Black Hill Partnership Blog


In the fall of 2015, Barnesville embarked on a school-wide partnership with Black Hill Regional Park to enhance outdoor and environmental education across the School’s curriculum. This blog chronicles related programs and activities.


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Preschool Nature Observations


Black Hill naturalists spent time with Barnesville Preschoolers (EC3 and PreK classes) to work on nature observation skills.

Ms. Tina visited Barnesville’s campus where she led the kids on a scavenger hunt looking for wildlife around campus. They first made predictions about what kids on things they thought would be easier or harder to find. They then set out to find things like mushrooms, moldy leaves, and insects and then compared their predictions to their experience.

The next day, students put their observation skills to work at Black Hill Regional Park. They looked at plants and tress up close with magnifying glasses. On a walk in the woods, they looked under logs for signs of life, being careful to not be disruptive to the natural setting. The group walked through a meadow hoping to observe birds by the lake. While there were no birds at that time, they did get to see a frog in the Nature Center.

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Wetlands Exploration - 3rd & 4th Grade Field Study


Barnesville's 3rd and 4th graders spent a morning exploring the wetland and storm water facilities at Germantown Town Center Urban Park.

The students examined the different plants, birds, and wildlife that make up a wetland. The group ended their field study back at Black Hill Regional Park, taking the time to make observational drawings of the natural treasures found while exploring the wetlands earlier.


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8th Grade Nature Journaling Project Combines Art, Writing, and Study of Matter


Black Hill Naturalist Katrina Fauss introduced the topic of nature journaling to our 8th graders. She showed them a variety of different types of journals and explained the methodology of journaling.

To prepare for a journaling project at the Park, Ms. Katrina came to Barnesville to talk about techniques and lead students in a practice journaling exercise on our campus. She talked about “how to be still” while out in nature so students can concentrate on individual senses, giving each intentional focus -- first visual, then sound.

Students completed a “pick your place” template once they found their observation spot outside. They were given about ten minutes to complete a chart that recorded: time and place, weather, sounds, colors, animals, patterns, and discoveries. Once this exercise was complete, students then used a nature journal reminders checklist to help them remember more details. They were asked to sketch what they saw and draw the whole object and then a small part of it. They were prompted to think about making comparisons with respect to size, texture and smell. Students also added new details to assist them in going beyond what they already knew.

While at Barnesville, Ms. Katrina also showed the 8th graders how to tye dye paper using shaving cream. The colorful papers were used to make covers for their new journals, which students took to Black Hill Regional Park with them the next day.

In science class, 8th graders have been studying matter, so at the Park students were asked to pair what they’ve learned with their new observation and journaling skills. While observing nature at the park, they considered the continual lifespan of matter in the water cycle, carbon cycle, and the use of finite natural resources. The purpose of the exercise was to help students understand that while matter can't actually be destroyed, human interaction with the environment can change the way the particles are arranged, where they exist on the planet and in the atmosphere (i.e. by burning fossil fuels) and disrupt the balance of the cycle.

One student journaled about his observation of sitting on the edge of the lake at Black Hill Regional Park. He wrote a diamante poem about how the water impacted him. Another exercise had students spend some time in an area of the forest where there had been fire damage. Students explored the area, looking for evidence of the fire and examining areas of regrowth. Then, they were given the option of writing a story, poem or newspaper article about the impact of the fire.



Posted by Jan Hyland on Friday January 27 at 10:17AM
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An independent private school in
Montgomery County, Maryland
offering innovative preschool
through 8th grade programs.

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21830 Peach Tree Road
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Barnesville, MD 20838

p: 301.972.0341
f: 301.972.4076

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