Since its inception in the fall of 2007, hundreds of students from Rainbow Schools have participated in the Learning Through the Trails program offered by the Rainbow Routes Association.
Students from JK to Grade 8 are enjoyed this outdoor classroom, which is complementing what's taught in school in all subject areas.
Rainbow ROUTES Association launched Learning Through Trails to help combat the negative
effects of inactivity and increase children's exposure to the natural world.
This is an innovative educational program
designed to enhance the ability of students to learn concepts in a variety of
subject areas while exploring local hiking trails.
The program builds capacity
for teachers to meet curriculum expectations, keeps the students physically
active, and encourages students to embrace the role of environmental stewards
through direct experience and follow-up materials in a variety of subject
Learning Through Trails runs throughout the
school year, in all kinds of weather.
Qualified staff visit the classroom before the trail tour to introduce
themselves and the program.
then taken to a local walking trail where they participate in practical and
authentic curriculum-based activities and lessons which exercise the brain and
A follow-up visit at the
school provides a debriefing opportunity for all participants and allows staff
to receive feedback from teachers and students.
During their first year of programming, the staff of Learning Through Trails worked with 605
students from 33 classes from both the elementary and secondary panel within
the City of Greater Sudbury. Learning
continues to receive an overwhelmingly positive response from participants
including students, teachers, parent volunteers, and volunteer trail
Here are some examples of the many programs that students are benefiting from in the outdoor classroom.
School: MacLeod Public School Grades: 5 and 6 Program: Biodiversity Outcome: Biodiversity is a
difficult concept for many adults to wrap their heads around, let alone 11 year
olds. Students had the opportunity to
get up close and personal with a variety of living things found in Greater
Sudbury as they explored the Kelly Lake Trail, searching for evidence of
biodiversity. Practical exercises
included an investigation of the effects of bark beetles on a stand of poplars,
local plant and animal identification, and a visual journey through Sudburys environmental
history which highlighted recent successful land reclamation efforts. By
learning about the past, observing the present, and asking questions about the
future, students were better equipped to understand how human practices have
affected the local environment, and therefore the biodiversity of the area.
School: Lansdowne Public School Grade: 3 Program: Language Outcome: Students in Kari
Gerhards Grade 3 classroom were transformed into journalists during the
first Learning Through Trails program. Using local trails as their muse, these savvy young writers combined
their classroom instruction with their hiking experiences to create a brilliant
class newsletter. A local journalist lent her expertise and advice to these
eager young writers and featured the complete articles in The Sudbury Star. The class worked very hard and celebrated the publishing of
the first edition of their Big Brain Newsletter in style.
School: Princess Anne
Public School Grade: 5 Program: Measurement Outcome: Students had a
chance to hone their measurement skills by participating in practical
activities that had them prowling around an area most of them had never
been to. During a Measure Hunt, students
learned about local flora and fauna, natural and cultural history, and
environmental issues as they eagerly sized up natural features of the
area. For example, students measured the
average length of red pine and white pine needles, while learning how to
distinguish between the two types of trees. They also had the chance to take the temperature of the snowpack at
different depths while learning about the fascinating world that exists below
the surface of the snow.
School: Carl A. Nesbitt Public School Grade: 4 Program: Habitats Outcome: Students were able
to make connections between their book learning about habitats and the
natural world as they explored the living arrangements of the flora and fauna
of the Rotary Park trail. Among many blood-pumping
activities, they participated in Oh
Deer!, a tag game which integrates data management with a lesson on wildlife
resource requirements. Students investigated habitats both big and small and
learned about recent land reclamation efforts that have helped to improve
habitats throughout Greater Sudbury as well.
School: Long Lake Public School Grades: 3/4 Program: Visual Arts Outcome: Imagine 16 students
earnestly sketching Sudburys
landscape outside in the middle of January. This was the case with Jan Hendrys Grade 3/4 class. Prior to the outing, students studied the
well-known poem The Cremation of Sam
McGee by Robert Service, which was later illustrated by Ted Harrison. It was Harrisons
artistic style that they emulated for their artwork as they took the time to
study various scenes along the trail and translate them into pieces of
art. While walking, students also
examined the concepts of foreground, middle ground, and background, the colour
wheel, and the qualities of lines through engaging activities.
School: Algonquin Public School Grades: 7 and 8 Program: Data Management Outcome: Students collected,
organized, displayed, and interpreted data collected while hiking the trails at
the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area. Students were provided with practical instruction on plant
identification and then set out to measure 1m² plots at various altitudes along
the trail to figure out whether or not altitude has an affect on
vegetation. Once the data was organized,
students displayed the data and drew conclusions about their findings. Local environmental issues were also
addressed during the hike.This
authentic exercise provided students with the opportunity to put their
knowledge into practice.
For more information or to register, please contact Rainbow Routes at 705.674.4455 ext 2474.
For more information about Learning Through Trails, click here.