Learning Outcomes:

English – Spoken language

  • Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge of the natural world
  • Give well-structured descriptions and explanations
  • Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas

Art and Design

  • Create sketchbooks to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas
  • Improve their mastery of art and design techniques – pencil drawing

Science – Working scientificallyLower KS2

  • Ask relevant questions and use different types of scientific enquiry to answer them
  • Make systematic and careful observations
  • Report on the findings of enquiries
  • Use results to draw simple conclusions

Working scientificallyUpper KS2

  • Report and present findings from enquiries, including conclusions, casual relationships and explanations of and degree of trust in results, in oral and written forms

PlantsYear 3

  • Identify and describe the functions of different parts of flowering plants
  • Explore the requirements of plants for life and growth and how they vary from plant to plant
  • Explore the part that flowers play in the life cycle of flowering plants

Living things and their habitatsYear 4

  • Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways
  • Explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living thing in the woodland environment
  • Recognise that the environment can change and that this can sometimes pose dangers to living things

Living things and their habitatsYear 5

  • Describe the life process of reproduction in some plants

Living things and their habitatsYear 6

  • Describe how living things are classified into broad groups according to common observable characteristics and based on similarities and differences
  • Give reasons for classifying plants based on specific characteristics


  • Develop confidence in their own abilities
  • Show care and concern for living things and the environment


  1. Ideally this activity needs an open area with a range of different habitats and plant species.
  2. On arrival at the area to be used set the exploration perimeters and remind children why they need to stay inside the given area. Recap on the need to cause as little disturbance to the area as possible, and only to collect windfall objects.
  3. Discuss the current season. How do the children know what season it is? What evidence could they find in the area to back up their conclusion?
  4. Put the children into groups. Each group will need a tray, a bug pot and a magnifying glass, as well as their sketchbooks and pencils. Each group should collect evidence and make drawings of items that support their conclusion as to which season it is. Remind children to draw and return living beings to the environment as soon as possible.
  5. Discuss the children’s findings and related to food chains and life cycles as appropriate. Look at the physical evidence that has been collected alongside the drawings and verbal reports.
  6. Before leaving ensure that only windfall evidence is taken away from the site and that everything else is returned to how it was on arrival.

Extension Ideas:

  • Children take an extra pair of socks with them; while on site they place these on over their shoes and walk through the long grass. What do they collect on the socks? What does this tell them about pollen and seed disbursement?
  • On returning to class make collage pictures from the windfall items they collected

Top Tips:

  • Forest school activities should follow the interests of the children as much as possible so be prepared for a wide variety of outcomes and the possibility that the session may take a completely different direction to the one you had planned.
  • Check trays carefully to ensure that items that have been collected are at low risk of causing allergic reactions