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This is a free webinar to empower teachers and TAs to use their school grounds to take learning outdoors.
Dawn Thomas from Nature Days with provide practical advice on taking learning outdoors. Focusing on Health and Wellbeing outdoors, logistics of social distancing and using the space effectively, being prepared and resources to support teachers.
The webinar will be followed up with a Q and A session with Dawn so that you can ask any specific questions about your school grounds in particular.

Nature Days outdoor learning resources – worm charming.
It’s raining outside. Which makes it a great day for worm charming!

Watch my video to see how.

What you will need:
Fork or rake
Watch

How to do it:
Create a sample square in your lawn.
Wait for 5 minutes.
Count how many worms there are in the square. Write it down in the results table as your rain sample.
Move to a different part of the lawn and measure out your sample size again. Make sure it is the same size to keep it a fair test.
Use a fork or rake to tap the square all over for 5 minutes.
Count how many worms there are in the square. Write it down in the results table as your fork sample.
Move to a different part of the lawn and measure out your sample size again.
Repeat the experiment this time stand in your square and sing a song for 5 minutes.

Count how many worms there are in the square. Write it down in the results table as your singing sample.
Repeat in a different spot but this time dance in your square and write your results in the dancing sample.
Lastly if there is a square in your garden under a bush which is getting no rain or wait until the rain stops, and wait 5 minutes. Then write down how many worms in the no rain column.

Use your data to generate a bar graph using J2Launch.
What are your conclusions?
Which method is the best for worm charming?

Please share your results with us on Twitter #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays
or on the Nature days facebook page.

My challenge for you today is to investigate the soil in your garden.

Watch my video here to see how.

What you need:
Trowel
Soil
Water
FSC soil handout

What to do:
Dig up some soil from an area of your garden that has not been disturbed or organic matter or chemicals added to. Below a tree or lawn is good.
Rub a small amount of soil between your fingers to see what type of soil it is.
Silky – Silty soil
Sticky or slimy – Clayey soil
Gritty – Sandy soil.


Find out how much clay there is in you soil using the FSC flow chart.
If you can make a ball.
If you can make a sausage.
If you can curve the sausage into a C shape.
If you can make a ring.

If you have a high clay content then you can use it just like clay to make things. You could make a pot, figures or clay faces on trees or your house.

You can also investigate the soil profile by looking at the types of soil in the different layers of your soil.

Please share any photos of your soil rings or creations on Twitter #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or on the Nature Days facebook page.

Yesterday I was looking in my compost bin and I found a slow worm.
So my challenge for you today is to create a reptile refuge in your garden.

Watch my video to find out more.

What you will need:
Stones or rocks
Sticks or logs
Corrugated iron or black felt.

How to do it:
You can create a pond to provide food for snakes – see my other post.
Pile up the stones in a sunny part of the garden next to some long vegetation.
Pile up the logs in a sunny part of the garden next to some long vegetation.
You can place the corrugates iron or felt directly on the ground for reptiles to bask on top of and shelter under or lean them against your wood pile.
Leave the refuge and after a while carefully check back on a sunny day to see if any reptiles have moved in.

I would love to see your reptile refuge or photos of any reptiles you find in your garden so tweet #Naturedays or @DawnNaturedays or post on the Nature Days Facebook page.

Nature Days outdoor learning resources – Build a river.
With a lot of rain falling over night my challenge for you is to build yourself a river.

Watch my video to see how.

What you will need:
Tray
Sand
Stones of different sizes
Moss
Twigs
Lego
Watering can or plastic bottle with holes in
Water

How to do it:
You can build your river in a tray or if you have an area on a slope you could build it there.
Start by building the landscape of the river. Rivers start in the mountains or hills. So start by building a hill out of sand, soil or using a rock. If you have a slope then you can place your tray on the slope so that one end is higher than the other and represents the hills.
Use the soil or sand to create the land either side of the river leaving a gap for the river channel. Think about the shape that rivers take. Usually there are more meandering, bendy, especially close to the mouth end.
Then populate the river catchment, the area around the river which catches the rain that enters your river. You could add vegetation by foresting an area adding twigs, or moss. Build some houses along the river banks out of lego. Next place some river sediment, stones or small pebbles inside the river channel. Spread them out some near the source, the start of the river and all the way along the river’s course towards the mouth.
Once you are happy with your river model you need to add the water.
Before you do take a before photo of your river.
Then you are going to simulate a light rain. Take a watering can, or make some small holes in a plastic bottle. Very gently poor some water into the tops of the river starting at the source on the top of the mountain.
If you can you could film what happens.
Once the water has all been poured look at the river model.
What has changed? Look at the photo you took and play spot the distance. What has moved? Have the small stones or big stones moved? What about the houses? HAs the river channel changed size or shape?
Take another photo of the river.
Next rebuild the river so it looks like it did before you added water.
Now you are going to simulate a storm!
Build some extra houses and place them at different distances form the river and different heights above the river level.
Then take the watering can and removed the spray rose or take the lid off the bottle.
Pour the water straight into the top of the river channel close to the sources all in one go without stopping.
What happened to your catchment area? How did the changes compare to the slight rain?
You can fill in the worksheet below and draw a picture to see what moved and to where. All you can take another photo and play spot the difference again.

