Create a backyard learning tool with a science wall
How to Create an Outside Science Wall
by Andra Land
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Many parents and teachers remember a childhood consisting of long days of outdoor play and exploration. In our modern world, lots of gadgets and comforts keep children inside most of the time. Lure them out again with a Science Wall. Nothing can replace hands on learning when it comes to the natural world. This idea is a frugal way to cover science standards when homeschooling older children or to introduce concepts to preschoolers. A Science Wall is a cinch to put together with things you may already have at home. In one day, it is possible to create this year-round learning tool!
- Select a location for the Science Wall. Use an existing wooden fence panel, chain link fence, or even the side of a storage shed or barn. When choosing the right spot, remember that the wall should be exposed to sun, wind, rain, and snow.
- Scrounge around and find a notebook, windsock, outdoor thermometer, and yardstick. If you need to purchase them, the dollar store has these items often. Nails or hooks will be needed too, so buy these if you don't already have them. If using a chain link fence for the Science Wall, wire is the best way to attach objects.
- Hang the items on the Science Wall. Use nails or hooks according to your preference. Place the items where your children can easily observe them. Attach the yardstick so that its bottom end is touching the ground.
- Label the notebook with the words "Science Wall Data." Designate a spot for it near your door. Keep a pencil with it.
- Observe wind direction and estimate its speed with the windsock. Track temperature and rainfall with the thermometer and gauge. Use the yardstick to measure snowfall or the height of nearby plants. Record findings in your notebook.
- If no panel or wall is available, a tree is an interesting alternative!
- Use what you have. Recycle a vegetable can by attaching it to the Science Wall for a lesson about rust.
- Take pictures periodically. Tape them in your notebook for a visual record.
A Science Wall will add interest to your outdoor environment wherever you choose to put it. You can be as elaborate or simple as you like with the items you decide to hang there. See where a Science Wall takes the imagination and education of your little learners!
Andra Land teaches Preschool in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, three extraordinary kids, and two cats.
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