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Using the Sense of Place as a Catalyst for Learning

TitleUsing the Sense of Place as a Catalyst for Learning
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at; Educational curricula available at
Date Original2003-09-08
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #35 "Place-Based Learning/Adopt-a-Watershed" (Air Date: September 8, 2003). A look at a new program that uses "environment-based education" for teaching English, Math, and Science to elementary school students.
SubjectEnvironmental education -- Activity programs
Place based education
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2004-12-06
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 35 "Environment Based Education" Anchor Intro: Trying to get kids to absorb and remember science math and English is every teacher's goal. Now, a new program that uses the environment to teach is helping kids retain what they learn. Shelly Purdy explains in tonight's Lake Tahoe Report. ((Take Pkg)) ((nats @ 6:43)) "Three, two, one, zero?.." ((track 1)) This isn?t just an ordinary game of tag. These 5th graders at Incline Elementary School are learning about the balance of nature. And in the process, they?re also learning math, science and language skills. The game is called ?oh deer? and it works like this: On one side of the field the students pose as deer. On the other side limited resources? They get to choose what they want to be?food, water or shelter. ((nats - shelter kid @ 3:45)) "three, two, one, zero." ((track 2)) In each round of the game, the deer travel across the field and pick up a resource. If there aren't enough resources to go around, the remaining deer die. ((sot @ 14:43 Ethan Dillard)) "We learned that sometimes there really isn?t enough resources so the deers that don?t get the resources die and they lay on the ground a long time and they they decompose and they become the food." ((track 3)) It's a lesson about the harsh realities of how nature works - taught to the kids in a fun and easy way. When the game is over, the students gather in a group to discuss their results. ((natsot @ 11:01)) "Is nature ever really in balance? So does anybody ever think nature really is in balance?" "No because the changes of spring, winter and fall." ((Track 4)) The game has taught them about such complex issues as limited resources and environmental preservation. They've also learned math skills by graphing their results. And the questions they're required to answer at the end of the game teaches English and language skills. The students have learned it all in a way that's much more interesting and fun than reading about it in a textbook. ((Sot @ 19:39 D.C Larrabee, Student Teacher)) "They remember the experience rather than remembering the paragraph of a book, so it's a part of them now. And it's really difficult to make the written word a part of them." ((Track 5)) With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO News Channel 8. Anchor tag: This type of teaching technique is called "environment-based education" or "place-based learning." If you would like more information visit our website at

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