Investigative Learning in Outdoor Ed

The field of Outdoor Education (Outdoor Ed) functions as an intentional enhancement to classroom learning, getting students to think creatively in an outdoor environment through shared experiences. In the effort of continuous improvement, we are shifting to center our program focus to investigative learning in Outdoor Ed. Check out how we connect the Investigative Learning Cycle to each element of the Outdoor Ed experience.  (The Investigative Learning Cycle is based on the Inquiry Learning Cycle as interpreted by The Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley.)

Spark: The first part of the Investigative Learning Cycle is for a trained Outdoor Ed facilitator to pose a question and/or activity that creates interest in what students will be learning about. Every Outdoor Ed class includes a Spark to pique the students’ interest, actively relating the class topic to students’ lives and getting them excited to learn and engage.

Explore: Students are then encouraged to Explore. After being given some basic guidelines and boundaries, students explore on their own or with partners to delve into the class topic through hands-on, experiential learning.

Construct: Based on what students discovered in their exploration, the class then moves to help students Construct ideas and theories about what they explored. Trained Outdoor Ed facilitators working with the students add information not yet gathered to build on what they are learning.

Apply: Then, using the ideas from the Construct phase, students Apply the ideas and concepts to a new problem or challenge. Through team building integrated into each class time, students build a community with each other while developing problem-solving skills.

Reflect: Finally, students are asked to Reflect on what they learned about the topic and what questions they still have. Through discussion with fellow students and some involvement of teachers/parents and staff facilitators, students leave each class with knowledge gained in a multi-tiered experience.

Covenant Harbor’s intentional approach to including investigative learning in Outdoor Ed creates innovative, life-changing opportunities for students in every experience. Learn more about how you can bring your group to an Outdoor Ed program this year! (Read about the importance of these programs in our “Why Outdoor Ed?” blog post.)

Covenant Harbor is accredited by ACA (American Camp Association) and a member of the CCCA (Christian Camp and Conference Association) organization. 

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