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Outdoor School Curriculum and Resources

We are including examples of curriculum that support outdoor school in the classroom (before and after outdoor school), as well as ones that are used in the field during outdoor school to highlight:

  • The importance of the state’s soil, water, plants, animals and other natural resources
  • The interrelationship of the state’s natural resources with working lands (agriculture, forestry) and growth and development needs.

The curriculum we're linking to below do not represent the full scope of what is being used throughout the State. As curriculum and resources are identified and made available to our program, we will continue to share examples that are easily accessible.

Do you have high-quality curriculum that you would like to share with others? Please contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss this with you!

Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, or Ag in the Classroom, has a number of activities and resources that support Agriculture and Forestry before, during or after outdoor school.

Earth as an Apple and Soil Conservation

This lesson provides an introduction to the scarcity & fragility of good agricultural soils on earth, with visuals & worksheets. (pre-ODS)

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/lessonplan/part-i-earth-is-an-apple-soil-conservation/

Grown in Oregon

An interactive map, poster or worksheets where color helps students visually identify key crops by region. (pre-ODS)

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/teacher-corner/

The Ripple Effect

An activity and worksheet on the ripple effect of agriculture throughout the state’s economy. (ODS)

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/lessonplan/the-ripple-effect/

Where Should Development Go? - Medford

A hands-on activity using raised relief maps and small blocks allowing students to site future development while avoiding important resource lands.

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/resource/where-should-development-go-medford/

Where Should Development Go? - Pendleton

A hands-on activity using raised relief maps and small blocks allowing students to site future development while avoiding important resource lands.

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/resource/where-should-development-go-pendleton/

Where Should Development Go? - Portland

A hands-on activity using raised relief maps and small blocks allowing students to site future development while avoiding important resource lands.

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/resource/where-should-development-go-portland-metro-area/

Oregon Agriculture: A Growing Industry

Oregon Department of Agriculture's DVD overview of the state’s agriculture - region by region. The DVD identifies top crops, makes links to products, and shows farmers and ranchers. Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation will mail this to you. (pre-outdoor school)

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/resource/oregon-agriculture-a-growing-industry/

Agricultural Networking Kit

This kit features 40 career areas connected to agriculture. The Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation will mail the kit to you, and the kit must be returned. (ODS)

External web link - https://oregonaitc.org/resource/agricultural-networking-kit/
Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) has a variety of activities and resources that support Forestry education - before, during or after outdoor school. Many are translated into Spanish.

Into the Forest: Student Workbook - English

This workbook provides an overview of forest issues geared specifically for 5th & 6th grades; visuals, some activities.

External web link - https://www.oregonforests.org/sites/default/files/2019-11/IntoTheForest_WEB_2019_0.pdf

Into the Forest: Student Workbook - Spanish

This workbook provides an overview of forest issues geared specifically for 5th & 6th grades; visuals, some activities.

External web link - https://www.oregonforests.org/sites/default/files/2018-10/OFRI_SpanishIntoTheForest_WEB.pdf

Into the Forest: Teacher's Guide

A companion to Into the Forest, the teacher’s guide includes additional activities, lesson plans and background information to help teachers go deeper into the material included in the student publication. It includes a list of additional resources and is aligned to educational standards.

External web link - https://www.oregonforests.org/sites/default/files/2017-05/Into_The_Forest_Teachers_Guide_Web.pdf

Forest Fact Breaks

Sort the Video Library by "Fact Breaks" to find animated and downloadable videos on 15 topics, each about two minutes providing an overview of forest issues. (pre-ODS)

External web link - https://oregonforests.org/video_gallery

Forest Essays

Stories and activities about the forest - Search on the OFRI Site if you would prefer to request pre-printed versions or the Spanish version.

