Each month we work with the 5th graders out in our school forest. For the month of January, we prepared a tracking activity. We split into 6 groups with 6 different routes to the Outdoor Classroom, so we wouldn’t bump into one another in the forest. We then had them try to identify 7 different tracks using a variety of observations. They would start with the basic shape and pattern of the track, and then they would use a tracking book as a resource. When they think they have the answer, they would come to their high school helper to see if they are correct. If the answer was wrong, we worked with them to understand why.
Once they had found all of the different tracks, they had to develop questions about one set of tracks. For example, if they found a deer track, they might ask questions like, "Is it a boy or a girl?", "How old is it?", or "Where is it going?". Together, we might be able to answer some of the questions that they created using research and our resources. But that isn't really the point! The point is to be curious and to be really good at asking questions. Even if we don't have the answer today, we may still be able to find it out in the future.
Written by Isaiah