the HISD Outdoor Education Center

at forest glen

The Houston Independent School District OEC at Forest Glen offers a unique outdoor experience for 5th-graders in the Sam Houston National Forest located in Huntsville, Texas.  Lessons in environmental science and social studies guide discovery and exploration that stimulate an appreciation and understanding of interdependence from: one person to another; one culture to another; people to nature; and nature to nature.

Students have an opportunity to study plant and animal communities within Forest Glen and the Sam Houston National Forest and define key OEC concepts such as ecosystem, habitat, niche and interdependency. During a hike through the woods students are encouraged to lead their exploration team, and understand the qualities of a leader. This class gives students the rare chance to see wildlife in its natural state as well as appreciate the living earth. 

Students travel back in time to discover what life was like for Texas settlers 200 years ago at our replica homestead. Students will use woodworking tools from the 1800s, and explore the surrounding woods on horseback at Forest Glen. Our fully functional farm invites students to learn first-hand the types of chores children their age were responsible for, and the significance of the animals. This hands-on history class ignites students' imagination as they relive the past.   Topics are changed seasonally.  They include pioneer life, American Civil War, Underground Railroad and other time period historic accounts. 

Students study the heritage of the North American Indians by visiting our Native Village, which represents 7 different cultural areas with replica homes, artifacts, and images of daily life. As they navigate the Village, students will investigate and discuss similarities and differences of cultures based on the biomes in which they lived. In addition, students learn how to safely maneuver a canoe and practice archery. 

By becoming more aware of the impact humans have on the earth, students develop a connection to and responsibility for the conservation of our natural resources. In a corresponding solar experiment, students will record and analyze data and learn about alternative sources of energy. SOS also involves collecting and studying living organisms along the shoreline of Lake Grace. Students will focus on energy flow and adaptions as they identify and examine their findings. 

Scroll over subject titles to see pictures of the class.