mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Rainbow on Your Plate

images-4March is National Nutrition Month and every blog this month will focus on eating and growing nutritious food. Eating lots of different fruits and vegetables is like a putting a rainbow on your plate. The following lyrics by Ros Schwartz  in her song There’s a Rainbow on My Plate remind your students to to eat fruits and vegetables in lots of different colors—the colors of the rainbow!

A bowl of blueberries and an orange or two. Purple grapes, golden raisins and blackberries for you. Red tomatoes and green beans and yellow grapefruit.Yes a rainbow of veggies, a rainbow of fruit!

Why are colors important? Because When kids eat a wide variety of colors, they maximize their intake of a broad range of essential vitamins and minerals. For a list of nutrients associated with specific colorful foods, go to PathMed.


Inside: Seed Catalog Collage

RainbowcollageThe glossy photos in seed catalogs are perfect for a colorful classroom collage. Begin by giving each student (or pair of students) a seed catalog. Have them cut out photos of fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors. Glue the photos onto poster board to create a rainbow collage.

Expand the activity with older students by having them also create a chart of rainbow foods. First have them write the headings R O Y G B I V (the initials for the colors of the rainbow) across the top of their paper. Then have them list at least five foods under each color. Challenge them to eat each food on their chart. MACG_COVER2

Follow up by ordering vegetable seeds to plant in your school (or home) garden. Your children might get a surprise like Jo did when she watched the plants grow in her garden. What surprise? Find out in Jo MacDonald Had a Garden.


Outside: Rainbow Bingo

images-5Play Rainbow Bingo to help students notice the colors in nature. Create a worksheet like a Bingo card (5 squares across the top and 5 squares down for a total of 25 squares). Put the colors of the rainbow across the top as follows: (above the 1st column) Red,  (2nd column) Orange and Yellow,  (3rd column) Green, (4th column) Blue and Indigo, and (5th column) Violet  across the top. Have students go outside and find natural items for each column. Playing this game now and again later in the year will give students an opportunity to compare the colors during different seasons.



More Fun and Facts With Rainbow Foods

  • A great way to get children interested in eating a variety of foods is to have them grow them. Design and organize your garden with colors in mind.
  • “Eat all your rainbow, it’s so way cool!”  say the Colorado students from Ryan Elementary School in their youtube video.
  • “There’s a Rainbow on My Plate” elementary curriculum was created several years ago, but all of the activities and lessons are available for downloading at the Produce for Better Health website.
  • Go to the Nourish Interactive website for “Color Your Plate Like a Rainbow” coloring sheets and worksheets.



Food for Thought


March is National Nutrition Month and every blog this month will focus on eating and growing nutritious food. Good food doesn’t begin on a store shelf with a box. It comes from a garden bursting with life, color, sounds, smells, sunshine, moisture, birds, and bees!

Healthy food becomes much more interesting when children know where it comes from. So What’s in the Garden? Find in the new book by Marianne Berkes!

And keep reading below for “Inside” and “Outside” ideas that will get your students excited about growing and eating delicious (and nutritious) food.

Special Hint: All of the answers to this month’s “Who Am I?” mystery contest can be found “in a garden.” Remember to enter your guess so you have a chance to win a classroom set of books.


Inside: Ants on a Log


“Ants” never tasted so good!

When healthy food looks fun and interesting kids are more likely to eat it.  What’s in the Garden  includes a dozen kid-friendly recipes like “Ants on a Log” pictured here. Try this recipe with your class. It tastes great, is packed with nutrition, and is lots of fun for kids to make.




  • Celery stalks
  • Choice of spreads: cream cheese, cottage cheese,, peanut butter
  • Raisins

Directions for children:

  1. Rinse celery stalks and dry with paper towels.
  2. Put stalks on cutting board and trim leafy parts off celery stalks with a small sharp knife. (An adult may do this step).
  3. With table knife, fill groove of each celery stalk with the spread of your choice. Put a few raisins on top of spread. When you use peanut butter as your spread, raisins really look like “ants on a log!”

Click here for more yummy recipes from What’s in the Garden?


Outside: Cylinder Gardens


Cylinder Garden at Eskew Elementary School in Harris County, Texas

When children grow vegetables they learn about where their food comes from and have better nutritional habits because they enjoy eating what they grow!

By growing plants, children not only learn about science and the environment but they also gain a sense of pride, responsibility, and determination.

But what if your school doesn’t have a lot of space? One answer to that problem is to grow a “Cylinder Garden.” Cylinder Gardening uses bottomless cylinders (1/2 of a five-gallon bucket) as small, individual gardens for growing vegetables. This type of gardening is perfect for schools with limited growing space and poor soil.

Get GROWING with these simple directions from Kids Gardening. You’ll also find recommended plant varieties mature from seed in 30 to 90 days to fit within one school semester. Some schools have had success in getting their Cylinder Garden supplies donated from their local hardware and gardening supply stores.



More Food for Thought

  • Schools around the country have joined the Edible Schoolyard Project. The goal of the project is to build and share an edible education curriculum for kindergarten through high school. Their vision is for gardens and kitchens to become interactive classrooms for academic subjects, and for every student to have a free, nutritious, organic lunch.
  • It’s not always easy to eat a healthy meal when everyone in the family is juggling busy schedules and convenience food, such as fast food, is so readily available. Find out how to incorporate five healthy eating strategies into your home from Kids’ Health (website).
  • Get time-saving tips about how to make a Cylinder Garden (youtube ).