Preschool, Elementary, and Secondary Education Programs

at The State Arboretum of Virginia

2006-2007 School Year

Teachers: Register HERE for Blandy School Programs

The State Arboretum of Virginia is a regional center for environmental education, providing life-long learning for all ages.  The School Program includes an exciting variety of structured inquiry-based learning experiences for school-aged groups from public, private and home schools. We encourage teachers, students and parents to engage in exploration of the Arboretum by using their own educational activities or reserving a backpack collection of pre-planned activities. Register on-line for a program here and plan to stay for lunch!

Program Features

Most school programs begin at the Parkfield Learning Center (inside) or Peetwood Pavilion for Environmental Education (outside), a short walk from the parking area. All programs provide hands-on learning experiences through indoor and outdoor activities. Students interact using questions and discussion to help them apply what they already know to their new experiences. References to the Virginia SOLs are included in the program descriptions.

New This Year!

  • On-line program registration.  All program registration will now be accomplished on-line.  This will make the process easier and faster.   With our on-line system you will know immediately which programs are available at your preferred time.
  • Mammals! (Grades Pre-K, K, and 1)

Our Facilities Include:

·         175-acre Arboretum collection featuring over 1,000 species of native and exotic trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants;

·         Parking area designated for school buses;

·         Picnic area with tables and a water fountain; and

·         Wheelchair accessible restrooms in the Quarters, Parkfield Learning Center, and the Peetwood Pavilion.

Planning Tips:

 

Registration: All programs are 75 minutes unless otherwise stated in the program description. We can take up to two classes at a time—one in the Parkfield Learning Center and one in the outdoor classroom, the Peetwood Pavilion for Environmental Education. With our three timeslots (10:00, 11:30, and 1:30), we may be able to accommodate up to 6 classes per day.

Class size: Our programs comfortably accommodate a class of 25 students with about five adults.  Minimum class size for a program is 10 students.  For groups spanning several grade levels, we prefer to limit the group to three consecutive grades, e.g. grades 3, 4, & 5. 

Cancellation Fee: If you cancel your program(s) within 3 weeks of your scheduled date, you will be charged the minimum fee of $30 per program canceled. We are unable to fill timeslots vacated within 3 weeks of a program date due to the lead time needed for schools to schedule field trips.

Chaperones: One per 5-6 students. Teachers and other chaperones come for free!

Special Needs: Please advise us if you have students with any special needs. We will make every effort to accommodate them.

Be Prepared: Maximize your students’ experience at Blandy! Come to the Arboretum for a program preview.  Call 540-837-1758 Ext. 242 to schedule.

Restrooms: Allow 20 minutes for the whole class to visit the restrooms.

Picnic Grove: Seats about 60 people. First come-first served. No reservations taken.

 

How to Schedule a Program  *NEW!*  On-line Registration!

School programs are available fall through spring, Monday through Friday, at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. All programs are scheduled in advance, and are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Optimum class size for the space is 25 students. Reservations for the 2006-2007 school year will be accepted on-line, beginning Monday, September 2, 2006.  Please click on the link to our registration page.  Phone or email confirmation will follow within five working days, with written confirmation two to four weeks prior to your scheduled date. (If you have not received a reply within five days, please call or e-mail us: schprog@virginia.edu.)  You may access the registration page here.

Program fees

Program fees are $3 per student, unless otherwise noted. Payments are due on the program day. Make checks payable to Blandy Experimental Farm. We prefer not to accept cash.

Arboretum Etiquette

To preserve and protect the Arboretum, we ask you follow these guidelines:

·         Do not pick or collect any plant, animal or geologic materials without prior permission.

·         Do not climb on any stone walls, trees or buildings. Stay on paths or grassy areas.

·         Be aware of common natural hazards like poison ivy, uneven ground and weather changes.

·         Please allow 20 minutes for an entire class to use the restroom before or after a program.

·         Please respect the privacy of our staff working in the Quarters building.

·         Organized team sports or games are prohibited.


A Handy Guide to Blandy School Programs for the 2006-2007 School Year

 

Program

FOCUS

Pre-K

k

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9-12

Preschool Explorers

Investigating nature

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mammals!

