|Connecting for Health and Planet (Activities)
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Connecting for Health and Planet is a downloadable, password protected PDF for educators of students in grades 3-5 that invites young learners to investigate how being outside—and among trees, specifically—provides people with many different physical, emotional, social, and learning benefits.
Designed to be flexible, the activities can be used as stand-alone lessons, or all together as a cohesive unit of instruction using a storyline technique.
Visit PLT’s website at plt.org/alignment-to-standards for correlations between PLT activities and your state’s academic standards, NGSS, and Common Core, as well as scouts, 4-H, and other nonformal programs.
WHY HEALTH AND PLANET?
A growing body of research confirms that children are healthier, happier, more creative, and have better knowledge retention when they consistently play and learn outdoors. Some benefits of time outdoors for youth include:
• Increased attentiveness and better recollection of information, even after they go back inside.
• Improved performance on tests and other external measures of knowledge gains.
• Greater feelings of competence and motivation to learn.
• Elevated mood and better ability to regulate emotions.
• Decreased stress and anxiety.
• More physical activity and improved physical health.
• Improved balance, coordination, and problem-solving skills through less structured play.
• More frequent and more effective conflict management, communication, and peer cooperation.
While much of the research focuses on children, there is also evidence that being outdoors is good for adults as well. An additional benefit of spending time outdoors is an increased investment in these places and spaces by the people who experience them. This yields increased benefits for the planet as youth, adults, and communities work together to take care of their shared spaces.
The final activity in this collection is focused on taking action and invites youth to consider: What is one thing you can do to measurably improve your position or perspective? Your personal place? Your planet? Enjoy exploring these questions with the youth in your care, and be a part of the solution for a better tomorrow, today.
This collection is supported by Nice-Pak.
About PLT’s Activity Collections
Connecting for Health and Planet is one in a series of PLT activity collections. Other titles in this themed series for educators are Sensational Trees for grades K-2, Biodiversity Blitz for grades 3-5, Trillion of Trees for grades 3-5, Nature of Fire for grades 6-8 and Discover Your Urban Forest for grades 6-8. PLT’s practical, hands-on activities for teachers and nonformal educators, youth group leaders and home schoolers connect youth to nature and the outdoors. Each activity includes background information, preparation instructions, material and time requirements, step-by-step instructions, and assessment suggestions. Our fun and multi-disciplinary activities appeal to a broad range of learners, including students with diverse learning styles and cultural backgrounds. The activities incorporate STEM, reading, writing, and social studies, and teach students how to think, not what to think about environmental issues for developing students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
PLT Professional Development
Did you know? PLT also offers online, blended, and in-person professional development tailored for specific grade levels, academic standards, environmental topics, and formal and nonformal teaching situations. Consistently rated as one of the best professional development events they have ever experienced, most educators attend a PLT training because they were recommended to it by a colleague. Learn more at www.plt.org/trainings/attend-a-training.
If you are a teacher, librarian, or administrator looking to place an order with a purchase order, please contact PLT's Sales & Marketing Coordinator at PLT@forests.org.