Spring Break "E-learning": Environmental Educational Resources Online
Environment Canada's Education Site launches just in time for Spring Break! This site, designed for all educators - from teachers to camp councillors to parents - offers a variety of interactive resources to help you keep the kids entertained over their upcoming holidays (and beyond), and at the same time, informed about our environment.
The Education Site was developed in consultation with a team of experts from various sectors within Environment Canada. Experts from areas such as water, pollution prevention and weather contributed valuable learning resources that were used to create this web portal.
The pilot site was tested with primary and secondary school teachers in four major cities across Canada. Feedback from teachers helped improve the site to better correspond to teachers' needs and to better reach all types of educators.
Bring your children to the computer...to learn!
The online resources offered by the Education Site are not only entertaining, they're also educational. From Skywatchers' Weather Games to The Great Lakes Jigsaw Puzzle (Flashformat) to the Pollution Prevention Activity Poster, children and teens can navigate virtual worlds, test their puzzle solving skills and showcase their creativity...all while learning about weather, water and pollution prevention!
Also, check out the youth web site for more great activities and resources targeted to youth directly.
Conduct science experiments to demonstrate abstract concepts
Image: Interactive Pollution Model, © Environment Canada. - Click to enlarge
Children love to play with new substances, to see the results of their actions and to understand how the world around them is functioning. Experiments offered on the Education Site can be a fun way to transition computer-hooked kids from information technology experts to environmental scientists. Learn about the experiments on the Education Site and then get to the "lab" (a kitchen table or play desk will do) to start experimenting. Try one of these experiments:
- Take the week to grow a carrot. If you use food colouring in your water, the carrot will change color! You'll find other simple experiments in the Explore Water with Holly Heron publication. These water experiments are a great way to learn about the role and significance of water in our daily life.
- Older children can build a thermometer and compare its performance against one bought at the store.
- If you're looking for a more ambitious and rewarding project, try to build an interactive pollution model. Involve your children in making model houses, trees and other elements of the environment. Engage them in discussions about actions you can all take at home to reduce pollution.
Go outside and explore your environment
Outdoor fun. Photo: Stephanie Beauregard© Environment Canada, 2008. - Click to enlarge
In addition to offering online activities, the Education Site also has tips to get kids outside and exploring their environment.
Experiential learning - or, "learning by doing" - is one of the most effective methods to involve children with nature. A walk in the neighbourhood park, an afternoon of bird watching or a fishing trip are all simple ways to get kids outdoors and interacting directly with nature. Experiencing nature encourages kids to appreciate the outdoors and further nurture their relationship with their environment. Consider some of these other outdoor activities:
- Plan a visit to one of Canada's National Parks. You can make up your own learning activities - for example, ask the children to find one element of nature for each letter of the alphabet (A for acorn, B for blades of grass, and so on). Do it again in summer time and take note of any different elements of nature in the environment. You can also take advantage of the various learning activities offered by the parks themselves - just check out the park website or visitor centre.
- Lie down on the ground and look up at the sky. Try to identify the types of clouds you see. The kids could be weather watchers and learn about what kind of clouds indicate a storm on the horizon.
- Transform your backyard into a place where wildlife can thrive. The Canadian Wildlife Federation offers a variety of activities perfect for the upcoming springtime. For example, kids can have fun getting dirty and Grow Seedlings of Hope in your backyard. A beautiful garden can benefit wildlife by providing plants for food and shelter.
With time off from school and a changing season around the corner, spring break is a great time for you to do some activities with the kids while learning about the environment. Environment Canada's Education Site gives you the educational resources you need to incorporate environmental learning into spring break. So check it out today - you'll likely enjoy learning a little more about the environment too!
- Date Modified:
- Several Environment Canada experts in the areas of water, pollution prevention and weather were consulted when designing the Education Site.
- The Education Site was tested by primary and secondary school teachers in four major cities across Canada.
- The Education Site offers online activities related to environmental education, as well as resources for real world activities like science experiments and outdoor playtime.
- "Children aren't playing outside much anymore - not even in the back yard or the neighborhood park. This change in our relationship with nature has profound implications for the mental, physical and spiritual health of future generations and for the health of natural world" - Richard Louv in Community Action Guide of the Children's and Nature Network.
- Environment Canada's Education Site
- Environment Canada's Education Site - Information for Youth
- Visit a museum or educational facility or zoos and botanical gardens near your place to learn more about your environment.
- Be a model for your children, take action for the environment.
- Have your children look at the youth web site for homework help or, if you have teens, have them check out the employment and internship section.