Capstone Project Title
This paper seeks to answer the question: How can middle school teachers increase student creativity and connection to nature through equitable nature-based experiences during distance learning? This paper reviews the history of nature based learning (NBL) and exploratory learning, and examines the positive outcomes of these practices. These benefits include increased engagement and interest in normally uninterested students (Dettweiler et al., 2015; Truong et al., 2016), improved grades (Camassao & Jagannathan, 2018), and reduced disruptive episodes and dropouts among “at risk” students (Ruiz-Gallardo et al., 2013 as cited in Kuo et al., 2019). Although many research studies have shown positive physical, social, emotional and academic benefits of NBL (Kuo et al., 2019), there are glaring equity issues in terms of representation and access to outdoor spaces based on gender (Clark, 2015), race (Finney, 2014), and socioeconomic status (Astell-Burt, 2014). A new equity issue arose when schools moved to distance learning models in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. This seven week digital nature journal curriculum addresses the need for creativity and connection to nature during distance learning for all students regardless of their background, prior experiences or access to outdoor space. By engaging each student through observation, inquiry and creation, this project will help to build a more connected, passionate and creative generation of student advocates that is desperately needed in our ever changing world.
Curriculum, Environmental Studies, Science, Technology
Olofson, Benjamin, "Increasing Student Creativity And Connection To Nature Through Equitable Nature-based Experiences During Middle School Distance Learning" (2021). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Projects. 629.
School of Education Student Capstone Projects