Guided School Programs
Experiential learning facilitated by enthusiastic, knowledgeable Garden Instructors. 60 minutes unless otherwise noted.
Download a Printable School Program Guide
Colors of the Garden – 45 minutes (Pre-K, K, 1)
Designed for our youngest Garden guests, this experience begins with a storybook reading followed by a color exploration in our enchanting display gardens. Students learn about the color wheel and color theory in nature. Key Concepts: art, color, color wheel, colors in nature. Suggested Add-on: Conservatory Quest
Inch by Inch – 45 Minutes (Pre-K, K, 1)
Join this multi-disciplinary adventure as students explore math with Inch Worm and friends. Following a story, students will use Inch Worm and other non-standard units of measure to compare sizes and shapes in the Garden. Key Concepts: measurement, observation, linking literature to science and nature. Suggested Add-on: Worm Bin Creation
Garden Detectives – 45 minutes (Pre-K, K, 1)
The Garden is filled with the wonders of nature! In this program, students investigate the outdoors like real detectives, using curiosity and their five senses. A focus on keen observation and physical engagement ensures fun and learning. Key Concepts: senses, physical properties, similarities & differences. Suggested Add-on: Worm Bin Creation.
NEW! Shapes for Strength (K – 3)
Students will learn the importance of a strong foundation to create long lasting buildings. They will then create their own architectural or geometric shape models that are tested for strength and solidity. Key Concepts: design principles, models, form and function, physical properties.
Pollinator Power (Grade 3)
Explore the Garden and witness pollinators at work! Students will observe pollinators in action, zeroing in on flower parts and the process of pollination. Then they will engage with pollination like never before – by acting out a Pollinator Play!
Key Concepts: pollinators, pollination, parts of a flower. Suggested Add-on: Flower Dissection.
Natures Transformers (Grade 2)
Animals like mealworms and frogs can change dramatically throughout their lives. Learn about complete and incomplete metamorphosis, investigate a mealworm colony and explore the Garden for animals in different life stages, from bird eggs to butterfly larvae to frog tadpoles. Key concepts: Animal lifecycles. Suggested Add-on: Paper Mache Chrysalis
Plant Parts We Eat (Grade 3)
Students explore the Garden to identify basic plants parts, what plants need to live and the plant life cycle. They then apply this knowledge in the creation of a Veggie Monster. Key Concepts: plant growth requirements, plant parts, plant life cycle and functions. Suggested Add-on: Terrarium Station
Seed Ya Soon (Grades 1-3)
The Garden is the perfect setting to search for seeds and observe our environment. Learn about how a seed grows and how plants disperse their seeds. Students engage in hands-on investigation to compare a variety of seeds. Key Concepts: seeds, seed dispersal, germination, plant life cycle. Suggested Add-on: Terrarium Station, Flower Dissection.
Get into the Habitat – 75 minutes (Grades K-8)
Explore habitats on a trek through the forest. Students dig in to ecosystems, habitats and how plants and animals adapt according to needs for shelter, water, food, nesting, or breeding sites. Key Concepts: habitat, ecosystem, population, adaptations, food web, biodiversity, observation, stewardship. Suggested Add-on: Owl Pellet Dissection
Trip to the Tropics (Grades 1-6)
The warm, wet conditions in tropical ecosystems result in amazing plants that represent huge diversity! Learn how plants adapt to thrive in this ecosystem, from drip tips and waxy surfaces to usual plants parts. We’ll also touch on unique uses of many tropical plants. Key Concepts: Ecosystem, plant adaptations, uses of plants. Suggested Add-on: Flower Dissection.
Pond Ecology – 75 minutes (Grades K-6)
Ponds are ideal ecosystems to get a close-up look at the web of life. At one of the Garden’s ponds, students investigate organisms that thrive in, on, and near the water by collecting pond samples and making detailed observations. Key Concepts: habitats, lifecycles, plant-animal relationships, water quality, research methods, stewardship. Suggested Add-on: Papier Mache Chrysalis
Simple Machines – 75 minutes (Grades 5-8)
Students navigate the gauntlet of engineering, math and the scientific method as they work together to complete different tasks at various stations. Students will learn the history behind some of today’s most simple machines including: the lever, wheel and axle, wedge, incline plane, screw and pulley. Key Concepts: forces of motion, energy transfer, physical properties.
NEW! Biomimicry: Nature’s Brilliance – 75 minutes (Grades 6-12)
Students will learn how nature has already solved many problems humans tackle every day. By examining how plants and animals survive, humans can imitate or mimic these mechanisms for their own sustainable future. Key Concepts: ecology, systems thinking, creative problem solving.
NEW! Phenology Cycles: Lessons from the Field – 75 minutes (Grades 6-12)
Become citizen scientists in the field by learning how and why data collection can contribute to a better understanding of patterns in nature. Students will learn the meaning behind phenology while discussing ways to incorporate citizen science data collection at home or in school. Key Concepts: phenology, inferences and observation, data recording, citizen science.
NEW! Botany Blast – 75 minutes (Grades 6-12)
The Garden provides a great opportunity for hands-on botany! From the micro to the macro, students will experience the thrill of discovery and the exploration of diversity. Students will compare the flowers of monocots and dicots, examine flowers under magnification to find the fruit (ovaries) and seeds (ovules), and discuss their findings with expert staff. A Garden walk will extend the botanical experience as students look for specific examples of monocots, dicots, and floral diversity to illustrate key aspects of the plant community. Key Concepts: Botany, dissection, plant life cycles, parts of a flower/seed/fruit, pollination, germination, sexual and asexual propagation
Custom Programs (All Grade Levels)
Please call to schedule a custom program that supplements your classroom learning. Guided School Program structure, fees and reservations apply.
Whether scheduling a guided or self-guided program, extend your students’ experience by 30 minutes with an additional enrichment activity led by a Garden Instructor.
Fee: $45/add-on per class
- Terrarium Station: Plant a cutting in a contained, portable terrarium, and watch it grow into a full-sized plant for your home or classroom.
- Flower Dissection: Investigate the parts of a flower by pulling one apart to see what’s inside.
- Owl Pellet Dissection: Work with a partner to dissect and identify an owl pellet’s contents.
- Worm Bin Creation: Set up a worm bin for your classroom. Learn about vermicomposting and how decomposers help our planet.
- Conservatory Quest: Discover characteristics of a tropical ecosystem and highlights of our Orchid Conservatory on this guided tour.
- Paper Mache Chrysalis: Art and science merge in this fun, hands-on exploratory creation. When ready, open the chrysalis and release the artificial butterfly!
Perfect for Day Care and After-school Groups! Pick any 2 Optional Add-Ons to combine into one 45-minute mini-program.