Activity Introduction

palm-2-heroQuick summary: These activities have been designed to promote a deeper personal connection to nature-based mindfulness. In the first activity students explore how different additives affect the growing potential of seeds, and then relate this to the ways their habits affect their own bodies and minds. In the second activity, students investigate the interconnectedness of nature by participating in a group activity. Students are asked to relate this activity to the connectedness of their own lives. In the third activity students relate the seasons and the changes of the seasons to their own experiences.

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.


Learning goals:

  • 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.
  • Deepening personal connection and relationship with nature-based mindfulness.
  • 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 OutcomesPDHPE4.6, PDHPE4.7, PDHPE4.8, PDHPE4.9, PDHPE4.14, PDHPE5.9, PDHPE5.14.

Topic: Schools Tree Day

Time required: 50 – 60 minutes for each activity.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – lead students in mindfulness activities.

Resources required:

Activity 1. Planting seeds

  • Clear plastic cups, cotton wool.
  • Seeds that will sprout easily. Choose one type to be used in all cups (lentils, alfalfa, mung beans, etc.)
  • A container of water with labelled cups for mixing liquids to match with seed containers.
  • Additives, such as salt, vinegar, dishwashing machine powder, methylated spirits.
  • Stick-on labels and pens to identify each cup.

Activity 2. The natural interconnected web

  • Ball of string or wool.
  • Use whiteboard to notate ideas from students that arise out of this session.

Activity 3. Seasons

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.


Teacher Worksheet

leaves-heroTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goals: The aim of these activities is to deepen personal connections and relationships with nature-based mindfulness.These activities provide opportunities to enhance student focus, emotional regulation, empathy and happiness through connection with nature. Students cultivate present moment awareness so that calm, considered and conscious choices can begin to replace impulsive, unconscious reactions.

Teacher background information:

The benefits of mindfulness
We are a culture increasingly becoming addicted to instant communication and ever-changing technologies. While technologies such as mobile phones bring wonderful opportunities, children are spending more and more time being passively engaged in these technologies rather than actively engaging in the world around them. This includes the natural world and our environment. There is growing concern about the lack of time young people spend in nature and the consequences of this disconnecti

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