School & Group Programs

Programs by Topic

All Grades

This new program brings a Yale scientist into your classroom. Peabody Museum experts will discuss geology, ecology, adaptation, ornithology, archaeology, and paleontology. Presentations include the scientist’s background and what first interested them in their field. They will give a short summary of their lab or field research and finish by answering questions from your students.

Programs are 20 to 30 minutes long, depending on your available class time. Our scientists will do their best to modify the focus of each program to meet your curriculum needs.


Life Science

All living things are the result of successful adaptation.  Some of these adaptations are physical and some are behavioral. Together, these adaptations make each living thing unique.  This program will introduce the concepts of evolution, natural selection, variation and speciation with examples from the Museum's collections.

Grade Level: Elementary & Middle School

Next Generation Science Standards:

3-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • 3-LS2-1. Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.

3-LS3 Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

  • 3-LS3-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.

3-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • 3-LS4-2. Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
  • 3-LS4-3. Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior
  • LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience
  • LS3.A: Inheritance of Traits
  • LS3.B: Variation of Traits
  • LS4.B: Natural Selection

Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Scale, Proportion and Quantity

The Yale Peabody Museum’s extensive collection of birds provides a focal point for learning about these animals that are part of our everyday lives.  Highlighting common species such as robins, cardinals and blue jays can provide opportunities to discuss concepts such as physical and behavioral adaptation, migration, biodiversity and endangered species.   

Grade Level: K-12

Next Generation Science Standards:

LS1: From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • 4-LS1-1. Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • 3-LS2-1. Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.
  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
  • MS-LS2-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits

  • 3-LS3-1. Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.

LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • 2-LS4-1. Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

The Connecticut dioramas were developed with the help of one of the founders of the science of ecology, G. Evelyn Hutchinson. These Yale Peabody Museum's dioramas allow the students to visualize complex food webs and ecology in four distinct habitat types present in Connecticut.  This program focuses on habitat, with an investigation of biotic and abiotic factors, biodiversity, and human impacts.

Grade Level: K-12

Science Content Standards: 4.2, 6.2

High School Biology Enrichment Standard: Ecology

Energy flows through ecosystems, forming a cycle of life and energy.  Using the Peabody Museum's unique specimens and imagery, students will explore energy pathways in different biomes that begin with the sun and fuel all life on our planet.  This web of life connects producers, consumers and decomposers.

Grade Level: Elementary and Middle School

Next Generation Science Standards:

5-LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics

  • 5-LS2-1. Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

5-PS3: Energy

  • 5-PS3-1. Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.

MS-LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-3.  Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

Developed to meet NGSS standards, this new program will explore the concept of habitat by highlighting Peabody Museum specimens and images from the expertly crafted dioramas.  Case studies of several species will highlight human impacts and present students with opportunities to discover ways to change the impact of humans on the environment.

Grade Level: Elementary through High School

Next Generation Science Standards:

K-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • K-ESS3-1. Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals (including humans) and the places they live.
  • K-ESS3-3. Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, water, air, and/or other living things in the local environment.

5-ESS3 Earth and Human Activity

  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.

HS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • ESS3.A: Natural Resources
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
  • ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Systems and System Models
  • Cause and Effect

Using specimens from the Peabody Museum's Anthropology and Education collections, this program introduces the evidence that scientists use to understand the details of human evolution. The program provides an outstanding introduction to the way science works. Rather than viewing science as presenting established facts, we will explore what is known, what can be known, and why scientists are still looking for fossil fragments.

Grade Level: Middle and High School

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS.Natural Selection and Adaptations

  • MS-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
  • MS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

HS.Natural Selection and Evolution

  • HS-LS4-1. Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
  • HS-LS4-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
  • HS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
  • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.

Outstanding specimens of prehistoric animal and plant fossils are used to illustrate current theories on the mechanisms of biological change that are evolution.  These specimens provide evidence for the process of evolution through natural selection and genetic mutation.  Evolution has been a primary research subject at the Peabody Museum for more than 100 years and many of the Museum's exhibits were produced to promote the understanding of evolution.  Specimens will highlight current research on the close relationship between birds and dinosaurs, horse evolution, mass extinctions and a brief look at human origins.

