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Time Out! How Much Time Do Kids Spend Outdoors?

This article is from Issue Time Out - Vol. 1 No. 5.

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Note to Educators

Lesson Plan

Reflection Section Answer Guide

FACtivity One

FACTivity Two

Nature-Oriented Parenting Newsletter

Word Scramble

Photo Challenge

Education Standards Correlations

Additional Resources for this Article:
Meet the scientists that contributed to this article:

"Thinking About Science Themes" covered in this article:
How can you tell if something has changed over time? If you want to know, for example, how tall you have grown since you were 6 years old, what information do you need? If you said that you need to know how tall you were at age 6, you are right! Without a beginning point with which to compare later measures, it is impossible to accurately track change. Scientists call this beginning number a baseline. All of us use baselines. Letís say your height was not recorded at age 6. How would you know whether you have grown since that age? You might have to begin with your height at age 7. Or, you could take the average of your height at age 5 and age 7, although an average would not be as accurate as having your actual height at age 6. Without a baseline, scientists, or you, cannot say for sure whether or how much something has changed. The scientists in this study were interested in how much time kids spend outdoors. They wanted to know how the amount of time has changed over the years. The scientists discovered, however, that a baseline had not been established. In this study, therefore, they wanted to establish a baseline for how much time kids like you spend outdoors.
Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:
  • Scientific Topics
  • The Scientific Process

"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
What activities do you think about when you think about spending time outdoors? Some people think of doing things such as biking, camping, fishing, swimming, or bird watching, as well as many other activities (figure 2). Activities like these may benefit people. Some scientists believe that spending time outdoors may help people be healthier. Spending time outdoors may also help people develop an appreciation for nature and conservation. Some scientists believe that spending any amount of time outdoors is good for kids, and certain activities may provide more benefits than others. Studies have shown that outdoor physical activities are especially important for kids trying to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:
  • Outdoor Time

NSE Standards covered in this article:
  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (A)
  • Abilities of technological design (E)
  • Nature of science (G)
  • Personal health (F)
  • Risks and benefits (F)
  • Science and technology in society (F)
  • Science as a human endeavor (G)
  • Understandings about science and technology (E)
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry (A)