The Preserve at Laurel Mountain
Outdoor Learning in Round Rock ISD is more than just a short walk on a nature trail. Outdoor Learning provides ongoing authentic learning experiences for students that encompasses traditional subjects like science, language arts, math, technology and social studies; and engages broader objectives like responsibility and respect. Through Outdoor Learning, students are provided a unique opportunity to engage subjects in a way not found in the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom.
Outdoor learning has been shown to positively influence student achievement in social studies, science, language arts and math (Sobel, 2004). It also helps develop problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making skills; increased enthusiasm in learning; and gains in summative measures of educational achievement (Lieberman and Hoody, 1998; Sobel, 2004).
We invite you to explore our website, our blog, see our student driven research, and discover for yourself why Outdoor Learning is such an important part of what we do.
Let’s Educate Outdoors: the environment is ideal!
LME Students Participate in the City Nature Challenge
Join our students, Texas Parks and Wildlife, The Audubon Society and others in representing Austin and Texas in the City Nature Challenge to see which city can document the most plant and animal species the weekend of April 14-18, 2017 through a series of bioblitzes and the iNaturalist citizen science platform. For more information:
Laurel Mountain Receives Innovative School Grant for campus-wide Programs
Laurel Mountain and Purple Sage elementary schools have been awarded two of the six Tier III Innovative School Grants, which will fund a two-year implementation of campus-wide programs.
The Tier III grants, totaling $1.21 million, align with Goal 1 of the RRISD Strategic Plan, which states “we will implement, enhance and support innovative teachings and learning models.” The District previously awarded 34 schools $1.9 million as part of the grant program’s Tier I and Tier II process.
The $250,000 Tier III Innovative School Grant awarded to Laurel Mountain will support the expansion of its Schoolwide Enrichment Model, which creates learning opportunities tailored to student’s interests. The grant will also fund the transformation of the campus science lab into a flexible teaching/learning kitchen and makers’ laboratory and the construction of an outdoor learning shelter that will provide a space for environmental projects and service learning initiatives. Click here to read more.
LME 5th Grade Teacher Wins 2016 Texas Environmental Excellence Award
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently announced the winners of the 24th annual Texas Environmental Excellence Awards. These prestigious awards bring attention to the most innovative and effective projects that protect the state’s natural resources. Trevor Hance, 5th grade teacher at LME, is amoung the winners for inspiring a legacy of environmental protection throughout our entire school by fostering an understanding of personal environmental responsibility in teachers and students alike. Please join us in congratulating Mr. Hance on receiving this high honor.
A seQRet Treasure Hunt – by Trevor Hance
Designing opportunities for students to discover core science concepts can be challenging. But, with a good understanding of their interests, proper planning, and the use of technology and the outdoors, students can become engaged in a way that can leave a legacy for future students. Last fall I designed a nine-session unit for a group of fourth and fifth graders that incorporated ecology, sustainability, problem-solving, exploration, and gaming into student-created “seQRet Treasure Hunts” through our school’s outdoor learning nature preserve. In the finished product, both treasure hunters and the student-designers gained self-directed understanding of our science curriculum and became more aware of the world beneath their feet, all in an enriching learning opportunity that was designed based on a survey of individual student interests. Click here to read the full article.