Biodiversity #1 – Natural Science Backpack

Author(s)

Tim Prezelj, Gregor Torkar, Špela Klofutar

Institution(s)

University of Ljubljana

The materials presented here are designed primarily for primary school students between the ages of 6 and 14. They were created through collaboration with researchers from various fields, including early childhood education and forest pedagogy, as well as teachers and students themselves. The activity utilizes an inquiry-based approach and a formative evaluation process to optimize the materials, which serve as a self-learning kit.

Age

  • 06
  • 07
  • 08
  • 09
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14

Topic

  • Biodiversity and ecosystem services

Duration

  • Between 2-5 hours

To conduct this activity, teachers assemble a kit that includes a range of everyday objects and professional scientific consumables that aim to motivate children and provide them with a “real science” experience while still encouraging their imagination and creativity. The kit is designed for use by a group of children, such as in a classroom, with only one toolkit available for circulation among the students.

Each child uses the kit for a week, recording their observations in the included diary, presenting their findings to their peers, and then passing the toolkit on to the next child in line. This process allows children to share their enthusiasm with their classmates, parents, and other family members, acting as multipliers of knowledge and environmental awareness.

Teachers’ materials

The primary aim of this activity is to inspire children to embark on nature exploration adventures alongside their families and friends. Through these shared experiences, they can ignite their enthusiasm for the natural world and then share their newfound passion with their fellow students at school. This initiative also seeks to foster a deeper understanding of science among the participating children.

The core concept is to provide each child with an opportunity to present and communicate their nature exploration experiences. They can do so either within the classroom setting or through alternative suitable methods. In this context, the role of teachers is pivotal. They should create a supportive environment that encourages children to articulate their thoughts and share their experiences. Teachers play a crucial moderating role throughout the activity, ensuring that it unfolds smoothly and effectively.

Teachers can include a variety of objects in the backpack. A list of suggested objects can be found below in the “Download resource” section. They can also expand the kit by adding more materials, instruments, and tools to increase the range of possibilities and applications.  

Students’ materials

The purpose of this activity is to encourage students to relish and share their passion for scientific exploration with family and friends. It does not intend to impose rigid guidelines or constraints on students’ experience. Instead, the aim is to inspire individuals to embrace the tool, adapt it to their preferences, and embark on their own enjoyable environmental exploration journeys.

Nevertheless, we’ve thoughtfully assembled a set of cards that can serve as a source of motivation and provide initial ideas to kickstart your adventure. These cards are designed to spark students’ curiosity and imagination as they delve into the world of scientific discovery.

Video

See our backpack in action!