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.
The curriculum writer: Janet Etty-Leal is a highly experienced educator who designs mindfulness programs within schools. Find out more about Janet at her website.
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.