Outdoor Learning on a windy day

One windy day my son’s class went outside for their maths lesson. His school were admirably trying to practice Outdoor Learning. Predictably, all the learning resources they’d been sent out with got blown away and the children raced after them. Sadly, the children got shouted at for running around. What went wrong? I believe, the problem stemmed from trying to take the indoors out rather than using the weather and nature as a learning opportunity. Our Outdoor Learning Training trains teachers to build a bank of activities that they can access depending on the conditions and time of year.

Here are some of the activities I’m doing at a school today take advantage of the windy weather storm Christoph has brought. Hopefully, they will give you some ideas. To aid your planning, I’ve suggested the areas of the curriculum they link to in brackets.

  1. Talk about storms.

    • When and how do we name them. Is climate change is making them more frequent? Scientists struggled to determine if hurricanes are getting stronger or more frequent until very recently. This is because the way they monitor storms has changed so much over the years. To make allowances for this, they created a system of using only the most basic data that had existed since the early 80’s to compare them. The results showed hurricanes had got stronger with global warming. (Science and a fair test)
  2. Paper Plates.

    • We’ll use paper plates to investigate how wind exerts force. First we hold them up flat, like a steering wheel and feel the force of the wind. Then we let them go and see how they flip or roll depending on their orientation. Next we fold them in half and hold them up in the same direction as we did at first. Does the force feel as strong?  What happens if we let them go? Do they go as far. Finally we fold them into quarters. How does it feel this time? Why do they drop to the ground when we let them go? (Science- Forces, Fair test, Maths- Fractions.
  3. Sticks with ribbons-

    • These are a visually delightful way for children to measure wind direction and strength. Ask them if they’ve ever seen a wind sock at an airfield. Why is it important for pilots to know the wind direction?  It’s also a good way to practice fine motor skills by tying a basic knot.(Fine Motor Skills, Science, forces)Easy stick wind streamers kids can make this summer! A fun nature craft for the backyard or camping trip!
  4. Leaf kites.

    • Attaching thread to leaves is always a lovely way for children to feel how the wind twists and turns things and gauge wind direction. I love seeing the children running round with their leaves. It’s also a good way to show why storms often cause more tree damage in summer. If you hold the string without the leaf the wind catches it a bit. If you attach a leaf the string blows wildly around. Why do they think this is? (Science- Forces, Physical development, Development – fine motor skills)
  5. Shelters.

    •   Stand with the children in the wind and get them to describe how cold they feel. Next, ask them to think about the direction of the wind that they detected with their leaves. Now, ask them to use this knowledge to find or make a shelter. What are their ribbons doing now? Once sheltered how much warmer do they feel? Do they think animals shelter from storms? If so where?  We also talk about the wind speed scale we use to observe and assess whether it’s safe to take children in the woods.(Environmental education, habitat. Science, Fair test)