You can play with your model as much as you like changing the volume and intensity of the rainfall. Seeing if you can locate the houses in the best places to save then from flooding. Seeing if dredging of the river sediment helps reduce flooding. You could try to build flood defences along your river course and see what protects the banks of the river.

I would love to see your models and the impact of the storm on them so please share photos on Twitter #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or on the Nature Days Facebook page.

Nature Days outdoor learning resources – Glow worms.
Last night I went on a secret hunt.
Take a look at my video to see what I saw.

My challenge for you today is to go on a glow worm hunt.

What you need:
Torch

How to do it:
Go out when it is dark in your garden. Turn off your torch and let your eyes get used to the dark. This can take 10 mins.
Then go for a walk around your garden looking for anything glowing in amongst the bushes. Glow worms like chalky areas or rough woodland edges. If you spot one then get as close as you can and then put the torch on her so you can have a really good look at her. If you do carefully pick her up make sure you put her back where you found her. Then make a sign on the ground so you can try and spot her in the day time.  The in the morning go back to the spot and see if you can still see her.
If you don’t spot glow worms, don’t worry there are still lots of exciting animals to find in your garden after dark. Look out for moths and bats, there may also be glowing fungi in the rotting wood or can you catch the eyes of animals with your torch?

I would love to hear what you spotted or see any pictures you managed to take. So Tweet #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or post on the Nature Days facebook page.
Happy nocturnal hunting!

My challenge for you to day is to discover the grass flowers in your lawn.

Watch my video to learn more about grass flowers.

What you need:
A lawn
Sticks
Blue tac
Spray paint
Sun paper
Coloured paper

How you do it:
Look around your lawn and collect a variety of different grass flowers.
Next arrange a picture frame out of the sticks.
Place the grass flowers in the frame to make a picture. Take a photo of your creation.
You can experiment with different coloured back grounds.
If you have sun paper then arrange the flowers on the paper leave in the sun for 5 minutes. Then carefully take the paper inside and immerse in water to fix the picture.
Or you could use spray paint to make a grass flower silhouette.
Arrange your grass flowers on the paper. Stick them down using blue tac, try to hide the blue tac behind the flowers. Spray the flowers with spray paint. Wait for it to dry. Carefully remove the blue tac and the flowers to reveal the silhouette.
You can stick your frame down using PVA glue to create a natural silhouette picture.

I would love to see your creations so please tweet any photos #NatureDays @DawnNaturedays or post on the Nature Days Facebook page.


It’s World Oceans Days so to celebrate my challenge for you is to create your own underwater scene in your garden.
Watch my video for ideas. 

What you need:
Sticks
Stones
Leaves
Flowers

How to do it:
Think about the animals you find in the ocean. Then go on a hunt around your garden to see if you can find the resources you could use to make into these animals. Don’t forget to ask the garden owner before you start picking flowers!
Next find a good location for your scene, out of the wind is good, and place your items down so that they look like the animals of the sea.
You could turn it into a story or an animated film. Or recreate a story you know about the sea.

I would love to see your creations so Tweet #NatureDays @DawnNaturedays #worldoceansday or post on the Nature Days Facebook page.

My challenge for you today is to estimate how many daisies there are in your lawn using sampling.

To find out how take a look at my you tube video.

What you will need:

Four same size sticks or rulers

A Hoop

A cut out paper footprint.

What to do:

Take your sample size, either a square made out of the 4 same size sticks or rulers, hoop or footprint and place it on the lawn.

Look inside and see what plants are growing there. Choose one to count which is found all over your lawn but not the grass itself. Daisies or buttercups are good.

Then count how many of that flower there is inside your sample. If there is too many to count then estimate the proportion of your sample which is covered by the flowers. See my you tube video for more details.

Write down this number. Then repeat 9 more times all over your garden until you have 10 numbers for the amount of daisies.

Calculate the mean average by totalling up the number of daisies from all 10 samples and dividing it by 10. This is the mean average for the number of daisies for your sample size in your lawn. You can now scale that up to the whole lawn by estimating how many of your sample areas would fit in your whole lawn. If you estimate that 100 sample area would fit in your lawn then multiply your mean average by 100 to get a total number of daisies for your whole lawn.

I would love to hear your results and we can see how all your results compare so please Tweet your answers #Naturedays @DawnNaturedays or post on the Nature Days facebook page.