Monday, December 10, 2007 - 10:05 AM

Creating an outdoor classroom: A university/high school service-learning partnership

Marianne Robinette,, University of Georgia, Entomology, 120 Cedar Street, 413 Biological Sciences Building, Athens, GA

Outdoor Classrooms can become a transformational learning space where students can understand dynamics of community action and collaboration by co-creating a garden that enhances the learning community. Gardens are creative spaces that provide opportunities for interdisciplinary, inquiry-based education designed to encourage direct learning through observation, investigation and hands on activities. Faculty, staff and students at the University of Georgia from Entomology, Art Education, Horticulture, and Environmental Design have partnered with students at the Classic City High School Performance Learning Center to construct an outdoor classroom through an interdisciplinary service-learning project. The classroom will provide an area for teaching and learning in any subject at the high school. Students from UGA will work with teachers and high school students to design and implement an outdoor classroom. Objectives for the project include: developing resources and lesson plans for entomological, biological, and environmental science education that can be adopted in other schools in Clarke County; promoting interdisciplinary service-learning projects in order to create a model for responding to complex community needs; and providing a learning space to give students an appreciation for the natural world and increase overall student interest in science, the arts, and community action. The Outdoor Classroom will provide an area for teaching and learning in any academic subject. Students will collaboratively design and implement an outdoor classroom including installing an aquatic garden, insect gardens, art gardens, teaching areas, and pathways around the gardens.