Quick summary: The aim of these activities is to help students make sense of mindfulness by applying it to life. In the first activity students make a ‘States of Mind’ bottle, which when shaken symbolises the mind in both its messiness and when left to settle symbolises a mind at peace. In the second activity students take a Nature Awareness Walk, and in the third activity students find a Natural Mindful Talisman or Totem to aid them in their mindful practice.
Following this lesson is an ideal way for students to participate in Planet Ark’s Schools Tree Day – the largest nature-care event in Australian schools. You and your students will join thousands of amazing teachers in making a difference, fostering a child’s love of nature and creating positive environmental change. So, get growing! It only takes a minute to register for Schools Tree Day.
- To create enhanced focus, emotional regulation, empathy and happiness through connection with nature.
- To cultivate present moment awareness so that calm, considered and conscious choices can begin to replace impulsive, unconscious reactions.
- To provide hands-on contact with the natural world.
General capabilities: Personal and social capability.
Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability OI.2.
Australian Curriculum content description: These activities can be used with all subject areas to enable deep focus and engagement within students; however, the following curriculum links do directly relate to these activities.
Year 7 & 8 Health and Physical Education
- Plan and use health practices, behaviours and resources to enhance the health, safety and well being of their communities (ACPPS077).
- Plan and implement strategies for connecting to natural and built environments to promote the health and well being of their communities (ACPPS078).
Year 9 & 10 Health and Physical Education
- Plan and evaluate new and creative interventions that promote their own and others’ connection to community and natural and built environments (ACPPS097).
Syllabus Outcomes: PDHPE4.6, PDHPE4.7, PDHPE4.8, PDHPE4.9, PDHPE4.14, PDHPE5.9, PDHPE5.14.
Topic: Schools Tree Day
Time required: 15 minutes for each activity.
Level of teacher scaffolding: High – lead students in mindfulness activities.
Materials needed for making States of Mind Bottles:
- Empty, clean plastic 1–1.5 litre bottles (spring/mineral water/soft drink). Students can work in groups of 3–5; each group will need one bottle.
- Source a range of soils, sands, mulch from outside.
- Source funnels to feed materials into bottles, or simply use a sheet of curled paper as a funneling device.
Keywords: mindfulness, nature, focus, attention, well being, health, happiness, Planet Ark.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.