I live and teach in an urban community. I teach city kids, who don't always get a chance to explore nature on their own. Despite this fact, we are lucky enough that our school is located just a stone's throw from Forest River Park. Forest River is an ocean side park with wooded areas, meadows and beaches.
I partnered the kids up, explained the rules about walking together, crossing streets, and generally being safe, and off we went. It took us less than 10 minutes to get to the park and meet up with Miss P our science teacher.
This is the second time this year we made a visit. We went first this fall, where we looked and listened to the world around us, tying it in with a unit on the five senses.
This time, we were there to look for stages of the life cycle in different animals and plants. We also took the opportunity to release our painted lady butterflies who recently emerged from their chrysalises.
I'm still amazed at the transformation even though I've seen it year after year. Squeals of excitement rang out as each butterfly took off into the air, twelve little miracles.
After we said good-bye to our butterflies we made our way to the beach where they scoured the beach for sea creatures. Crab parts were big hits once they got past the fear of being pinched! We looked at muscles, barnacles, and periwinkles and managed to spot a few live crabs. We stopped on the way back to listen to bird songs, and smell the ocean air.
I wanted them to see the little details of the natural world around them, away from the four walls of our classroom, away from their computer screens and televisions.
As we were walking back to school Robin looked at me and asked, "Mrs. Collins, Who is Mother Nature anyway?"
"Well Robin, today, Mother Nature is me!"