EDUC 5850: Classroom Applications - Fall 2006

Instructor:  Tom Beery

Engineering 235

(218) 726-7333

Office Hours:  by appointment

Cell phone # for class day travel information:  (218) 391-8553


Course Overview:


What is the essential link between nature centers, environmental education centers, outdoor recreation and the formal classroom?  What do we need to know about the formal classroom in order to be more effective outdoor educators? How can we effectively bridge formal and non-formal educational settings?


The above questions will guide this course—based on the assumption that the more we understand about the formal setting, the more effective we can be in the non-formal settings of outdoor education.  Some of the strongest classroom educators have extensive experience in outdoor and environmental education—they have learned to use the strengths of both settings to create optimal learning environments and experiences for their students.

Course Goals:

During this course students will:

  1. consider the classroom’s role in positive youth development.
  2. gain a greater understanding of the link between the indoor and outdoor classrooms (the formal and the non-formal).
  3. consider the lessons of non-formal education in regards to making the formal classroom an inviting and stimulating learning environment. 
  4. consider the rich opportunity of the formal setting.
  5. understand the process of scope and sequence.

It is hoped that this course will help develop a professional awareness of the classroom environment for outdoor educators. The course aims to stimulate a positive outlook on the opportunities afforded by the formal classroom setting while highlighting the strengths that outdoor education brings to the formal classroom.  Further, it is hoped that this course will serve as a solid foundation to ENED 5855—Programming for School Systems (to be offered Spring 2007).


A note about the reading. given the compressed time-span of this course, there is a deliberate effort to use the time wisely and make the homework valuable and achievable within the time frame of the course.  The two main reading assignments are the booklet, Place-Based Education and the book, Last Child in the Woods.  It is expected that these texts will both be read, considered and notes for discussion prepared for class periods on 12/8 and 12/15.  Books of course can be shared—the WRELC living arrangement may serve to allow text sharing.







11/10 Wolf Ridge

Course introduction—Classroom Learning Applications:  Linking formal classrooms with OE/EE


Positive Youth Development—classrooms are where the kids are!


Understanding the “formality” of the formal setting:

  • scope and sequence
  • lesson planning

John Dewey:  The child and the Curriculum (reading on-line).  Please read BEFORE first class.

11/17 GLA

1:30-2:45 Tour GLA

(free parking, $6.00 fee/person for use of facility)


2:45-3:45 Active synthesis: linking the GLA site to the formal classroom, assignment presented.


3:45 Break


4:00-6:00 Small group project work

GLA preparation assignment:  Using the Minnesota Literacy Scope and Sequence. Worksheet and online resource:


12/1 School Site



K-12 class- room visit)

Classroom observation:  4 hour observation—time spent should be to maximize your opportunity to view a classroom/s in action—this can be done anytime prior to 12/1 if a better time can be arranged.

Observation scheduled and completed

12/8 Wolf Ridge




Classroom observation discussion


Lake Superior Circle Tour presented


Place-Based Education discussion

Place-Based Education:  Connecting Classrooms and Community


Hartley Nature Center

Non-formal presentation of projects w/ group discussion


Implications for the classroom:  Last Child in the Woods

Curriculum project

Assigned Chapter from Last Child in the Woods jigsaw reading—10 implications for the classroom.




Participation              60 pts. 

It is expected that each student will be an active participant in class discussions, will complete all readings and will attend all class sessions/observation.  The success of this course rests on student engagement. The worksheet due on 11/17 is included in this score (10 pts.).


Curriculum                  80 pts.

Project                        This assignment is an effort to highlight an essential

                                    connection between the formal and non-formal settings.  First, you will observe a classroom of interest (see below). Your observed classroom will serve as the “audience “ for this assignment (i.e. you will design your work with the particular age group /setting in mind). A reflection essay for your visit will serve as the introduction to the curriculum project (20 points).


The focus of the curriculum project will be a pre and post lesson package to compliment one Wolf Ridge/Boulder/Hartley Nature Center/Widji lessons. You are required to use the lesson plan format found on the T. Beery website (40 points). 


Further, you will need to identify Benchmarks/Key Systems Concepts and Supporting Concepts from the Environmental Literacy Scope and Sequence appropriate to your identified audience (20 pts.).


A guideline/format/rubric will be presented in class on 11/17.  You will be asked to provide an overview of your efforts in class on the due day of 12/15.


Recommended Visit Sites:


Traditional K12

Theme or Magnet


Silver Bay


Stowe El.


Harbor City International School (9-12)

Various Duluth Public Schools

Nettleton (K-5)

Lowell Music Magnet School (K-5)

North Shore Community School (K-5)


I can help students make contacts and arrangements for observations.


GLA Tour                   20 pts.

Worksheet                 Worksheet from class activity at GLA; due 12/8.


Total                            160 pts.


Note, all written coursework must be word-processed doubled spaced, Times or Arial font.  All written work must be APA formatted.      


Course grades will be issued on a standard scale of the following:


        A = 92%, A- = 90%

        B = 82%, B- = 80%

        C = 72%, C- = 70%

        D = 62%, D- = 60%


Course reading sources:


Dewey, J. (1902).  The Child and the curriculum.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 


Louv, R. (2006).  Last child in the woods:  saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. Chapel Hill:  Algonquin Books.


Sobel, D. (2004).  Place-based education:  connecting classrooms and communities.  Great Barrington, MA:  The Orion Society.