Back to School But Still Outdoors: Designing Agricultural Lesson Plans for Your Students and Kids

Summer quickly slipped through our lives and the bustle of the beautiful autumn season is now upon us. With its cooler weather, changing scenery, and delightful tastes, fall is still a wonderful time for kids to escape outdoors, especially when most of their day is now spent cooped up in the classroom. Take advantage of this nice in-between weather while it lasts because before we know it we’ll be hiding out waiting for the frigid temps to rise so we can welcome spring.

orchardtourWith my experience working with kids in both elementary and secondary school levels, I have learned that all ages enjoy escaping to the outdoors during the school day. Getting your students outside does not have to be merely a distraction or an extra break during the day. Instead, you can incorporate so many valuable lessons using the outdoors.

Take some time to show your students how produce is grown, and you can factor that in under your science or geography requirements. Meander around the school grounds for a nature walk, having them write a brief paragraph about the changes the seasons bring or a creative writing piece using a specific poetic convention; you can factor that under language arts. Basically, find something that you think is important for your students to know concerning food or nature and I bet you will be able to fit it under the requirements in some way.

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Last year, I had an interesting conversation on the playground with one of my first graders about bees. He was complaining about how he was annoyed by them buzzing around and I asked him if he knew what bees do.  Most kids know they make honey but few know about the pollination process and how important bees are to the world around us. We ended up turning our conversation into a mini lesson about what our life would be like without bees!

To get your class started learning about farming, nature and produce, check out our resources for creating agricultural lesson plans (click on the “resources” tab). Also, you can plan ahead for the spring or next fall so that your class can experience one of our school tours.

If you are a parent, there are plenty of fun things that you can do to get your kids outside this fall. Fall Family Fun Days bring you all of the delectable fall flavors of our orchard, along with many fun things to do as a family! What better way to encourage your back-to-school students to study hard than giving them something to look forward to, like an outdoor escape on the weekends.

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Another fun way to get your kids outside and incorporate learning is through picking apples, pumpkins and berries. Many times, we go through the motions of going to autumn-themed events, but we miss out on an awesome interactive opportunity to teach our kids about the way things grow. Take some time to research the ways we grow our apples before you head to the fields to pick, and then surprise your kiddos with your new-found knowledge. Learn about the ever popular Honeycrisp apples and how we make sure they’re nice and red, read up on our different apple varieties, and take some time to familiarize yourself with our farming practices.

We hope you have a fantastic school year and enjoy the changes the seasons will bring!

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