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Teachers Get Outside the Classroom

Teachers Get Outside the Classroom

August 7, 2018

A small crowd assembles with various instruments, test sets and other equipment in preparation for the lab assignment. Carefully they organize ampules, sample nets and data sheets. These citizen scientists are sampling the waters for invertebrate animals, dissolved oxygen levels, pH (acidity) and phosphorus and nitrogen levels. This is not an indoor lab, but right on the Grasse River in Canton. This is not your ordinary teacher training session but a new experience.

In this seminar, projects focus on the world directly outside teacher's classrooms. In one project (Monitor My Maple) participants learn to identify the various maple tree species in the area. Measurements are taken and observations recorded on data sheets that are later entered online to record change over time for these trees. Data is collected to gain a greater understanding of local trends in the regional environment. 

A teacher measures the circumference of a red maple tree.

Nature up North's Summer Teacher Workshop stresses the practical application of science in everyday life. The program, based at St. Lawrence University, sponsors this workshop for up to 15 attendees from various school districts in the area each year. This year, educators have spent the two days on activities and discussions of how to make science real and applicable to students in their home districts. Instead of textbooks and distant examples, they set up trail cameras to photograph the wildlife in their own backyards. Hands on experience and greater participation for students and the community are key to this concept.

Teachers gather outside in a circle to study trees with Nature Up North staff.


Chris Sanchez teaches at Massena High School.


Submitted by jlopez on September 14, 2018 - 8:19am

Nice write up Chris! I hope your year is off to a great start. My students and I start Monitoring our campus Maples today!

Submitted by jdoyle on March 22, 2019 - 1:32pm

What a fantastic day for teachers to get out and play! It is so important to allow our teachers to have a chance to experience their curriculum first hand. Thank you for putting on such a great workshop!