GO! Explore!


Part of my commitment as a Grosvenor Teacher Fellow is to bring my experience back to my classroom. I spent a lot of time reflecting on how I could best leverage my experience to encourage kids to find their own “inner explorer”. While working on my draft plan, I thought I’d reach out to my PLN to see if they may be interested in joining my students in the experience, so I tweeted the following:

Within a few days I was overwhelmed with the response and excited about the potential for the idea!

I happened to be on the road traveling and exploring with my family during the month of July but continued to work on the draft for my plan to be submitted to National Geographic by the end of the month. I managed to secure enough wifi to complete and submit and received positive feedback from my peers and the National Geographic Education Community. I also insured those who had expressed interest in joining the project that more info was to follow. Though I have not officially built the webpage (due to another busy month of exploring close to home in Thunder Bay), I wanted to share my draft with those interested in joining our Go! Explore! Project. Below is the draft. If you are interested in joining us (to any degree) please fill out this form and I’ll be in touch ASAP with the finalized webpage and more information!

Thanks for your interest in working together to build an “Explorer’s Mindset” with our students.


Project Title: GO! (Get Outside) Explore.
I want to leverage my Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship experience to encourage
both my students and students from around the world to be explorers. I want to use my
experience aboard the National Geographic Quest to inspire kids to explore, but have them realize that my beginnings as an explorer started in my own backyard.
GO! Explore. encourages kids to be explorers in their own community and in their own classroom. It also uses the power of technology to allow kids to explore and share experiences beyond the walls of their classrooms and to make a difference together.
Highlighting my GTF expedition aboard The National Geographic Quest as well as my experience exploring my own community. Including messages from 2019 Teacher Fellows.
Recommended Age(s)/Grade(s):
All Grades (K-12)
Time Needed
– Preparation: Preparation and execution will be dependent on the extent to
which a teacher participates in the project. It can vary from a day or two to a full year.
Time Needed
– Execution:
Preparation and execution will be dependent on the extent to which
a teacher participates in the project. It can vary from a day or two to a full year.
Standards (optional):
By the end of this project, students will:
-understand what it means to explore
-identify natural environments in their community
-explore local natural environment(s) with class
-understand the significance of local natural environments on humans, animals and plants and how they are all interconnected
-use a variety of means (text, photos, videos, art, etc) to describe the local natural environment(s) visited with class.
-visit a favourite local natural environment with a family member and use a variety of means (text, photos,videos, art, etc) to describe it.
-keep an online “Explorer’s Log” to record their many learning adventures.
-Create a Google My Map to share our favourite local environments with others
-use social media to encourage other classes to feature their favourite local natural
environment(s) on a shared map which will allow students to learn about other places
throughout the world and further develop an “explorers mindset” within children.
-plan and carry out an action project which will help to protect/preserve a local natural
-become naturally curious, instilling in students a desire to explore their own communities and
-become globally conscious citizens who will want to make a difference in their world
Materials and Preparation Needed:
-“Explorer Mindset” website created by GTF Kelly Koller
-Books and websites with exploration themes such as “Paddle to the Sea”, Nat Geo Explorer Classrooms, ExploringBy the Seat of Your Pants, Google Earth Voyageur stories, etc
-shared Google My Map
-Google form to have others join project
-GO! Explore webpage
-Determine class locations to explore locally (can be one or more)
-Letter to parents and permission forms.
-reach out to local conservation authority, etc to partner with and/or guide on excursion to natural environment.
-iPods for taking photos/shooting video
-Notebooks for sketching and making observations.
-Computers/tablets for composing their shareable piece for My Map and individual “Adventure Logs”
-Planning of field trips
-Information for parents in regards family excursion to a favourite natural place
This project can be done as number of lessons throughout the course of the school year, with the end goal of having students become naturally curious; instilling in them a desire to explore their own communities and beyond. In turn, they will become globally conscious citizens who will want to make a difference in their world.
-At the beginning of the school year, I will have students brainstorm what the word “explore” means.
-After using the “Explorer Mindset” website (Kelly Koller) and Nat Geo Education Website (Nat Geo Learning Framework) we will develop a shared definition of the word “explore”.
-I will share the video “Find Your Inner Explorer” that I created after my expedition as a GFT to the Inside Passage. It features the highlights of my expedition but also speaks to the fact that I never had the opportunity to explore much beyond the borders of my community until I was an adult. The second part of the video features the natural places I love to explore in and around Thunder Bay and encourages students to GO! Explore. their own community. The third part of the video features a number of 2019 GTFs sharing how they started to explore as a child; mostly places that were close to home.
