Spring School Programs at West Campus
Veery

Spring Nature Walk  (30-50 minutes)

Grade Level:  Elementary School

The warming temperatures and abundant water of spring bring an increase in life to the riparian forest of the Oyster River on West Campus.  A walk along the Oyster River trails can be a useful way to introduce the concepts of seasonal change, habitat, biodiversity, life cycles, resource use and human impacts on the environment.   

 

CT Science Content Standards:

K.2:  Many different kinds of living things inhabit the earth

K.3:  Weather conditions vary daily and seasonally

1.2:  Living things have different structures and behaviors that allow them to meet their basic needs

1.3:  Organisms change in form and behavior as part of their life cycles

2.2:  Plants change their forms as part of their life cycles

4.2:  All organisms depend on the living and non-living features of the environment for survival

 

Next Generation Science Standard Practices:

1) Asking questions

4) Analyzing and interpreting data

6) Constructing explanations

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Introduction to Plants: Flowers, Shrubs and Trees  (60-75 minutes)

Grade Level:  Elementary School

Connecticut’s forested wetlands support a diverse population of plants and trees.  From the earliest emergence of skunk cabbage in late winter to varieties of asters blooming on late fall days, the wetland forest surrounding the Oyster River on West Campus provides many lessons illustrating how plants change from season to season.  This program will focus on the anatomy of a flower, pollination and pollinators, and seed formation as we investigate plant species found in the wetland forest.  Participants will learn about photosynthesis and the physiology of plants through interactive activities.

 

CT Science Content Standards

1.2:  Living things have different structures and behaviors that allow them to meet their basic needs

1.3:  Organisms change in form and behavior as part of their life cycles

2.2:  Plants change their forms as part of their life cycles

 

Next Generation Science Standard Practices:

1) Asking questions

2) Developing and using models

6) Constructing explanations

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

----------------------------------------------------------------

 

Animal Adaptations  (60 -75 Minutes)

Grade Level: Elementary School

All living things are a result of successful adaptations.  Some of these adaptations are physical, and some are behavioral.  Together, these adaptations make each living thing unique.  Utilizing specimens from the Museum's collections, this program features native species that have adapted to habitats in Connecticut.  The concepts of species, evolution and natural selection will be introduced.

 

CT Science Content Standards

3.2:  Organisms can survive and reproduce only in environments that meet their basic needs

 

Next Generation Science Standard Practices:

1) Asking questions

4) Analyzing and interpreting data

6) Constructing explanations

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

----------------------------------------------------------- 

 

Habitats & Food Webs  (75-90 Minutes)

Grade Level: Elementary School

The program begins indoors with an brief introduction to the concepts of habitat and ecosystem.  Biotic and abiotic factors and the movement of energy through food chains and webs will also be explored.  Moving outdoors, students will break into groups and assume the role of wildife biologists, exploring the Oyster River Outdoor Classroom for habitat components critical for the existence of certain species.  The program concludes with an activity reinforcing the connections between the biotic and abiotic components in a wetland food web.

 

CT Science Content Standards

4.2:  All organisms depend on the living and non-living features of the environment for survival

 

Next Generation Science Standard Practices:

1) Asking questions

3) Planning and carrying out investigations

4) Analyzing and interpreting data

6) Constructing explanations

7) Engaging in argument from evidence

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

-------------------------------------------------------------- 

 

Ecology: Neo-Tropical Songbirds  (75-90 Minutes)

Grade Level:  Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Warming temperatures and longer periods of daylight trigger the spring migration of neo-tropical songbirds – birds that spend their winters in tropical locales but return to temperate environments to breed and raise their young.  The riparian forest buffers surrounding the Oyster River on West Campus host many bird species, some that continue on to other locations, and others that find the resources that they need to nest and rear their young at West Campus.  Looking and listening for neo-tropical migrants can present opportunities to understand species adaptations, habitat requirements and migration factors that influence the success or failure of individuals and entire species.  A brief indoor session will discuss basic concepts of ecology and introduce some of the bird species most likely to be encountered using specimens from the Museum collections.  Moving outdoors, the program will continue with a walk across campus to the Oyster River in search of spring migrants, and concludes with an interactive activity which illustrates the risks inherent in migration.  Binoculars and field guides are supplied for the walk.

 

CT Science Content Standards

3.2:  Organisms can survive and reproduce only in environments that meet their basic needs

4.2:  All organisms depend on the living and non-living features of the environment for survival

5.2:  Perceiving and responding to information about the environment is critical to the survival of organisms

6.2:  An ecosystem is composed of all the populations that are living in a certain space and the physical factors with which they interact

HS:   Ecology Enrichment Content

 

Next Generation Science Standard Practices:

1) Asking questions

2) Developing and using models

4) Analyzing and interpreting data

6) Constructing explanations

7) Engaging in argument from evidence

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information