1- Investigate/Explore

Investigate/Explore Lesson 1

Why Investigate and Explore your community?

Exploring new places outdoors activates students' minds

Access to nature contributes to the health and well-being of young people, and helps
to form a foundation for the development of responsible environmental behavior. The
planning and development professions can play a key role in ensuring that young people
have access to nature in their everyday lives. The following studies identify some of
the benefits that children can gain. (Read more...)central woodlands image wetlands

Making Meaning from Personal Experiences: “They Remember what they Touch”

In a study by The Rural School and Community Trust  Dr. Roddy, district director for place-based learning, Project Connect initially focused on improving science instruction by connecting the schools and the community in new and important ways.   He said, “place-based learning is serving as a hook to get students excited about learning.” He continues, “kids are interested in going outside of the school buildings and learning within the context of their environment.” Mr. Hunter, a 7th grade science teacher at Jackson Middle School, made the following comments to Rural Trust steward Julie Bartsch during one of her site visits:
"Kids are remembering facts from last year about the critters they netted. When other students and adults come to my
class, my students can talk articulately about what they are doing...they remember what they touch!"
Using the environment as the theme of their place-based learning, students studied local soil, rocks and minerals, ecology, topography, weather, biodiversity, and water quality.  Click here to read this study to learn more.


Curiosity helps us learn boring stuff, too.

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‘Curiosity really is one of the very intense and very basic impulses in humans. We should base education on this behavior.’ -Jolanda Blackwell

Blackwell, like many others teachers, understands that when kids are curious, they’re much more likely to stay engaged.

But why? What, exactly, is curiosity and how does it work? A study published in the October issue of the journal Neuron, suggests that the brain’s chemistry changes when we become curious, helping us better learn and retain information.  Click here to read more.


 What is the difference between Divergent vs. Convergent Questioning?  Why does this matter?


"Questioners pay close attention to the world around them. They watch and try to notice details others miss. They listen closely to what others are saying, which helps them understand what questions to ask." - 2015 A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION BY WARREN BERGER (Read more...)


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Place-based education is a teaching and learning process that engages learners in local heritage, cultural landscapes, opportunities, issues and experiences so learning is more meaningful and relevant to students.

Place-based education is accomplished through project/theme-based, active hands-on investigating of local issues and their causes.  Learning alongside community members while completing place-based service-learning projects fosters informed citizenship in students.

Place-based education helps students learn to take care of the world by understanding where they live and taking action in their own backyards and communities.1

So when you ask “why Place-based Education?”

Research shows place-based education…

  • helps students learn
  • energizes teachers
  • encourages active citizenship
  • transforms school culture
  • connects schools and communities

1 Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative, 2010.  The Benefits of Place-based Education:  A report from the Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative (second Edition).  Retrieved January 30, 2014 from http://tinyurl.com/PEECBrochure.


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