Explore: Urban Nature

Explore: Urban Nature

Eco-Schools are happy to team up with the world-famous Natural History Museum to launch their huge, student-led scientific research project, as part of their national programme for schools – Explore: Urban Nature. The project is designed to help us all learn how nature is changing and how we can continue to support it in our towns and cities. To do this Eco-Schools and the Natural History Museum are encouraging young people to think about the environmental issues that are most important to them. Students will then be asked to submit a scientific question about how these issues might impact their local, urban nature. Questions should focus on human impacts on nature in the UK and they should clearly tell the Natural History Museum Team exactly what young people think they should be researching! The students that submit the best questions, will then work closely with the Natural History Museum to turn their question into a big research project that people across the whole of the UK will help complete.

Click the link to access the Explore: Urban Nature step-by-step guide, or scroll down to watch the Explore: Urban Nature video, access additional resources and discover how this exciting project links fantastically to your Eco-Schools work!

Banner Image credit © Slinkachu 2020

Further Information & Resources

Use these resources to plan and refine your scientific questions!

Step-by-Step Guide

An overview of the Explore: Urban Nature project and how students can submit their scientific questions.

Question Generation Activities

A series of 5-20 minute activities designed to encourage young people to develop scientific questions based on their own observations.

Scientific Questions Criteria

What makes a question scientific? Use this resource to find out!

Investigating and Improving Questions

A peer-review activity encouraging students to work in pairs to investigate and improve their initial questions.

What is Your Strongest Science Question?

A resource that can be used in combination with the Scientific Questions Criteria resource to identify and improve student’s strongest scientific question.

Hypothesis Stories

A class activity featuring interesting Urban Nature questions that have been previously asked. Great for inspiration and helping young people develop their own scientific questions further.

Explore: Urban Nature & Eco-Schools

How to use the Explore: Urban Nature project as evidence towards an Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation.

Step 1: Eco-Committee

Explore: Urban Nature is a perfect Eco-Committee meeting activity, that can be used to improve your Eco-Committee’s critical thinking (question 10d on the Eco-Schools Green Flag application form). Questions could focus directly on the impacts of the projects decided on in your Step 3: Action Plan.

Step 2: Environmental Review

Our Environmental Review encourages young people to add their own additional questions for each of the ten Eco-Schools topics. Take one of your additional questions and develop it into a scientific question to submit to the Natural History Museum. You could use submitted questions as evidence for question 3 on the ‘Bonus Educational Questions,’ section of the Eco-Schools Green Flag application.

Step 3: Action Plan

Use this activity to enrich the projects in your Action Plan, this activity links particularly well to our Biodiversity, School Grounds and Global Citizenship topics.

Step 4: Curriculum Links

This activity can be easily used as one of the three pieces of evidence required to complete the Curriculum Links section of the Eco-Schools Green Flag application – you can use our suggested format below:

‘Please give details of your first Curriculum Link starting with the Eco-Schools topic and subject area.’

Biodiversity/School Grounds/Global Citizenship & Science. We completed the Eco-Schools and Natural History Museum Explore Urban Nature project.

‘Provide a brief description of your first Curriculum Link.’

Insert examples of submitted questions in this field.

Step 5: Informing and Involving

By completing this activity you are supporting the important work of the Natural History Museum, so make sure to list them as an organisation you are working with on question 2 of the Informing and Involving section on the Eco-Schools Green Flag application.

Anything Else?

If you need any additional supporting resources or information, go to this page of the Natural History Museum website. It contains plenty of activities and information that can be used to get young people outdoors and observing your local plants and wildlife! Many of these activities are a good starting point for the Explore: Urban Nature activity!

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