Guided School Programs
Experiential learning facilitated by enthusiastic, knowledgeable Garden Instructors. 60 minutes unless otherwise noted.
Download a Printable School Programs Guide
Colors of the Garden (Grades Pre-K, K, 1; 45 minutes)
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: physical properties, color, colors in nature, Elements of Art, identifying colors in works of art, Principles of Design. Suggested Add-on: Conservatory Quest
Inch by Inch (Grades Pre-K, K, 1; 45 minutes)
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, physical properties and positions of objects, scientific inquiry. Suggested Add-on: Worm Bin Creation
Garden Detectives (Grades Pre-K, K, 1; 45 minutes)
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, characteristics of living and non-living things, similarities & differences in various environments. Suggested Add-on: Conservatory Quest
Shapes for Strength (Grades K-3; 60 minutes)
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: form and function, physical properties, position and motion of objects, forces, structure and properties of matter, creative and critical thinking to artistic expression.
Seed Ya Soon (Grades 1-3; 60 minutes)
The Garden is the perfect setting to search for seeds and observe our environment. Learn about a how a seed grows and how plants disperse their seeds. Students engage in hands-on investigation to compare a variety of seeds. Key Concepts: basic needs for plant growth, soil, seeds, dispersal, life cycles. Suggested Add-on: Terrarium Station, Flower Dissection.
Nature’s Transformers (Grade 2; 60 minutes)
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 life cycles, similarities and differences between parents and offspring. Suggested Add-on: Paper Mache Chrysalis
Plant Parts We Eat (Grade 3; 60 minutes)
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: needs of organisms for energy and growth, how plants survive in their environments, plant parts and function. Suggested Add-on: Terrarium Station
Pollinator Power (Grade 3; 60 minutes)
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: pollination, structure of plants and animals for survival, organism needs, adaptation, reproduction. Suggested Add-on: Flower Dissection
Get Into the Habitat (Grades K-8; 75 minutes)
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, adaptation, food chain, structure and function of living things, interdependence. *Suggested Add-on: Terrarium Station (Due to programmatic changes, terrarium builds are no longer included as part of ‘Get Into the Habitat’. Please request this as an additional add-on.)
Trip to the Tropics (Grades 1-6; 60 minutes)
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 unusual plants parts. We’ll also touch on unique uses of many tropical plants. Key Concepts: ecosystem characteristics and function, adaptation, biotic and abiotic factors, interconnectedness, beneficial vs. harmful environmental changes. Suggested Add-on: Flower Dissection
Pond Ecology (Grades K-6; 75 minutes)
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: water cycle, life cycles, stewardship, plant and animal species, ecosystem characteristics. Suggested Add-on: Paper Mache Chrysalis
Biomimicry: Nature’s Brilliance (Grades 6-12; 75 minutes)
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: stewardship, understanding the structure, processes and behavior of organisms, biomimicry and biotechnology, ecology, systems thinking.
Phenology Cycles: Lessons from the Field (Grades 6-12; 75 minutes)
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 at school. Key Concepts: conservation, human impact on the environment, inferences and observation.
Botany Blast (Grades 6-12; 75 minutes)
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 flower under magnification and discuss their findings with staff. A Garden walk will extend the botanical experience as students look for specific examples of floral diversity to illustrate key aspects of the plant community. Key Concepts: structure and function of flowering plants, reproduction, plant life cycles, sexual and asexual propagation.
Custom Programs (All Grade Levels)
Please call to schedule a custom program that supplements your classroom learning. Guided School Programs 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: $55/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.
- 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 the highlights of our Orchid Conservatory on this guided tour.
- Paper Mâché Chrysalis: Art and science merge in this fun, hands-on exploratory creation. When ready, open the chrysalis and release the artificial butterfly!