Walking Curriculum

Walking Curriculum #imaginED

We learn a place and how to visualize spatial relationships, as children, on foot and with imagination. Place and the scale of place must be measured against our bodies and their capabilities.

(Snyder, 1990, pp. 98-99)*

Walking Curriculum

This set of walking-based learning activities is designed to simultaneously develop a sense of place and to enrich understanding of topics and core competencies across the curriculum. It reflects principles and practices of Imaginative Ecological Education as it offers walking activities that engage student imagination and cultivate emotional connection with place.  Activities are suitable for students of all ages.iee_logo2 copy

The walks reflect a variety of themes, perspectives, and motivations. For example, students may be asked to find things (such as shapes, spaces or lines, evidence of growth or change, “the best” hiding places), to change perspectives (imagine being a beetle, a detective, or a visitor from outer space), to encounter the world differently (emphasizing one sense over another or moving through space differently), or to seek evidence of human-nature relationships. In all activities, the aim is to deepen awareness of the particularities and meaning of place.

These walking activities can

  • engage the body, emotions, and imagination in ways that can increase familiarity with the local and natural contexts of school and learning;
  • increase attention to detail, particularity and their attunement with place;
  • connect place-based learning activities with cross-curricular goals;
  • serve as examples for your own, place-inspired teaching ideas.

Important Links For Users


Before You Start:  Preparing To Use The Walking Curriculum

Before You Start:  Introducing The Curriculum To Students

Post-Walking:  Debriefing & Extending Learning Across The Curriculum

Motivations, Musings, & Sources of Inspiration

All The Walks

*Snyder, G. (1990). The practice of the wild. San Francisco: North Point Press.



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7 thoughts on “Walking Curriculum

  1. Gillian, I’ve been browsing through all of the different types of walks you provide here and can’t wait to share with my teachers. This is an amazing resource!! Thank you so much for creating all of these different types of walks (beyond my imagination!) and sharing them. Wow.

  2. I think moving is such an important part to education! Even if it is just moving around the classroom or building! Education is stuck on tests and what we have always done! I had a student tell me yesterday that after three weeks of school he has done more labs than any other science class and probably all of them together! That is not good! Needs to be addressed!

  3. Hi Gillian,
    We started trying your Walking Curriculum activities last year, first with our school staff so that they could experience the benefits, and then with our K-Grade 5 students. Some of the teachers have chosen to pursue further adventures outside this fall, and I would love to be able to send you some of their photos. Can you let me know the best way to send them?

  4. This is an extra revision/editing exercise that I like to use if the weather is nice and if the students need to focus their argument in their own minds and really own it. I have been doing it since Spring 2015. I ask them to walk, in pairs, to the randomly selected location with one person talking about their paper on the way out and switch so the other person can talk on the way back about their own paper. The only responses that are allowed are:
    • I don’t understand. (ask for clarification)
    • Oh that’s good. (show support)
    • Why is that? (ask for backing)
    The following are tear offs that I cut up and fold in half to allow a random drawing by randomized pairs. I try to save some closer locations for mobility impaired students.
    1. Walk to The Bell Tower and back
    2. Walk around the Education Building and back
    3. Walk to Dunkin @Thurstin and back
    4. Walk around the student union and back
    5. Walk to The Library and back
    6. Walk to the Carolin Dining Hall and back
    7. Walk around this building completely twice and back
    8. Walk to The Campus Bus depot and back
    9. Walk to McFall Hall and back
    10. Walk to the corner of Thurstin & Wooster and back
    11. Walk around the Technology College and back
    Following the walk this question is on the board for their journals: Having talked with your classmate about your composition what areas will you address first in your composition and why?

    i am just an ABD but I think this is valuable work and would love to have further conversations about it.

    1. Thanks for sharing this Joseph. I hope you enjoy looking at the range of walking-based activities–PreK through high school so far. Tell me, how do your students enjoy this particular activity? Do they feel more focused? How does the activity make them feel?

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