press and WholePerson Press.  It is Deb’s goal to help others nurture the spiritual life of children.

Please click here for session materials.

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Session E Nature Based Middle School Education – Full STEAM Ahead

Location: Conference Room 123
Presenters

Who will benefit from this session?

  • Middle grade educators (Grades 7-8)
  • Upper elementary educators (Grade 4-6)
  • High School educators (Grades 9-12)

Session Description: The goal of the “Nature based middle school education- full STEAM ahead” session is to share with educators and pre-service teachers several nature based curriculum ideas that have been well tested and published and to share some ideas that still need honing. The Forest Bioproduct Research Institute at the University of Maine teamed up with middle school teachers over several years to help develop middle school inquiry based investigations that promote forest health, for a stable bio-economy, understand and separate wood components, and create and commercialize new bioproducts.

Over the last nine years there have been several FBRI Teacher outreach presentations (local, state, and national) as well as two NSTA Science Scope publications. Some of the learning outcomes will be that teachers will understand the mission of FBRI and learn more about the research that is being conducted, as well as learn more about RET opportunities. Teachers will be able to implement some of the inquiry activities into their current curriculum and teachers will provide feedback to improve and refine some of the unfinished inquiry investigations.

The session will begin with activities that promote forest health, by focusing on a particular tree on campus. Teachers will take pictures of the tree from three different perspectives, they will write observations, research, and study the tree. Teachers will be shown how this information can be gathered and geolocated with Google Maps and how the layer can be shared with the community (recording observations, writing, art).  We will separate wood components by collecting leaf specimens to be steamed for water-soluble extracts (life science and chemistry). We can also set-up experiments that compare the biodegradability of different leaf species. Teachers can also explore some commercialization of new bioproducts by making and breaking (pre-made) composite planks made from saw dust and bakers dough (physical science and engineering). Finally we will explore innovative uses for nanocellulose (physical science and innovation).  This session is designed to demonstrate how cutting edge research and innovation can start in nature and can be used to promote its sustainability.

Presenters Biography: Tracy Vassiliev has a MS degree in Marine Bio-resources and MEd in Science education. Before becoming a teacher she was a science researcher with the Maine Lobster Institute. Tracy has been at the James F. Doughty Middle School for 14 years and has worked nine summers as a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded, research experience for teachers (RET) with FBRI (Forest Bioproducts Research Institute).

Please click here for session materials.

2017 Nature Based Education Home | Friday Sessions | Friday Evening Lecture | Saturday Sessions