Family Science Learning Overview

Use this activity to look for signs of relationships in your neighborhood while you walk. Learning to notice relationships in the social and natural world is important for thinking about socio-ecological systems.

Focusing on relationships among different members and parts of a system helps us understand the many ways in which everything is connected. You might notice relationships between humans and plants directly or indirectly between things humans have built. For example, plants growing in the cracks of sidewalks or in yards. Or you might notice relationships between animals, like a dog chasing a squirrel. You can also look for relationships between the land and water.


  • Use the activity sheet to guide your thinking while you walk. You can draw the template on a piece of paper or try using a journal to collect your observations over time. 
  • Look for signs of relationships and draw or write anything interesting that you see. 
  • If any new questions come up, write them down and come back to them later.

What Can You Do To Support Learning?

  • Talk about relationships in your own family, and don’t forget to mention neighbors, teachers, pets, plants, etc. Ask children what they think is important about those relationships. While you walk, look for examples of relationships in the neighborhood. Who is in a relationship with whom? What does it remind you of?
  • Pay attention to what captures your family’s interest. Look above, below and around to discover what might be in relation. What kinds of relationships are you noticing? Who or what benefits from these relationships?
  • Can you find a relationship that is not directly connected, but still part of the bigger system?

Activity Sheet

Connecting with Other Families

Think about the relationships that you have with other families. How are those similar or different then what you notice on your walks? Write a letter or email a friend and share your ideas, ask them what they have been observing.

Connect to Other Activities

LE 3 Taking a focused walk together

  • Extension ideas: Look at your notes from previous walks, do you see some relationships you might have noticed previously?

Learning in Places Frameworks to Consider

  • Complex Socio-ecological Systems Reasoning
  • Relationships
  • Observation and Data Collection
Focused Walk example: relationship walk