UoL 2: Overview

‘Connecting to my place’ is a series of lessons which mostly take place in a wooded area, in the student’s local environment. Place-based Education (PBE) is the main teaching approach supporting this unit. It encourages students to explore the natural heritage which surrounds them, with a focus on oak trees and how local ecosystems are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

This Unit of Learning (UoL) can be taught over 8 x1 hour lessons, with additional lesson hours allocated at the end to carry out related collective actions in groups of 3-4 students.

Lessons 1-3 are 1-hour duration, allowing 10 minutes to walk to your chosen location. It is important to visit the site once in advance of this lesson. Depending on your class duration it may be helpful to book a double period or adapt the activities to suit your timeframe. Students and teachers can co-create these lessons together by adapting these three lessons to best suit your school location, for example for lesson 2 ‘oak tree bingo’ if there are no oak trees near your school, adapt lesson activities to suit other tree species. You could work on developing a resource to share with other schools as part of your students learning experience.

Lessons 5-8 are combined lessons taught through a ‘Ecosystems Student Action Brief’. These lessons aim to introduce students to independent research using reliable sources. While the overall topic is ‘Irish Ecosystems’, students are given choice within this to ideally research areas within their local area and the plants, insects, animals of personal interest to them. This research project aims to provide some of the building blocks needed to enable students to work together in small groups to carry out a collective action in subsequent lessons and Units of Learning over the three years of this short course.

UoL 2: Lessons

Lesson 1 Learning Outcomes:

MP 1 – Explore my local community and my local environment.

MP 2 – Experience physical and emotional connection to nature within my local outdoor environment.

Activities / lesson links:

1A. Curiosity Walk (15 mins)

1B. Plant Hunt (15 mins)

1C. Meet_a_tree (15 mins)

1D. Sharing_Circle (5 mins)

Lesson 2 Learning Outcomes:

MP3 – Reflect on how relationships with nature impact people’s wellbeing, both today and in the past.

MP7 – Identify my existing skills, knowledge and values how they contribute to my community and my world


2A. Oak Tree Bingo (30 mins)

+ Acorn collection (5 mins)

2B. SitSpot+Silent Walk (15mins)

Lesson 3 Learning Outcomes:

MP8 – Demonstrate being responsible and ethical in using resources.

TA2 – Identify practical skills needed for sustainable living now and in the future.


3. Acorn planting(1 hour)


Lesson 4 Learning Outcomes:

JOE  5 – Analyse critically, ideas, assumptions and reliability of sources in order to differentiate between effective and superficial solutions to climate injustice and/or biodiversity loss.

GJ 3 – Discuss, with evidence, what are the possible root causes of climate change, biodiversity loss and one at least one other sustainability issue.


Machine Design (5-15 mins)

Fishbone (20 mins)

Walking debate (25 mins)

4A. TeacherNotes

4B. PowerPoint

4C. Handout 1 (Fishbone)

Lesson 5/6 /7 / 8 Learning Outcomes:

TA5 – Design communication for different audiences; including families, school, local community members and online communities.

JOE  6   Develop a proposal for a solution to one sustainability issue, based on critical thinking, systems thinking, global justice and the need to keep humanity within known environmental limits.

1. Ecosystems Action Brief  Presentation (as pdf)


1. Ecosystems Action Brief Presentation (as PowerPoint)


2. Ecosystems Action Brief_Student Handout

3. Ecosystems Action Brief_Teachers Notes


UoL 2: How to use these resources

There are 8 structured lessons, each with a ‘Teacher Notes’ word document file, which will open as a separate file, right click on file and ‘open link in a new window’. For some lessons there will be an accompanying PowerPoint to show to your students and handouts to photocopy in advance.

Read the ‘Teacher Notes’ in advance to prepare and guide you through each lesson.

Where ‘Activity’ is written in blue on the top of a PowerPoint slide, there is a detailed explanation of what to do in your ‘Teacher Notes’.

Some activities will require materials such as ropes or blindfolds for example for sensory work outdoors or a photocopied handout, you can find details of all materials required in each of the word document lesson plans, see ‘Teacher Notes – Materials’.

These resources are intentionally shared in a format so they can be edited and adapted to suit your school. Please credit original sources when adapting and if sharing with others.