Outdoor learning: F-6/7 Humanities and Social Sciences

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F-6/7 Humanities and Social Sciences

As part of Humanities and Social Sciences, outdoor learning offers content and context for learning, in particular through geography and/or environmental studies.

In Humanities and Social Sciences, environments include natural, built and social. Built environments have been created or modified by humans, for example: irrigation canals, contour banks, jetties, bora rings. Social environments include places and systems of human activity such as legal and communication systems. When people interact with and in places and environments, including changing, managing and preserving/not preserving them, they demonstrate the values they hold and the relationship they have to places.

The outdoors also offers contexts for exploring history, cultures and economic systems. Outdoor learning can include heritage studies in which students investigate the value of places in the past, how the past changed places and affects our present, and how the future can be considered in light of outdoor experiences, including finding evidence in the outdoors. Empathy and perspectives are key concepts in history. Students can imagine the past in situ; what it looked and felt like; and what past people experienced in those places.

Similarly, civics and citizenship can be studied in the outdoors, where evidence of human–place interaction, both past and present, influences decision-making about the management of places for the present and future.

Culturally, the outdoors is a site of human experience. Places influence people’s activity, and thus over time, different groups relate to outdoor places in unique ways, forming cultural attitudes, values and practices. These things, over periods of time, form ways of knowing and ways of being which differ across groups – even different groups in the same place. Outdoor experiences can investigate this.

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