When it comes to taking students on a field trip into the great outdoors, it can be extremely rewarding to see them really connect with their surroundings. To see the kids out in nature, enjoying what life is all around them is priceless. However, a successful part of any field trip is teaching your students to respect their surroundings. Children can be overexcited and prone to wandering, damaging themselves and the environment. It can be hard to balance teaching them interest and respect. Here are some helpful tips for teaching students to respect nature on a field trip.
One great way to help solidify the importance of nature in the minds of your students is to share a piece of nature and its life cycle. For example, you can show a tree from a seedling to its death. Throughout your field trip, be sure to point out the different stages in the tree’s life cycle in person. This helps the child to relate importance to the object. When they believe the tree is important, they’re less likely to disrespect it. This also helps them connect different stages of life as part of the great whole around them.
For some reason when it comes to the great outdoors, some people tend to think that littering is fine. They believe that nature will take care of decomposing the materials. The truth is that many materials, especially plastic, can be harmful to the environment. While most kids understand that tossing plastic is bad behavior, it’s extremely important to remind them that not littering extends to food and organic waste as well. Discarded peels and crumbs can attract wildlife and even poison some of them. Bring along a plastic bag where kids can hold their trash and recyclables until they’re in an area to properly dispose of them.
One of the best ways for students to learn respect is to simply see the result of what would happen if they don’t respect the environment. If you notice that there are stunted trees, point them out for students. Let them know that simply picking off limbs or stomping down trees can harm them over the long-term. Show them pictures or creatures that have been affected by disrespectful littering. Visual, physical examples will help to really show your students how their actions have long-term effects on their surroundings
If you really want to get your students involved in respecting nature, have them act it out. Make it a competition to see which groups of kids can collect the most amount of litter during the field trip. Simple games like these teach children to do and will have them being respectful to nature as it becomes a natural practice for them. Another way to ensure your students are interacting well with the environment is to make sure they are dressed for it. Tell them to come wearing comfortable sneakers and long, sturdy jeans. If it’s going to be a long day, be sure they bring a raincoat or poncho for unexpected showers and a backpack, preferably something that can survive water, like a weatherproof hunting backpack. The right gear enables your students to interact and help the environment and feel safer there.
Nature is a wonderful and intriguing part of the world. Being able to share that and allow students to discover the natural world around them is priceless to a teacher. However, you should ensure that you employ the helpful tips outlined above so that your students respect nature during your next field trip.
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