The physical environment in and around the school can be used as a living laboratory for the study of natural phenomena. Whether the school is located in a densely populated urban area, a sprawling suburb, a small town, or a rural area, the environment can and should be used as a resource for science study.

– National Science Education Standards, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy Press, Washington DC, 1996, p. 45.

Outdoor Inquiries introduces teachers to the rich educational resources available free of charge in their schoolyards, and provides tools and strategies to support student inquiry and exploration of the natural world.

Teachers implementing Outdoor Inquiries can directly address many aspects of New York State’s MST Standards, most comprehensively Standard 1- Analysis, Inquiry, and Design. As students’ work is dependent upon what is encountered outdoors and upon what the teacher and students choose to focus, content standards cannot be specifically referenced, yet Outdoor Inquiries is a powerful and effective vehicle for investigating many topics in the life sciences. Opportunities for integrated, interdisciplinary learning abound when a teacher uses outdoor investigations as an organizing theme. Teachers are able to meet standards in multiple subject areas simultaneously.