Outdoor Learning and STEAM: Global Connections

 “Nature Pedagogy is defined as the art of being with the natural world inside, outside and beyond.” 

Claire Warden, Founder of the International Association of Nature Pedagogy,  2018 

5-“The birds are blending into the leaves and we can’t see them. Predators will have a hard time trying to find and eat them.”

The Week of November 4th through 8th featured two back-to-back important global events:  International Outdoor Classroom Day on November 7, and National STEM / STEAM Day on November 8.  Our East Boston Young STEAM Inventors participated in both of these events and shared their learning with the global community.


International Outdoor Classroom Day

The Outdoor Classroom Day website explains that this is “a global campaign to celebrate and inspire outdoor learning and play.”  In 2018 over 3.5 million children in over 100 countries participated.  This year, our Young STEAM Inventors were part of over 3 million children and more than 25,000 schools that were involved.  Check out the outdoor day classroom map here to see all of the countries that participated, and the global community that we are part of!  We are excited to participate in the next Outdoor Classroom Day on May 21, 2020.

Young STEAM Inventors spent their time learning outdoors and engaging in different STEM/STEAM learning activities.  Outdoor learning is a global movement. Educators, parents, homeschooler communities, and community educators from around the world used shared their best practices and student learning on these days to promote the importance of outdoor learning, and how it supports intellectual and social emotional health of the whole child.  We shared our learning in East Boston with educators worldwide.  Our Young STEAM Inventors are now part of a global community of STEM/STEAM learners.

Here are some photos from International Outdoor Classroom Day:

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National STEM/STEAM Day

On November 8, our Young STEAM Inventors participated in National STEM / STEAM Day.  The importance of the “A” in STEAM represents the inclusion and integration of Art with Science

Brenda Engel - Considering Children_s Art

learning.  Research tells us now that science and art is about teaching our young learners the importance of creativity and artistic expression.  Brenda Engel, a renowned educator, Professor Emeritus at Lesley University, artist, and a founder of the Mission Hill School in Roxbury in 1997, said “Without the arts we are all deprived.”  Brenda wrote a book on the importance of integrating art into children’s learning.

National STEM / STEAM Day is a National Holiday that has been set aside to encourage learners of all ages (students, parents, community members) to identify their passions and develop their creativity in the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

To celebrate this day at the East Boston EEC, Young STEAM Inventors led their own inquiry, exploration, inventing, engineering and problem-solving.  This day was about kids having the opportunity to use a wide variety of materials to explore and express their own learning.

I began by asking them, “What would you like to explore today?”  This is a question that I ask them all the time, and very often the Young STEAM Inventors come to me first with their own ideas that they want to explore, ask to design and make something, or even bring back an activity that they’ve been thinking about.

For example, students recently asked me, “Miss Alicia, would you please bring the train tracks back, because we have an idea for building another kind of bridge for the trains to go over so they won’t fall off.”  I had thought they were finished thinking about trains, but clearly they were not.


29a The Bridge

Building a bridge

29b The Bridge

Building more bridges!

These Young STEAM Inventors are the next generation that will design the bridge infrastructure of our national transportation system!

For National STEM / STEAM Day, Young Steam Inventors had the opportunity, the space, and the time to ask their own questions and explore their own ideas.


26d A Stone Sat still

Some kids wanted to explore more ideas from the book “A Stone Sat Still.”

Above: “Our Nature maze that we started after reading One Stone Sat Still with the snail puppet with Ms. Alicia. The snail went on a journey and met different animals like some of the ones we are learning about like a slug, snail and worm.”

Some kids wanted to create their own facial expressions based on the book “The Invisible Scribble.”


Some kids created their own mazes. Some kids chose to explore yoga in the Yoga space. Some kids sat in the rocking chair and explored stories using puppets.

Below are some pictures of our Young Steam Inventors: exploring snails, building mazes, a moon rover, designing and building person ramp, and more. These student designers and creators are led by their own imaginations.  They are creative creators at work-play!

Slugs and Snails (Tap each image to enlarge)

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Exploring Ideas with Mazes

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Creative Creators at Work-Play

“Play is at the heart of creativity” ~ Lucas Learn

20 “I designed this tall birds nest with color and water blocks. I’m proud of this.”

“I designed this tall birds nest with color and water blocks. I’m proud of this.”

23 Creative Creators” at work play 2

8 “This is my person ramp. The marble drops from the persons head and travels down through the body while I run two marbles from both arms. One marbles touches the heart on its way down. All marbles roll down the leg into the foot Ms.Ali

“This is my person ramp. The marble drops from the persons head and travels down through the body while I run two marbles from both arms. One marbles touches the heart on its way down. All marbles roll down the leg into the foot Ms.Alicia.”

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Art and Expression


Architects at Work and Play

This is what should be going on all the time our classrooms.  In the Young Steam Inventors classroom everyday is National STEAM Day.  Our YSI classroom is where science, design, creativity and literacy come out to play!





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