Your Backyard Classrooms

Nature is the greatest and gentlest of all teachers.

line art of turtleHands-on, out-of-classroom learning adds educational options and greatly enhances comprehension. Virginia's widespread and numerous state parks are ideal settings for such learning, and the system’s SOL-referenced Your Backyard Classrooms program offers an easy, fun and exciting ways for teachers to help students learn about the natural world.

The Virginia’s State Parks… Your Backyard Classrooms guide is a set of K-12 science and social studies activities tailored to the parks.

Each activity:

  • Is correlated to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL).
  • Has clearly stated objectives.
  • Has background information and step-by-step instructions.
  • Includes pre- and post-visit classroom elements.
  • Includes a list of enriching suggestions and resources.

DCR, which manages Virginia’s state parks, provides on-site workshops conducted by staff. At workshops, instructors learn to use lessons suitable for students’ interests and abilities. Teachers also get to know friendly, professional park staffers, the park and its resources.

Teachers interested in Virginia State Parks… Your Backyard Classrooms should contact the state park nearest their school to set up a workshop or field trip. Here is a map of Virginia’s state parks.

Educators will soon be able to download the lesson plans to use in conduction field trips to Virginia State Parks or natural areas. We recommend that you first participate in a workshop for hands-on training. Here is a list of available workshops.

Lesson plans

Many more plans will be posted as they are redone from printed versions.