Family Science Learning Overview
In this activity, take a walk with your family to wonder and notice who and what is in your neighborhood ecosystem.
If your family did the Preparing for Outdoors activity (LE 2.A), you can use some of your ideas during that activity to focus your walk. If you haven’t, you can look for plants, animals, water, or land features to focus on, or focus on whatever you notice and share what you are wondering about with your family.
As you walk outside, make observations of what is around you and share these with each other. Observe what you see, hear, smell, or feel. When you find something that is interesting to you, draw or write what you notice and wonder about. Use the activity sheet provided, or make your own by copying the charts onto a blank sheet of paper. Bring this with you when you go outside.
Outdoor learning tip:
- If it’s raining or you forget something to write on, you can take pictures of what you notice or simply remember them. You can then draw and write about your noticings and wonderings when you get back inside.
What Can You Do To Support Learning?
- Before you go outdoors, make some predictions about what you think you’ll observe. What do you think we’ll see outside and why? What signs of the season do you think we’ll notice?
- Allow time for open exploration. In this walk, the most important thing is to observe the world around you! You may start to notice patterns and make connections, which are both important science practices.
- Ask questions! Sharing ideas is an important part of collaborative learning. As you walk, ask family members questions to support detailed noticing and wondering and offer your own wonderings:
- What are you noticing? How do you think it came to be like this? What do you think it will look like if we came out tomorrow or next week? Do you think we’ll notice the same thing if we walk to another part of our neighborhood?
- I wonder…. [bring up your own wondering or question]
- Does this remind you of anything that we’ve seen before?
Connecting with Other Families
Share this activity with other families and friends. Ask them what they noticed or wondered about on their walks. Take notes and think about these next time you go out! For example, what are some similarities or differences in what you are observing in different areas?
Connect to Other Activities
Possible Extension Activities :
- Pick one or two of your wonderings and see if your family can find out more information (from a book, a video or a tv show, by asking another person, or searching online). What did your family learn about your wondering(s) from the resources you used? How might you investigate your questions?
- Think about the relationships you noticed (and wondered about). Have a family discussion about why these relationships might be important to the ecosystem. What other relationships are you curious about and why?
Learning in Places Frameworks to Consider
- Observations and Data Collection
- Asking Powerful Questions in Field-Based Science