Lincoln Elementary School
909 Sequoia Trail
Madison, WI 53713
Josie Guiney Igielski
The Outdoor Laboratory project is an effort to:
The Laboratory will be certified as a Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation
The outdoor classroom structure is the anchor of our project.
The plans for this structure are the result of multiple design charrettes lead by the fourth graders of the 2010-2011 school year. They have been further developed by our architect and MATC instructor (Lincoln parent) Jessica Klehr. This structure will be the most costly aspect of our Outdoor Learning Laboratory. Findorff Construction has signed on to be our construction partner.
The purpose of this structure:
This path of crushed granite stretches for a quarter mile around the outdoor space.It was completed with support of our landscape architect (and Lincoln parent) Bob Downing.The path took four work days and over sixty-five volunteer workers, including staff, students, families, and community members, and a lot of muscle.
The purpose of this path is to:
Future plans in clude creating an interpretive trail that relates state and local standards for education. (fitness stations, numerous student researched wildlife environments, signage recognizing natural resources in our space, boulders from various parts of WI representing our geological history, and more)
Lincoln has three different garden areas.
Thanks to generous support from our community, we have been able to purchase supplies for students to use in the garden. We have also developed partnerships with various entities to help us in our garden:
This shed houses all of the tools needed for gardening with K-5 students. It will also house a variety of resources to facilitate teaching and learning outdoors.
The purpose of the shed:
Offers students an opportunity to explore an ancient, global, sustainable, environmentally friendly, and community strengthening form of construction.
Each student studied architectural forms and shapes. They then drew a design for the cob wall, made a clay model, and voted on the design they thought would be best.
The entire project has focused on student centered design, building a strong sense of community by constructing something together, and the idea of taking raw or broken materials to create something beautiful.
The space created by the wall has since become a place for gathering, imagining, conversation and, recently for exploring the complex detail of the mosaic designs. The Cobb Wall is used not only by the students of our school, but also for the community in general. By creating more well designed and beautiful spaces like this on our campus we instill a sense of community pride, natural engagement, and opportunities for exploration.
Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our art teachers Gwen Kong and Meri Lau, and our grant writers Rachel Martin and Nancy Gutknecht. The Artist for the project was Beth Campbell.
In 2012, Lincoln was awarded a Special Initiatives grant from the NASA Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium to design and install a Human Sundial on our grounds.
Through a special collaboration between the Art, Music, and REACH programs, students will be spending some time learning about the Earth and Sun relationship, the seasons, shadows, and time.
The sundial will be located near the Outdoor Classroom and, we hope, will prove to be an intriguing, beautiful, and educational resource for many years to come!
Above is an image inspiration for what we think our sundail will possibly look like.
In an orienteering event, participants use a map and compass to navigate to a series of markers placed throughout an area. A highly detailed map is the primary tool used in orienteering. This map displays all of the significant features an orienteerer would see along the way from one point to the next.
The Lincoln School orienteering map and course were created by Lincoln parent and orienteering enthusiast, Susie Madden.
Orienteering skills can benefit our daily lives in many ways:
Orienteering is a recreational and sometimes competitive sport that takes place in parks, cities and forests all over the world. There are approximately 80 orienteering clubs in the United States, and hundreds more worldwide. Clubs typically create the maps and organize events.
Lincoln 4/5 Teacher and birding enthusiast, Laurie Solchenberger, has been collecting data with her students during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years.
Our focus is learning about backyard birds' habits and habitats. Students track bird species' presence in the outdoor space throughout the seasons. To prepare for "field work" in our outdoor space, students make daily observations at our own birdfeeders. They also use Cornell University's allaboutbirds.org website to identify backyard birds by field markings, song/call, behavior, and habitat.
Each year, every student "adopts" one backyard bird species about which they become an "expert". We use the outdoor space for our field work, taking clipboards, binoculars, and bird books into the field to gather information about our birds. Students learn their bird's vocalizations, field markings, habits, and habitats. Students spend enormous amounts of independent worktime researching not only their bird, but the type of environment their bird needs to survive. Students then teach each other through use of field outings, drawings, writing, and presentations.
We complete bird censuses, collecting data about bird numbers and species for use during our math lessons. We create visual maps to begin to truly "see" what surrounds us. We create "sound maps" to become familiar with all the "little things" of which we may not be aware. We pay attention to the types of calls and songs birds make, knowing each means something different to the maker of the sound. Students love hearing the bird "stories" happening in their neighborhood! We make focused sketches and drawings to become fully aware of details in what we are really looking at. Last year, students each drew a cyclical calendar illustrating their bird's life cycle, which we turned into a book for our classroom library. This year, our classroom is participating in Cornell University's Project Feederwatch.
In the future, it would be wonderful for our outdoor space to include bird- and butterfly- gardens, birdbaths, Bluebird houses, bat houses, and a classroom set of binoculars so students do not need to share in pairs. It would be exciting for community guest speakers to visit our outdoor space and demonstrate techniques such as mist-netting, bird-banding, and setting up field research sites. A school-wide, and perhaps neighborhood-wide, celebration of International Migratory Bird Day would be something to work toward!
Learning about our backyard birds benefits our lives in many ways:
Robert Downing Landscape Architect LLC
Burr Oaks Neighborhood Association