I have recently been exploring a book titled “15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids” – by Rebecca P. Cohen. I recommend this book to teachers because it has many different ideas for engaging students in an outdoor experience every single day.
What changes could be made by spending 15 minutes outside each day? What kind of inquiry learning could take place. This book offers many starting points to allow students to explore.
What I really enjoyed about the set up of the book was that the ideas are separated by month. In the fall students can plant cool-season vegetables or make a leaf scrapbook. In the spring one can go pond skimming or compare shadows. There is an abundance of ideas in this book, suitable for each month, each season, and many different areas of interest.
Spending 15 minutes outside every day opens up students to a world that is often closed off as they sit in classrooms or spend time inside playing video games. These 15 minutes create a connection for students with the space and the place that they live in. Thus, beginning an environmental citizenship. How can one care about a place if they don’t have the opportunity to connect with it?
Whether the ideas presented in Cohen’s book are used to stimulate inquiry learning or simply to give students a brain break from the demands of the classroom, spending 15 minutes outside will do nothing but benefit student engagement.