Quick 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.
- 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 Outcomes: PDHPE4.6, 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.
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
- Whiteboard for notation of student responses
- Large sheets of cardboard, pens, paints to make images arising from class.
- Nature of Mindfulness Guided Meditation 3
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.