-I will set our whole year up to be one of exploration and adventure having my students realize that you don’t have to travel far to explore.
-We will begin our explorations by exploring our own school yard as well as by beginning to read the book “Paddle to the Sea”. This will begin to instill an “Explorers Mindset” in the students and have them understand that you don’t have to go far to explore; opportunities are all around us!
-We will plan a shot excursion to our closest local park (Vickers Park). We will learn about the history of the park before we visit it. We will walk to our local park and bring our notebooks to record our observations while exploring. We will also take photos and video.
-Upon returning to the school we will work to collectively write a piece to share our learning about Vickers with others. We will include information from our observations as well as opinion pieces, artistic renderings, photos and possible videos will be included.
-A Google My Map will be created to share our learning about our local park with others
(parents, local schools and schools throughout the world). It is hoped that this will encourage other classes to explore a natural environment close to their school and share and compare their learning with others.
-Students will use Google Maps and other resources to learn about other natural environments in and around our community (such as conservation areas) and research areas to possibly visit.
-A visit to a natural environment will be made as a class. Students will make notes and
observations in their notebooks about the various flora and fauna as well as any other learning. Students will compile their information into a shared doc which will be shared on our My Map.
-Again, we will use social media to invite other classes to “visit” our Map and explore the natural environment that we have provided information on. Other classes will be encouraged to continue to GO! Explore! and share their learning on the global shared map.
-In the late Fall or Early spring a note will be sent home encouraging families to
GO, Explore! a natural place of their choice.
-Students use a variety of means (text, photos, video, art) to tell their peers and others involved in theGo, Explore! initiative about one of their favourite natural places in or around their community and pin their information with location to our My Map.
-Students will explore each others’ favourite places via our My Map and continue to establish an “Explorers Mindset”, hopefully instilling a desire to want to explore one another’s place with family and friends.
-A specific effort will be made by our class to connect with our Northern Aboriginal Communities as well as ones on the Pacific West Coast that Mr. Cameron established connections with while on his GTF expedition along the Inside Passage, particularly Alert Bay and Barnoff Island.
-As we begin to reach out and learn about natural places beyond our community via our shared My Map, we will also explore places virtually using the Nat Geo Explorer Classroom, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, Google Earth Voyageur stories and also follow Lindblad expeditions.
-As we explore, students will add to their inline virtual journal (Explorer’s Log) to record their learning and observations of all the different places in the world we have “visited”.
-Our class will share our growing My Map of Thunder Bay’s favourite natural spaces with other classes and encourage them to continue to add to their map and share. In essence, kids from around the world will collaborate to create a “Kids Travel Guild of Favourite Places”.
-Based on class and individual explorations of Natural Places in our community, we will
determine a focus for our Make A Difference Project, which may be done as a whole class, as individuals or in groups. Our Junior Water Walker initiative would be a natural tie into our action project.
-Our exploration theme will carry over into all subject areas. For example, students will an “Explorers Mindset in science, during their study of Space, as they become astronauts and explore the Solar System or scientists while exploring the Human Body. In Art, students will become travelers to virtual museums all over the world and be inspired by the worlds of Van Gough, Pacasso, etc. In Social Studies, students will become time travelers and travel back in time to explore the different Native Cultures of Canada, pre and post European contact. The opportunities to establish an “Explorers Mindset” across all subject are endless
New vocabulary will arise as the project progresses but the word explore
will be the central theme and focus.
Scales and Perspectives, Human and Natural World Connections:
This project is intentionally focused to start local and is scaffolded to go global. The
GO! Explore project will encourage students to get outside and explore their own community and understand the interconnections between their natural and human world. They will record their learning in their “Explorer’s Logs” which will help to reinforce the learning that took place on each exploration. By sharing their learning with others, students will have the opportunity to learn about and explore other natural environments throughout their region, province, country and even throughout the world. This opportunity to connect and learn with others will make students more globally connected, conscious and aware citizens who will be inspired to continue to
explore their world and make it a better place.
