Four Reasons to Bring Students Outside (Rubicon)



Outdoor instruction can improve student’s attitudes towards the environment. While having a positive attitude about the environment may not seem important, environmental literacy is a key skill for 21st century learners. A love and respect for the environment can also foster a wide variety of careers, in fields as diverse as geography, education, and science.

Looking for ways to connect outdoor instruction to the standards? Many states have their own environmental literacy standards, and resources like the The Cloud Institute’s Education for Sustainability Standards and Performance Indicators are also a great way to teach students about the importance of the environment.

Try this: If you have lots of extra space, planting a school or classroom garden can be an invaluable activity to teaching students about a wide range of topics. From geometry and storytelling to teaching about nutrition, crop rotation, and plant families, the possibilities are endless.



Going outside and having students explore their environment—whether it’s in the city or the country—can be a powerful way to build their self-confidence. Some students that struggle in the classroom may be more confident in the more hands-on setting of the outdoors.

For girls, outdoor instruction can be an especially powerful way to improve self-confidence, body image, and self-knowledge.

Try this: Have students go on a blindfolded sensory discovery walk outside. This activity will teach them about trust, their senses, and their local environment.



Getting kids moving outside is a great way to improve their health and wellness. Even a mere fifteen minutes outside can boost student’s Vitamin D levels, and being active outdoors can help students get fit while learning to make physical activity a part of their daily routine.

Try this: Tie your outdoor unit directly to health! Have students go outside and get moving in order to learn about anatomy, health, and wellness. Even if the lesson plan isn’t directly tied to outdoor instruction, giving students more space to move around and explore the ways their bodies work can be a great way to engage them with the lesson in a new and exciting way.



Ecopychology studies the relationship between humans and the natural world, and many studies have found that being in nature (and even just looking at nature!) can help reduce stress, promote healing, and improve mental health. This is just one reason why outdoor activities such as hiking and biking are so helpful for reducing stress.

Try this: Being outside can be a good stress release for both older and younger students. Looking to get students to relax while also teaching them something? Bridge art and science by taking students outside to draw a natural object of their choosing. Not only is this activity educational and relaxing; it’s also a great way to talk about scale, stippling, and other hallmarks of scientific drawings.



Rubicon Publishing -