School and Classroom Programs

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Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) offers a number and variety of science and nature-based programs for elementary schools in Windham County. Each of the programs can be tailored to fit grade level and classroom or school needs, and are applicable to VT Grade Expectations (GEs) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Programs can be taught at BEEC on our wonderful fields and woodlands, or a BEEC educator can come to your classroom and schools outdoor areas.  Our goal is to get kids engaged in hands-on inquiry science activities outside of the classroom.

Below you will find information on:

  • Requesting a Program
  • Science Curriculum Units
  • Winter Outdoor Adventures
  • After-school Programs
  • Early Childhood Programs

Questions and inquiries can be sent to Joan Carey at joan@beec.org

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Requesting a Program

We welcome requests for individual programs or series of programs.  Here are some examples of topics that have been requested.

  • Vermont Mammals – BEEC’s mammal mounts, skulls, and pelts open a world of curiosity and amazement for your class. Students will enhance their observation skills as they explore animal adaptations, predator-prey relationships, and basic tracking techniques of these animals in the great outdoors.
  • All about Birds – Students will learn the basic language of songbirds, gain an understanding of their similarities and differences, and examine various birds of prey. Classes explore predator-prey relationships in the avian world and tackle basic bird identification.
  • Incredible Insects – Become familiar with the eight major insect groups, explore the role of insects in nature, and discover how they are important to people. Students will get hands-on experience searching for insects in various habitats and will investigate their fascinating life cycles.
  • Rotten Truth – Explore the dark world beneath your feet. Learn about recycling and decomposition from the experts. Students will dig through rotting logs to getup close and personal with the creatures, such as fungi, earthworms and termites that cause this natural process.

 

Science Curriculum Units

The goal of BEEC’s science support to curriculum units is to provide teachers and students with inquiry investigations to learn about a topic.  Through field studies and classroom activities students get hands-on experience with the topic.  We love working with teachers on a study unit by developing a series of programs for their class that take place over the course of a few weeks, a season, or the year.  Here are some examples of what we have done with grades K – 4.

  • Life Cycles of Plants   Goal: To learn about reproduction of plants and the basis of energy flow in an ecosystem. Overview: Students get hands-on experience observing, comparing and dissecting common plants and exploring plant parts, flower parts, the life cycles of plants, and plant reproduction. They conduct research to demonstrate a plant’s need for sunlight, the ultimate source of energy in most ecosystems.
  • Life Cycles of Animals   Goal: To learn about classification of animals based on structural similarities and differences, and about the reproduction and life cycles of a variety of different animals.  Overview: Students get hands-on experience describing and sorting animals into groups, based on structural similarities and differences. They investigate and describe a variety of animal life cycles, drawing and labeling the stages of development in the life of familiar animals.
  • Earth’s Changing Surface   Goal: To learn about how the earth’s surface changes over time by studying the rocks, soils, and examples of erosion.  Overview: In this unit, students will explore the process of geological change over time. Through observation and experimentation they will discover the composition and properties of local rocks and soils. They will learn about erosion by studying sediment on streambed models, and observing the condition of local stream banks. By visiting local streams, students will be able to see the effects of erosion on rocks and soil.
  • Aquatic Environments  Goal: To learn about energy flow, food webs and equilibrium in an aquatic ecosystem.  Overview: Students get hands-on experience observing, exploring and comparing the components of aquatic ecosystems. Students learn about the living organisms and how their habitat provides for their needs. Students observe and research the role that each organism plays and the relationships among organisms.
  • Adaptations and Habitats  Goal: To learn about how evolution, natural selection and the physical structure of an organism allow it to survive in a given habitat. Overview: With a focus on birds, students get hands-on experience observing and comparing both behavior and structure of organisms. Students learn about where an organism lives and how that relates to the successful survival of its species. Students observe and research the successful adaptations of an individual bird.

 

Winter Outdoor Adventures

The focus of BEEC’s Winter Outdoor Adventure program is to provide students with opportunities to explore the outdoors through hands-on winter ecology games and activities and to learn about winter survival strategies. Through these activities students will deepen their connections to the natural world and develop a unique sense of place. Each week a new topic will be explored.  Each hour and a half or two hour session will take place primarily, or all, outdoors – depending on the needs of the group and weather conditions. Sessions can take place at BEEC or at your school.