Learning Framework Connections:
Since the focus of the Go! Explore project is to instill an “Explorer’s Mindset” in students, I believe connections to all areas of the Learning Framework are easily achievable.
Curiosity- through exploring natural environments in their local community, students will become naturally curious to learn about the flora and fauna that are observed. Through connecting and sharing with other classes students will become curious to learn about and explore natural environments beyond their local communities.
(Youth initiate and participate in adventures with little supervision or structure.)
Responsibility– by personally visiting and exploring natural places in their own community, students will feel stewardship towards these places and take responsibility to protect and preserve them.
(Youth identify injustices in the world and problem-solve social and environmental problems)
Empowerment– by sharing their natural places via a My Map with other students throughout the world, students will be empowered knowing they are sharing their learning far beyond their own classroom and essentially putting their community “on the map”.
(Youth openly share their opinions with peers and adults, and they listen to and celebrate others’ opinions.)
Observation– students will observe the many different flora and fauna during their explorations to natural environments in and around their community.
(Youth use geographic tools to observe and analyze relationships between people, places, and Earth systems.)
Communication- students will communicate their learning in the field notebooks while exploring and after their explorations, in their online Explorer’s Logs.
(Youth create and publish content across a diverse range of media, and select the format best suited for project goals.)
Collaboration- students will work together to create a My Map to share their favourite natural places in Thunder Bay with other classes. Students will collaborate with other classes to encourage them to share information about natural environments in their local communities.
(Youth participate in collaborative work (e.g, projects, discussions.) with diverse participants on issues or problems outside of the classroom—in the community or in the larger world.)
Problem Solving- students will work together to understand how natural environments in their local communities might be at risk and identify ways in which they might make a difference.
(Youth plan and take action, and they evaluate the results of actions.)
Human Journey– by working collaboratively within our own class and with other classes
throughout the world students will come to better understand our own community and the communities of others. Students will recognize similarities in both the human and natural world and understand that we are all connected.
(Youth focus on the role that cities play in our human story.)
Changing Planet– through our cumulating Make a Difference action project, students will have a better understanding of the physical world. The tie in with the Junior Water Walkers project will allow children to understand the importance of water and what we can do to preserve and protect it. (Youth understand major Earth systems, especially the water cycle and the role it plays in shaping the Earth and its weather.)
Wildlife and Wild Place- students will problem solve to work together to preserve and protect the natural spaces they have explored throughout the year.
(Youth are able to propose possible solutions to problems related to the protection of critical
Taking Action:
At the end of the school year, after exploring many natural spaces within our community, students will work as a whole class, in groups or individually on Make A Difference projects which will focus on protecting and preserving one or more of the natural places our class (or a family) has visited. Students will share the work of their Make A Difference project at a M.A.D Fair, where our school community will be invited during the showcasing of the projects.
Students will draw on the learning gained throughout the course of the school year to determine how they will compete their Make a Difference projects. For example, students may use technology, art work, photographs, videos and/or text on their displays for the M.A.D Fair.
The shared My Map encouraging others to share favourite natural environments in their local communities could be far reaching, allowing students to come together throughout the world to learn and share with one another.
There are many facets to the GO! Explore. project and many areas that will be assessed. I will use a wide variety of assessments including checklists, rubrics, portfolios and peer and self evaluation.
Opportunities for Modifications and Extensions:
The Go! Explore. project can be modified to meet the needs of any teacher wishing to bring it to his/her classroom. A teacher may wish to do one activity from the project, many or all. Below are a few suggested means to modify.
Teachers of younger students may wish to only do one excursion to a local natural environment and share their learning through illustrations. Teachers may not wish to have their students participate in the family component of the Go! Explore. project.
Teachers can have students share the local natural places using a variety of means.

About mrcameron14

I am a Grade 6 teacher of 18 years in Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. Passionate about sharing with teachers throughout the world. Teaching students how to use technology 4 good and to make a positive difference in the world. Apple Distinguished Educator 2013, SMART Exemplary Educator 2013, Google Educator 2015.
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