“Using the Environment as an Integrating Context for learning (EIC) defines a framework for education: a framework for interdisciplinary, collaborative, student-centered, hands-on, and engaged learning.”
Closing the Achievement Gap, Executive Summary, Gerald Lieberman and Linda Hoody, State Education and Environment Roundtable, 1998
Moving instruction out of the classroom into an outdoor learning laboratory creates memorable experiences that make learning “stick.” Students are interested and engaged in the process. As they build new knowledge, the integration of content, hands-on experiences, reflection, and assessment provides a context that allows them to meet, and in some cases exceed, state learning standards.
Key Characteristics of Environmental Education
- Relates to an environmental topic or issue.
- Uses the outdoors as a learning environment.
- Is a lifelong learning process.
- Is interdisciplinary and draws upon many fields of study and learning.
- Is relevant to the needs, interests and motivations of the learner.
- Ii based on accurate and factual information.
- Presents information in a balanced, unbiased manner.
- Inspires critical thinking and decision-making.
- Motivates people to take responsible action.
- Improves learner achievement and outcomes.
- Students learn through real-world problem-solving
- Students study world’s weather: “Teachable” Moment
- Storm Sandy-floods, winds, electricity, gas, communication, food…
- Northeastern Winter Storm- climate, change, electricity..
- Students disperse to their individual or group-or team-based activities.
- The flexible scheduling allows students to pursue activities as the project, and not the clock, dictates. Assessment includes evaluation rubrics, long-term portfolios, evaluative journals, and the normal standardized tests.
- Teachers collaborate across grade lines (K-2 and 3-4 Houses).
- The curriculum’s focuses on site-based, real-world projects making learning relevant and accessible to all students, whether they are academically gifted or academically challenged.