Quick summary: These mindfulness activities are based upon our five senses: touch, smell, taste, sound and sight. They offer students the opportunity to connect with the natural world in a hands-on way, while enabling deep focus through sensory observation. Each activity runs for approximately five minutes and can be done individually or combined as a range of sensory experiences in one lesson.
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 provide hands-on direct contact with the natural world.
- To ‘wake up the senses’ of each student, enabling deep focus and engagement.
- To connect students with nature.
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: 5 minutes for each activity; however, these activities can be done individually or combined as a range of sensory experiences in one lesson.
Level of teacher scaffolding: High – lead students in mindfulness activities.
- Activity 1. Source a range of natural objects or specimens. These can include simple found pieces from your garden or the school grounds, such as herbs, vegetables, leaves, sticks, bark from trees/shrubs, seed pods, long stemmed grasses, etc.
- Activity 2. Source a range of fresh and dried specimens from nature, ensuring you select some specimens with a scent such as flowers, herbs, leaves and dried spices.
- Activity 3. Source a range of seasonal fresh fruit (e.g. grapes, apricots, pineapples, apples, plums, tomatoes, oranges, mandarins and lemons for contrast) and matching dried fruit.
- Activity 4. Source simple instruments from the school to provide basic sounds, such as drums, cymbals, rattles, chimes, singing bowls, triangles, rainsticks, beat sticks, etc. In addition you can use The Nature of Mindfulness Guided Meditation 2 sound track.
- Activity 5. Source a selection of varied specimens from nature, either fresh or dried. These can include sticks, stones, crystals, leaves, herbs, fruits, feathers, bones, vegetables, etc. Even patches of ground could be observed: you could use a hula-hoop or frame to isolate a space!
Safety: Ensure you don’t source any natural specimens that are dangerous and check out any potential problems with student allergies.
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.