The Greenhouse, Microscopes and Discoveries: ISP Fund supports outdoor learning

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  • Elementary School

Written by Kerry Craig, ES Outdoor Education Teacher

From hand-held microscopes revealing the hidden wonders of our surroundings to the indispensable greenhouse nurturing our garden, these additions purchased through the ISP Fund have expanded the possibilities of our Outdoor Learning programme. Throughout the past year, both tools have been invaluable inside and out, sparking a sense of wonder and curiosity in our Elementary School students.

Portable and digital microscopes

These hand-held microscopes have been a wonderful educational addition to our Outdoor Learning programme. They have been used constantly during the past year – both inside and outside. Learners have been fascinated by being able to observe things closely and move around freely with the microscope to share their findings with others. When we use these in our learning experiences, there is a constant stream of “Ms. Kerry, come and look at this!” as children make exciting discoveries about the world around them.

” I looked at tiny dots on leaves through the microscope. Those dots were really animals and insects. I wouldn’t have known that without looking through this!”

Misa, Grade 4

One Grade 4 learner couldn’t believe his eyes as he discovered what his skin looked like and was very concerned about seeing ink from a pen mark on his skin close up – not sure he will be writing on his hand again! The digital microscope has also proved to instil excitement and wonder in our learners, and it promotes a lot of discussion, questioning, and research in the same way as the hand-held microscopes. We will aim to purchase more of these in the future.

“I remember the skin thing – it was creepy! It reminded me of zooming into clothes. I knew there would be holes in my skin but I thought they would be tiny, and then there were lots of lines. It was a bit scary but now I know what it looks like!”

Zwand, Grade 5

The Greenhouse

We purchased our greenhouse in February of last year, and the prolonged winter season ensured that it was consistently used to start seeds before transferring them to the garden. In fact, the garden would not have been so successful without it as the weather was cool well into May, and many of the seeds we planted directly into the ground didn’t come to fruition until after the summer break had started. 

Having the greenhouse meant that learners, including those in the ES Gardening Club,  could see the entire planting process from seeding to harvesting last year.  In addition to planting seeds, the greenhouse has allowed us to observe insects and other creatures up close. 

I think it’s sustainable to use the greenhouse. It helps the plants have a good beginnning and they will grow better.”

Charlie, Grade 4

This school year, learners have already discovered slug/snail eggs buried in the grass that accumulated over the summer. Learners have also been involved in the greenhouse maintenance, and this year, we hope to purchase more furniture so that it can be used even more efficiently.


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