Grade Level: Middle and High School

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.

HS.Natural Selection and Evolution

  • HS-LS4-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
  • HS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptations of populations. 

Many plants depend on animals for pollination and to move their seeds around. Animals need seeds, nectar and pollen from plants for food and to help their young to survive and grow. This program will explore the process of pollination and how it relies upon interdependent relationships in ecosystems and plant and animal adaptation for its success. Current environmental issues facing plants and pollinators will also be covered.

Grade Level: Elementary and Middle School

NGS Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
  • LS1:A: Structure and Function
  • LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms

Next Generation Science Standards:

2-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • 2-LS2-2 Construct a simple model that mimics the function in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants

MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-4 Use argument-based empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively

NGS Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Cause and Effect
  • Structure and Function

Earth Science

Using museum specimens, video and activities, Landforms: Evidence of a Changing Earth brings the concept of a dynamic Earth to life.  This program will explore constructive and destructive geologic forces and the evidence of these activities in Connecticut.  Topics covered include tectonic movement, volcanism, sedimentation, glaciation, erosion and weathering.  Current research being conducted by Yale University's Department of Geology and Geophysics will be presented.

Grade Level: 4th, 5th, Middle and High School

Next Generation Science Standards:

ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe

  • MS-ESS1-4: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.

ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • 4-ESS2-1: Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
  • 5-ESS2-1: Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
  • MS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • MS-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.
  • MS-ESS2-3: Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
  • HS-ESS2-1: Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.
  • HS-ESS2-3: Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection.

Students will be introduced to a variety of minerals, how they form, and properties that can be identified through the use of simple tests and observations.  These may include color, odor, hardness, luster, magnetism and transparency.  The rock cycle, including igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock types will also be introduced including an understanding of how each rock type is formed and where they can be found in Connecticut.

Grade Level: Grades 4 through 8

Next Generation Science Standards:

ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • 4-ESS2-1. Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
  • 5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
  • MS-ESS2-1. Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth's materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
  • MS-ESS2-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.

Paleontology

Your students will experience the Peabody Museum's dinosaurs as never before with our new virtual 3D Great Hall!  Get close up views of Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and the rest of the Great Hall's dinosaurs, marine reptiles and early birds skeletons.  This program explores concepts such as evolution, adaptation, extinction, fossilization and habitat through the lens of the Yale Peabody Museum's outstanding collection of prehistoric animals.  The Museum's Pulitzer Award-winning mural The Age of Reptiles, by Rudolph Zallinger is also discussed.

Grade Level: Grades K through 6

Next Generation Science Standards:

2-ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • ESS2.A: Earth Materials and Systems
  • ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions 

3-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
  • LS4.B: Natural Selection

 

Current research has greatly increased what we now know about dinosaurs, their evolution, and their relationship to birds.  Some old ideas are coming back into the mainstream while many new ideas are reshaping our understanding of how dinosaurs lived.  Using a new virtual 3-D model of the Great Hall and its specimens, this program will focus on a discussion of the latest research, much coming from Yale paleontologists, with links to the topics of fossilization, extinction, evolution and behavior.

Grade Level: Middle and High School

Next Generation Science Standards:

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
  • MS-LS4-2: Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.

This new program addresses NGS standards of Biological Evolution and Diversity using a spectacular virtual 3D model of the Great Hall and all it's exhibits and specimens.  Evidence will be presented so that students may analyze and interpret key characteristics for each specimen and determine how certain features can be useful in understanding the habitats of these prehistoric creatures.

Grade Level: Elementary and Middle School

Next Generation Science Standards:

3-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • 3-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past. 

Science and Engineering Practices:

  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas:

  • LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
  • LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience

Crosscutting Concepts:

  • Cause and Effect
  • Scale, proportion and Quantity