Young children love learning about the natural world. And, as educators, we want students to care about the world by studying and learning from it. But a nature study may only happen on a field trip or through the lens of a class-made biosphere. The schoolyard itself or a walk along the school boundaries doesn’t seem as interesting of an ecosystem to study. We tend to look past the few trees and the ubiquitous overgrown bushes that seem to survive without much attention. But there is life everywhere. It’s worth exploring and could lead to a hands-on investigation on insects and trees. So why not start local?

Every location is a unique ecosystem, whether it’s Golden Gate Park or the schoolyard. If you sit still, listen, take a whiff, or look closely, you’ll find something interesting and distinctive about that place. What can we learn about our natural world by exploring the plenitude of smells, sights, and sounds in a local area? A Walk Down Sensory Lane is a science + tech summer workshop series for elementary school educators that integrates outdoor learning, technology, and learning through our senses. The aim is to connect with nature by learning from nature and documenting our findings through technology.

In this workshop series, educators listen to KQED and NPR media stories from inspiring experts who study the science of smells, acoustic ecologists who study sounds, and mathematicians identifying patterns in nature. On day two, participants take a walk with a field naturalist  to an outdoor location and learn about what we’re smelling, seeing, and hearing. What smells delight or offend you? Which smells trigger memories? What fragrance are insects attracted to and why? What do sounds tell us about our ecosystem? What patterns make up nature’s design? Each workshop series is focused on a unique sensory experience. With a recording device or camera in hand, we’ll collect science data and share our findings by creating a sound map, smell map, or slideshow.

Check the schedule of classes here and join us if you can!

photo by almetria vaba
photo by Almetria Vaba


Summer Workshop Series: A Walk Down Sensory Lane 13 June,2013Nancy Yamamoto

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