  • Winter World ~ Grades K-3/4 ~ Let’s explore the amazing world of winter. We’ll investigate animal winter survival strategies, birds in wintertime, animal tracking, camouflage, finding shelter, animal relationships, and play games that mimic their winter behaviors.
  • Winter Outdoor Survival ~ Grades 4-6 or 5-8 ~ Could you survive the winter living outdoors?  What can we learn from animal winter survival strategies?  Exploring the outdoors we will practice nature awareness, track animals, learn bird language, identify plants, build snow shelters and make a winter campfire.
  • Grades K-6 ~ A blend of the above two programs that will best match the needs of the individual group.

 

After-school Programs

BEEC’s after-school programs provide students with opportunities to explore the fields and forests around their school through hands-on ecology games and activities.  Through these activities students will deepen their connections to the natural world and develop a unique sense of place with their familiar school grounds.  Each week a new topic will be explored.

Programs for grades K – 3/4   (can be adapted for all ages)

  • Autumn Amble ~ Come discover the autumn world of singing insects, falling leaves, and traveling seeds.  We will explore the changing world around us and play games that mimic the autumn behaviors of animals.
  • Chilly Changes ~ Let’s investigate the changing forest.   We will explore how the plants and animals are preparing for the long cold winter, and play games that mimic their activities.
  • Winter Woods ~ Come discover the winter world around us through games, activities and exploration.  We will explore winter survival strategies of animals, uncover stories tracking wildlife, and mimic their winter behaviors.
  • Warming Days ~ Let’s investigate the changing forest.  As the world begins to slowly re-emerge from winter’s slumber we will explore what animals are doing and play games that mimic their activities.
  • Spring Stroll ~ Come explore and discover the spring world of bursting buds, returning birds, and emerging insects.  Welcoming this magical time, we will also make nature art and build fairy and gnome homes.

Programs for grades 3/4 – 6  (or grades 5 – 8)

  • Forest Navigation Part 1 ~ Finding our way through the forest, we will become aware of our surroundings and features of the land as we build our sense of place.  We will discover clues to direction by observing the landscape, find landmarks to create storylines to follow, and make treasure hunts.
  • Forest Navigation Part 2 ~ Finding our way through the forest, we will deepen our awareness of our surroundings and our sense of place.  We will develop orienteering skills as we learn how to use maps and compasses, make treasure hunts for each other, and go on navigational challenges.
  • Winter Tracking ~ Explore the woods as nature detectives uncovering the stories of animals told through their tracks and sign.  Practice sensory awareness, track wildlife, learn bird language, and learn to identify plants.  Through exploration, activities and playful mimicry we’ll gain a deeper understanding of our wild neighbors.

 

Early Childhood Programs

BEEC’s early childhood programs provide the young child with the opportunity to connect with the natural world around them through their senses, imagination and play.  Fuel your student’s curiosity with hands-on natural science exploration and discovery throughout the seasons.  Programs can be offered individually, or as a series covering a wide variety of themes and/or taking a closer look at some topics over a season or through the year.

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What teachers have to say:

I feel very lucky to have the BEEC program in our community!

I have been involved with BEEC for the past 10 years, it is a great program.

Students often make connections between what they learned at BEEC and what is taught in the classroom.

Our year-long work with BEEC keeps the natural world in our lens of learning.  What we do with BEEC ties in with what we are doing in class.

After a BEEC program, students seem to be more observant and respectful of nature. There is nothing better than learning about the natural world than outdoors with teachers.

The students love the experience and afterwards find all kinds of connections from what the program was about to other learning experiences.

Our field trip is one of the highlights of the year. A lot is integrated into the study: writing. data recording, making charts, making books, nature drawing… Thanks so much!  See you next year.

I’m very happy that we have this resource and plan to use it again next year.

It is a wonderful collaboration and we are so happy to be part of it!

Thanks for a great field trip! BEEC educators are wonderful to work with.