Place-Based Learning: Using Your Location as a Classroom
- Articles, Blog

Place-Based Learning: Using Your Location as a Classroom

>>Dana McCauley: They’re
connecting, they’re learning They’re constantly engaged in it. They’re thinking about what they’re
doing and why they’re doing it and how it impacts a bigger picture.>>For us, place-based learning is
using the environment as the tool, using our place as our
tool for learning.>>Susan Friend: Here we go. Everybody’s ready.>>Dana McCauley: When you
use your place everything that the kids are doing
becomes relevant and real. They see it, they can
put their hands on it. It doesn’t matter if you
have stream or woods. It can be in the middle of the city. Just ask the kids, ask the
parents, they’ll tell you where all the cool little nooks and
crannies are in the neighborhood that you could be utilizing.>>Wetland.>>Students: Wetland.>>Hemlock forest.>>Students: Hemlock forest.>>Susan Friend: What’s in your backyard? What’s in the environmental
laboratory that’s out there? Let’s talk about habitat,
let’s talk about animals, let’s talk about what your backyard
looks like through the seasons, or how’s the meadow different
from a forest? How’s that different from a stream?>>We need to think about all
the places in our backyard that we could set up
some scent stations. Get your best sniffer on, line
up in front of Mrs. McCauley.>>So the first one you’re
gonna smell is fox urine.>>Students: Ew!>>Are you ready?>>Susan Friend: Our scent stations
were designed to attract animals and they have molasses, skunk, fox,
and beaver, and they all have had lots of sniffs and they decide what
scent would be best where.>>A trail camera captures images
each time it senses motion at the scent station.>>Dana McCauley: So if we put the camera
here where would we put the scent?>>Student: Oo, right here. >>Susan Friend: We get a
popsicle stick and a cotton ball and we put the scent on it.>>Student: Ew, it looks like pee.>>Okay, now you need to
stick it down in there. >>Susan Friend: We hang up the camera–>>Now turn it on, all the way up.>>Susan Friend: And then wait.>>All right,>>What do you think, Is everybody happy with it?>>Yeah.>>Susan Friend: And usually in a couple
days to a week we come back and we look at the pictures that we got.>>What do you think we’re gonna see?>>Student: Cute!>>Another deer!>>Wow!>>Dana McCauley: Let’s
see what else we find. >>It looks like a mole.>>It looks like a raccoon.>>Dana McCauley: Maybe a raccoon.>>Susan Friend: Now we’re going
into winter, what are some animals that we saw in the fall that we’re
not gonna see and where are they? Did they hibernate or migrate?>>Student: I think it’s,
like, eating something.>>Susan Friend: That’s
the magic of learning when they don’t even realize all
that they’re learning and all that they’re experiencing
because they’re just having fun.>>Jayden: So if we’re
doing something science or social studies we won’t only
get out a book and read about it, but we’ll try doing experiments and
going down to the stream and we do a lot of taking care of things,
especially our trout.>>Let’s see how the fish are doing.>>Hannah: Well, we are studying
how they grow up and what they eat.>>Dana McCauley: Doing
trout in the classroom fit in perfectly with our place. We have the stream, our kids love to
fish, there’s curriculum free on the “Trout in the Classroom” website. We talked to Trout Unlimited
and they said, “Absolutely, we’ll help you out any way we can,” and
so we said, “Okay, we need a lot of help because we’ve never done this before. Where do we get these eggs, you know?” >>Emillie: They came here as eggs,
but some of them were already hatched. We put them in the fish tank
and then three days later after that we started
feeding them fish food.>>Hannah: We make sure that
their water temperature is right and their water’s healthy
enough for them to live in.>>Jayden: Looks like it’s 7.4.>>Hannah: Yeah, that’s good.>>Dana McCauley: Every day
they’re collecting the data. >>Dana McCauley: So you’ve
done the chemical study, now you can do the biological study.>>There are parts of the
stream ecosystem that make that a good habitat for the fish. What are some of the things that we’re
gonna find down there, hopefully, that we’ve had to mimic up here?>>Hannah: They eat micro-invertebrates
when they’re in the stream and get oxygen from the rocks, It’s kinda like the bubbler
in the classroom tank.>>Jayden: I love it because we
get to release them afterwards.>>We make sure that the stream
is definitely healthy so that when we release our trout that we
know they’re in a healthy place.>>Students: Whoa!>>Dana McCauley: That stream
runs through their backyards. Every day when they’re
down there at the stream and they see one they’re gonna
wonder, “Is that the one I released?”>>Teacher: Nice job.>>Susan Friend: That
makes learning real. It validates it, it helps
them make those connections.>>Student: I think it’s a deer.>>Dana McCauley: Because I think when you can help kids see the impact
they can have in their own little corner of the world then they can make changes
in a much more global arena later on.>>Jayden: What I want to grow
up to do is clean up pollution or anything that’s damaged the world.

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

1 thought on “Place-Based Learning: Using Your Location as a Classroom

  1. Thank you Edutopia. I agree with your message and I would like to add that using the resources of a community provides thousands of review and growth opportunities so the learning can be so much more meaningful and motivating. I really like the sensing station camera idea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *