Curricula Connecting Youth with Nature for Health and Education

An initiative of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, The Nature of Teaching offers formal standards-based curricula and an informal activity-based curriculum—all centered around getting youth outside.

Three program areas comprise the formal curricula: Wildlife, Health & Wellness, and Food Waste. Each program area provides free standards-based lesson plans as downloadable PDFs. The lesson plans are classroom-ready for kindergarten through grade 12. The program includes ready-made kits for each area, complete with educator’s tips, resource materials, curriculum, and survey instruments. A virtual webinar series for teachers focuses on science, the environment, and getting students connected with nature.

The informal curriculum is not standards-based and is more activity-focused than the formal curricula. It was designed for nonformal educators who work in places such as nature centers and host field days and 4-H clubs. The informal curriculum includes five 20- to 30-minute lessons that correspond with the nature-based curriculum topics of wildlife, mental health, nutrition, and physical activity.

Plus: A new lesson plan from The Nature of Teaching titled Hellbenders Rock! is full of engaging activities to teach K–5 students about the endangered eastern hellbender, while meeting academic standards.

This lesson is unique in that it requires teachers to download the free Hellbender Havoc! game from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to help students apply the educational content learned throughout the lesson. The lesson requires 60 minutes of class time to complete, including time for students to play the game and complete the worksheets that accompany it.

Throughout the lesson, students learn how to identify the eastern hellbender, how to describe the hellbender’s lifecycle, how the hellbender relates to healthy water quality, and how humans can help the hellbender.

To learn more about the eastern hellbender, visit Help the Hellbender page on Purdue University’s website.

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