Summer in the City

Kara, Roberta, Grace and Renee in front of a Green spartan helmet

In June I spent two incredible weeks exploring urban schools with amazing teachers. The professional learning program, Teaching Science Outdoors-Urban Partnerships, brings together a cohort of teachers and informal educators in Lansing and Detroit public schools who work together to build a community of practice focused on using near-school outdoor spaces for teaching and learning.  I am so thankful to coordinate and research this program with a fun, creative and dedicated team from Michigan State University!   Together we observed, questioned, investigated, explored, storied and loved on the land and each other. We also had tough conversations about the systemic challenges that restrict students and teachers access to outdoor spaces near school. We discussed issues related to student nutrition, no recess or unstructured play time, and lack of time for science in elementary school. We also discussed what actions we can take as our work together continues into the fall, we want to take our students outdoors and affect positive change!

Here’s a look, in photos and tweets, at our weeks together.

This is the third and final year of the current funding source (NSF DRK12 #1907506), which makes our experience bittersweet. But we are really good at savoring the sweet and have the whole school year to work together!  Learn more by checking out our program website, A small group of us is also hoping to present at the Place-based Education Conference in Grand Rapids, MI this fall!