Nature club is an excellent opportunity for our staff and volunteers to meet and interact with the local kids; it’s fun, it’s educational, and it provides an excellent introduction for the local kids into conservation and nature as a whole. What more could we ask for, right!? Well, we also want to learn from the kids while they learn from us. We want to find out which teaching methods work best, what makes kids want to learn and retain information. And how can we improve our teaching methods? Kids tend to get bored with written tests and so we don’t always get any information about which of our methods is most successful. Thus, we have developed non-invasive ways to monitor the kids’ enthusiasm and learning processes. We use a scale to assess how much attention the kids are paying during different activities, we study their drawings and essays looking for visual cues and key words, and we test their knowledge using games instead of written tests. This means that lessons can flow and remain fun while our staff and volunteers collect data. This allows us to alter our lesson plans and share our experiences with other conservation organizations. It’s a win/win!
- Danny Bergin, Field Station Coordinator