Winter School Programs at West Campus
Barred Owl

Winter Nature Walk  (30-50 minutes)

Grade Level:  Elementary School

An exploratory walk through the forested floodplain of the Oyster River on West Campus can illustrate how plants and animals have adapted to spending winter outdoors in Connecticut.  If conditions are right, animal tracks and signs can be interpreted to gain an insight into animal behavior and adaptation.  Available food, water and shelter resources will be identified and discussed.  Survival strategies such as migration, hibernation and insulation will be explored. 

 

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

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

 

Next Generation Science Standards Practices:

 

1) Asking questions

6) Constructing explanations

7) Engaging in argument from evidence

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

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Ecology: Owls of Connecticut  (45 Minutes)

Grade Level:  Elementary School, Middle School, High School

Winter is an excellent time to study owls since many owl species only visit Connecticut at this time of year. Using examples from the Peabody Museum's collections, this program provides an introduction to the wide variety of owls that can be found in Connecticut during the winter months.  Owls have developed many physical and behavioral adaptations that enable them to survive as nocturnal hunters.  Characteristics common to all owls as well as adaptations of each species will be discussed.  This program can be coupled with a laboratory experience dissecting owl pellets (see program description below) for grades 4 and above, or a craft activity that reinforces the concept of the owl’s role as a predator in a food chain, for grades 1-3.  A materials fee will be charged for the owl pellet or food chain craft activity.

 

CT Science Content Standards

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

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 Standards Practices: 

1) Asking questions

6) Constructing explanations

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

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Owl Pellet Investigation  (45-60 minutes)

Grade Level:  Grades 4-High School

Owls eat many prey animals whole, swallowing indigestible parts such as bones, fur and feathers.  After digestion takes place, the remaining parts are compressed in the owl’s stomach into a pellet (an oblong mass), that the owl spits out about 7 hours after a meal.  Dissecting and examining these pellets not only yields information on the owl’s diet, but can also prompt curiosity in the fields of anatomy, physiology and ecology.  Students will use probes, forceps and magnifying glasses to disassemble the pellet and identify the skeletal remains.  Older students may also use dissecting microscopes to look at dental patterns and tooth wear of the prey animals.  There is a $2/student materials fee for this program.

 

CT Science Content Standards

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

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 Standards Practices: 

1) Asking questions

3) Planning and carrying out investigations

4) Analyzing and interpreting data

7) Engaging in argument from evidence

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

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Geology: Rocks & Minerals  (50-60 minutes)

Grade Level:  Elementary School

Connecticut is a geologic sandwich created over hundreds of millions of years by geologic forces at work on the Earth's crust.  Glaciers, plate tectonics and lava flows have all had a hand in shaping the Connecticut we know.  This program begins with a brief introduction to the field of geology, presents information about the three basic rock types (sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic) and concludes with 500 million years of earth's geologic history with a focus on Connecticut.  The role of bedrock geology on Connecticut’s land use and settlement patterns will also be discussed.  This program may be coupled with a laboratory experience testing the properties of minerals (see program description below) for grades 3 and above.

 

CT Science Content Standards:

2.3:  Earth materials have varied physical properties that make them useful in different ways

3.3:  Earth materials have different physical and chemical properties

4.3:  Water has a major role in shaping Earth's surface

 

Next Generation Science Standards Practices:

1) Asking questions

6) Constructing explanations

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information

 

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Properties of Minerals  (40-50 minutes)

Grade Level:  Elementary School

In this lab program, groups of students will perform tests on a variety of minerals to determine their essential characteristics including hardness, luster, magnetism, color and transparency.

 

CT Science Content Standards:

3.1:  Materials have properties that can be identified and described through the use of simple tests

 

Next Generation Science Standards Practices:

1) Asking questions

3) Planning and carrying out investigations

4) Analyzing and interpreting data

7) Engaging in argument from evidence

8) Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information