Outdoor Inquiries®: Involving Young People in Outdoor Learning

Would you like to use your schoolyard to:

• engage your students in real world science?
• build connections between the natural world and human activities?
• delve into the secrets of what lives underfoot and all around?
• support the development of reading and writing?
• cultivate the scientist that lies within?
• use inquiry to address the science teaching standards?
• share your newly acquired skills with your colleagues?

If so, Outdoor Inquiries® can help. It is a set of strategies for engaging young people in a study of the natural world. This two-day workshop introduces classroom teachers and informal educators to a set of practical tools and techniques they can use to launch student-driven investigations of the natural world. Each strategy can be employed individually, but taken together they provide a comprehensive approach to studying the natural world in a vacant lot, schoolyard, neighborhood park, or your own backyard.

The five strategies covered in the two-day workshop include journal keeping, field guide development, map-making, collection building, and behavior study.
Each participant will receive:

• A copy of First Hand Learning’s book entitled Outdoor Inquiries: Taking Science Investigations Outside the Classroom (Heinemann, 2007).
• A toolkit for facilitating collecting, measuring, and observing.
• A nature journal for recording observations.
• A facilitator’s guide for running workshops
• A Science Firsthand online journal account.

The cost of the workshop, including all of the above materials, is $600 per participant with a minimum of 10 participants. First Hand Learning, Inc. will provide a professional facilitator to run the workshop. The local workshop organizer will provide the workshop location, refreshments, and lunch.

To arrange for a workshop please contact:

First Hand Learning, Inc.
2495 Main Street, Suite 559
Buffalo, New York 14214
Attn: David Hartney
(716) 831-8722

Outdoor Inquiries® is funded by the National Science Foundation as part of an IMD project entitled Object Lessons: Natural History for Elementary and Middle Schools.


The Outdoor Inquiries™ Toolkit includes the following materials to enhance investigation of the natural world:

• 1 field journal
• 1 fine point marker
• 1 mechanical pencil

• 1 hand lens
• 1 ruler
• 1 ball of string
• 1 compass
• 1 measuring tape
• 1 pruning shears
• 1 forceps
• 1 trowel
• 2 mini-LED lights
• 1 collection jar
• 3 collection bags
• 2 pairs latex-free gloves
• 1 thermometer
• 2 paintbrushes
• 50 bamboo skewers

• 1 small net
• 1 pH testing kit
• 1 Field Guide Set – (tracks, weeds, trees)
• 1 Teacher's Resource Guide

The Outdoor Inquiries Tool Kit and the Teacher's Resource Guide are available separately.