For this week’s blog I am bringing to you all the FREE (yes you read correctly) free lesson plans and webinars on the National Wildlife Federation’s website and also breaking them down for you to show you what an awesome resource they can be to help with planning your outdoor class!
Full disclaimer: I am a huge supporter of the National Wildlife Federation; I am a member of the Minnesota and Wisconsin state affiliates, served on the Board and was a Program Coordinator for the Minnesota one, as well as attended the NWF Women in Conservation Leadership Summit last year and will be attending it again this year. That being said though these are awesome resources and just as good they are free so they come highly recommended by me and I do not get anything out of whether you use them or not. They are just one of many resources I will be sharing to help you get your kids outdoors or bring the outdoors to the kids!
Review of the Webpage
For starters the page is split between Lesson Plans by Topic and then at the bottom all the free Webinars. Of the webinars I was only able to to get the EcoSchools ones to play which is fine for me because it was mainly what I wanted to watch but I was a little disappointed to not see the Bat ones. So now that you have been warned that some of the webinars may not work for you let’s move on to all the free lesson plans!
This webinar on getting support from the powers in your school district to start an Eco-Schools program at your school was pretty good if you have time!
Teacher Tip: What is nice about using pre-made lesson plans when first taking your class outdoors is it allows you a chance to focus more on honing your outdoor teaching skills like class management and “teachable moments.” Then later on you can take what you have learned and combine it all to create your own creative lesson plans for teaching outside.
Lesson Plan Section
The lesson plans themselves are organized into three main topic areas although this is hard to tell at first because of the layout of the page; they are Wildlife, Habitat, & Ecosystems which are then broken down into smaller groupings like mammals and watersheds. After each lesson it gives a range of the grade each of the lessons is geared toward. However that is where the user friendliness stops.
You will not know what subject area it is geared toward (most of them are science) or roughly what standards the lesson plan meets until you click on it which is my one complaint. This is why below I have organized them into what subject they cover for you! You are welcome 😉
Lesson Plan PDFs
More or less after you click on a lesson it is a pretty standard lesson plan. It will have a main page that includes a sidebar with things like goals, objectives, subject area, grade, skills, time, and materials depending on which lesson plan you click on some of this information is not included unfortunately.
However, the good news is pretty much all the lesson plans include background information, procedure to teach, links to additional resources, and if there are sheets of any sort or cards for the activity there are premade sheets for you to use so all you will need to do is pick and choose what you want to do and then print.
The lesson plans themselves are very user friendly and concise so once you find the lesson or activities you want to use the planning for your outdoor class will be smooth sailing! This is why I am a big fan of their lesson plans even if they are not organized on the website as user-friendly as they could be.
So to help you out check out below links to the lesson plans by subject area and included all the other ways that NWF groups their activities!