External web link - https://oregonforests.org/sites/default/files/2017-05/OFRI_essaybooklet_gr4-5_WEB_0.pdf
Additional curriculum include:

The Blue Mountain Conservancy

The Blue Mountain Conservancy, based out of La Grande Oregon, partnered with Eastern Oregon University and the GO STEM hub to compile a variety of activities that could support outdoor school in their region.

External web link - https://oregonstate.box.com/s/k6u3sknxm43m7wm6bgvkhwvjriqalo9z

Project Learning Tree (PLT), Project WILD and Aquatic WILD

This curriculum is being shared through professional development events for formal and non-formal educators. PLT and WILD have a long-standing commitment to providing high-quality environmental education materials and can be used to support students before, during, and after outdoor school. Their materials are periodically reviewed by a broad base of individuals, organizations, and partners, and then revised and updated. These programs are committed to ongoing evaluation and continuous improvement and they remain current with educational trends. Please note: you must attend an Outdoor School or ONREP workshop to access the PLT, Project WILD and Aquatic WILD curriculum guides. 

External web link - http://onrep.forestry.oregonstate.edu/workshops

The 4H Youth Development Program - Lesson Library

The 4H Youth Development Program created an outdoor school lesson library which shares the activities that they use in programs to teach about soil, water, plants, and animals. The lessons that they selected were self-accessed using the Outdoor School Rubric. Take a look at their Outdoor Science Activities!

External web link - https://extension.oregonstate.edu/4h/outdoor-science-education-recreation#Outdoor%20School

From Salmonberry to Sagebrush: Exploring Oregon’s Native Plants

This curriculum has 31 hands-on inquiry-based activities that are specific to Oregon’s Ecoregions. It is broken into 6 sections that include: Plant Identification, Ecoregions of Oregon, Ecology of Native Plants, Native, Non-Native, and Invasive Plants, Ethnobotany, and Climate Change and Phenology. While it is not targeted toward 5th or 6th grade students, activities are adaptable.

External web link - https://oregonstate.box.com/s/t84kcoulw49bdfkz8ehiwyns6x2p4yw7

Opening the World Through Nature Journaling: Integrating Art, Science & Language Arts

This nature journaling curriculum represents some of the best thinking about how to use nature journaling as a learning tool with a wide variety of students. While it is specific to California the strategies provided are adaptable to Oregon’s Ecoregions.

External web link - https://oregonstate.box.com/s/kb90d2384vblyx4zru3am2wl1q2o6dlm

Resources

Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) Outdoor School

Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) Outdoor School has a framework for their outdoor field study experiences organized around animals, plants, soil, and water and that shares standard alignment. If you are looking for ideas on developing an outdoor school framework this could be helpful.

External web link - https://www.mesdoutdoorschool.org/outdoor-school-curriculum.html

Oregon Environmental Literacy Program (OELP) Resource Directory

To find a variety of educational materials and field resources that support environmental education visit the OELP Resource Directory. This Oregon-specific database allows users to sort by location, grade level, and Environmental Literacy strands and has statewide contributions.

External web link - http://oelp.oregonstate.edu/FIND-RESOURCES-V3

Oregon Environmental Literacy Program (OELP) Standards Integration

To help connect and make individual outdoor school experiences meaningful (both in the field and the classroom), use OELP's Standards Integration: A Framework for Incorporating NGSS, Social Sciences, and Environmental Literacy into Classroom Curriculum.  These are one-page documents for each grade level that:

  • Show alignments between NGSS, geography, and social studies standards
  • Provide guiding questions to support instruction
External web link - http://oelp.oregonstate.edu/sites/oelp/files/Integration%20Final%20Version%2012.13.16%20%28single%20pages%29.pdf

North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) Guidelines for Excellence

For resources that support excellence in environmental education, make sure to review the NAAEE Guidelines for Excellence. 

External web link - https://naaee.org/eepro/publication/guidelines-excellence-series-set

Questions?

Please don't hesitate to contact us at outdoorschool@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-4391 if you have any questions about the Outdoor School Program!