3rd - 6th Grade Programs
This lively introduction to sustainable living, animal adaptations and the food web, blends observation skill development and hands-on activities. We begin by interacting with our resident reptiles, birds and mammals. Small group work focuses on the adaptations for meeting the five essentials of life: eating, drinking, protection, space, and reproduction. We put the students’ new knowledge and observation skills into practice by exploring our extensive trail system with our experienced leaders. To conclude the day, we investigate the importance and science behind recycling and composting in natural and human systems.
SOL: 3.4ab, 3.5abc, 3.6abc, 3.7abcd, 4.5a-f, LS4abc
Did you know that we have ancient mountains right in our backyard? The Blue Ridge Mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world and offer plenty of exciting opportunities to investigate geological processes. Students become forensic geologists as they assemble the pieces and patterns of the landscape to understand the processes acting on the Earth that combine to configure the landscape. Participants actively experience the geology of this region using climbing and spelunking techniques on the west side of the Central Appalachians.
Wet, Wild and Wooly
Take a hands-on approach to understanding what makes weather. Students investigate the water cycle and create their own soda bottle weather systems. Through a series of experiments and the use of remote data recorders, students gain an understanding of the sun’s role in controlling temperature and wind. Model rain gauges, wind anemometers, and simple barometric pressure devices are constructed for ongoing use in the classroom.
SOL: 4.6ab, 5.7e
Watershed Experiential Trip
Jump into our watershed as we study the tools and techniques that scientists use to research aquatic habitats. Students participate in activities defining watersheds, identifying threats and appropriate human behaviors. Study the water chemistry and macro invertebrates found in Sowell Branch Creek, which transects our facility and then use canoes to explore the Walnut Creek lake. We discuss human impacts on watersheds and how scientists use a secchi disc to study turbidity, a measure of disturbance in the watershed. Finally, after we collect the data and synthesize our results, the students discuss behaviors they can implement to minimize their impact on watersheds.
SOL: 4.1abc, 4.8abcd, 6.1a,h,I, 6.5c-g, 6.7a-g, ES9 cdef