By: Mary Ware for LearnWell
The air may still be chilly, and the groundhog did predict another 6 weeks of winter this year, but the calendar says that Spring is just around the corner! After making it through the winter blues, springtime is just what many teachers and students need to feel re-energized and able to push through to the end of the school year. It also brings a whole host of new topics to fill classroom lessons, and new content to complement curriculum frameworks.
Here are a few ways to bring spring into your hospital classroom, and some lesson ideas that are great for students of all ages! Remember to make sure that all materials are approved by individual hospital units for use and that lessons are used in conjunction with or in support of a student-patient’s assigned homework from their sending school district.
Now onto the activities!
Weather Related Activities
To help students comprehend the technical differences in seasons, explore exciting temperature and condition changes by focusing on Weather Patterns. The Barefoot Teacher has a great interactive science notebook full of ideas for understanding types of weather and patterns that is perfect for younger students.
Upper elementary and middle school students can build on these concepts by comparing weather to climates while older students can engage in career exploration and use 21st Century skills to create weather maps based on data and research.
Plants and Nature
With new buds and plants popping up all over, spring is the perfect time to introduce or present activities that focus on parts of plants and the science behind the life cycle of a plant. Studying the life cycles of animals also fits well in spring, especially those of butterflies, frogs, or chicks. Though some classrooms may do that by raising caterpillars to watch the process of metamorphosis, a hospital classroom could also use pasta to illustrate the stages by using this fun craft as inspiration.
Reading and literature lessons are in for a fun few months when spring rolls around! Options are plentiful, including books on many different spring-related topics (animals, weather, nature, temperature, holidays, etc) that can be used as a jumping off point or to supplement class discussions.
April is National Poetry Month, which can be celebrated at all levels, elementary through high school. Here is a list of 30 poems for secondary students (just be sure to read through the selections first to ensure the topics are appropriate for the hospital environment).
Pull in spring concepts in the math room as well by incorporating counting, number sense and math problems using spring items (such as from those mentioned in the list above) or bring in holiday related items such plastic easter eggs and jelly beans. Nature based STEM activities are a great choice for students, with experiments that require higher order thinking presenting a great challenge for secondary students.
Whether in little increments or by planning an entire curriculum around the theme, springtime presents great opportunity for engagement and for developing and maintaining student interest. Comparing environments, taking in observations about the world and making inferences about the meaning of renewal and spring provide an interesting foundation for creative lesson planning. Happy Spring!