Problem solving skills taken outdoors
Seaton Wetlands recently hosted 26 primary school teachers from across Devon to help them use the outdoor environment to develop mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills for children.
The day-long course entitled ‘Developing Young Mathematicians Outdoors’ was delivered by education rangers from East Devon District Council's countryside team with support from school improvement advisor and curriculum consultant, David Weatherly.
Mr Weatherly said:
The day illustrated to teachers how easily they can use the outdoors as a normal part of everyday learning in school. "Carrying out mathematical and scientific investigations and problem solving outdoors provides real world contexts for learning that make sense to children and young people. As a result their levels of engagement and motivation to learn increase.
Although the day was based at the beautiful Seaton Wetlands the East Devon education rangers demonstrated how easily any of the investigations the teachers trialled could be adapted to their school grounds, local park or nearby stream.
Above all the message was one of seeing the outdoors as a resource for learning as routinely as teachers might use text books or laptops with pupils – and the outdoors at Seaton Wetlands provided a wonderful context to emphasise this.
The rangers work at nature reserves across East Devon, delivering inspiring learning for all ages and stages of the curriculum all year round.
East Devon District Council's Environment portfolio holder, Cllr Tom Wright, said:
The East Devon education rangers provide a wonderful service taking day-to-day school lessons into the natural environment. Sites such as Seaton Wetlands provide a range of opportunities for teachers and school children to enjoy time spent learning outdoors. "The professional development course offered by the East Devon District Council Countryside service was well attended by teachers from across Devon, demonstrating the value teachers place on the benefits of outdoor education.