Mammal description & Behavior

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Sprout

Plant germination & growth

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snake Savvy

Snake identification & behavior

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

It’s for the Birds

Bird adaptations

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

Virginia Natives

Ecology of native ecosystems

 

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

Flower Functions

Flower structure & relationship with insect pollinators

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

Scoop on Soils

Soil types & soil function

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

Rocks Talk

Rock identification & Virginia geology

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

Water Wonders

Measuring & analyzing water quality

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

Arbor Sleuth

Tree identification

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

 

 

Young Ecologists

Measuring biodiversity; native vs. non-native organisms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

Water Quality Technology

Measuring & analyzing water quality using probes and graphing calculators

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

Science Explorations

Student-directed field ecology research

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

 

 

PRESCHOOL EXPLORERS

Ages 3 – 5

Why is one thing alive and another non-living?  What are the characteristics of living things?  We will use our powers of observation, including microscopes and hand lenses to explore these questions.  Students will express their observations both verbally and in drawings to take home. In the fall, leaf rubbings will be added to their take-home treasures. In the spring, children will plant seeds to take home and nurture.

Fee: $3 per student

 

LIFE PROCESSES

Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

It's For The Birds!
What adaptations allow birds to secure food and shelter? In the classroom, students will learn about how different bird beaks are adapted to the food they eat. Outdoors, students will use binoculars to observe birds in their natural habitats. This program is recommended for the winter as well as warmer times of the year.

[Science SOL Ref: 1.1, 1.5, 1.7; 2.4, 2.5, 2.7; 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10; 4.5, 4.8; and 5.5]
Fee: $3 per student

 

Snake Savvy

As long as you know about snakes, there’s no reason to be afraid of them! In this program, students will learn distinguishing characteristics that differentiate Virginia’s venomous and non-venomous snakes, as well as learn to identify some of Virginia’s most common snakes. Students will have the opportunity to feel snake skin. We’ll also talk about what to do when we encounter snakes in the wild and will practice this behavior on a nature walk as we look for Blandy’s snakes.

 

[Science SOL Ref: 1.1, 1.5, 1.7; 2.4, 2.5, 2.7; 3.4, 3.5, 3.6; 4.5, 4.8; 5.5]

Fee $3 per student

Grades K, 1, and 2

Let’s Sprout!
Capture the imagination of budding young scientists as they explore the wonders of seed germination and plant growth. What do seeds do? How do plants grow? The concept of plant life cycles will be reinforced on a nature walk and by planting seeds to take home. This is our most popular program!

[Science SOL Ref: K.1, K.6, K.8; 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, 1.7; 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, and 2.7]

Fee: $3 per student

Grades 3 and 4


Flower Functions

Did you know that some flowers have air strips designed just for bees?  And others have landing pads for butterflies?  What are those small yellow dots that smear my nose if I sniff a flower too closely?  Using hand lenses and simple microscopes, students dissect flowers to identify and observe the components. Then, they explore the fascinating relationships plants and their animal partners have developed to help one another.

 

[Science SOL Ref: 3.1, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8; 4.1, 4.4, and 4.5]

Fee: $3 per student


EARTH SCIENCES

Grades 3, 4, and 5

Scoop on Soils

With this close-up look, students learn that soil is more than dirt!  First, students learn about particle size by playing a soil game. Then, students experiment with different types of soil, building on the concepts in the soil game. Data collection, measurement, observation and use of the scientific method are reinforced. This program is recommended for winter as well as warmer times of the year.

 

[Science SOL Ref:  3.1, 3.7, 3.10; 4.1, 4.8; 5.1, and 5.7]

Fee: $3 per student

 

Grades 3, 4, and 5

Rocks Talk

What do the rocks at the Arboretum tell us about our geologic history? Students will identify common Virginia rocks and the distinctions among igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. On the grounds we’ll look for evidence of tectonic plate movement, weathering and erosion, and examples of human impact on the natural rock cycle. A modified version of this program focusing on rock identification techniques is also available. This program is recommended for winter as well as warmer times of the year.

 

 [Science SOL Ref: 3.1, 3,7; 4.1, 4.8; and 5.7]

Fee: $3 per student

 

ECOLOGY

Grades Pre-K, K, and 1

Mammals!

Do you know that some mammals can fly or swim?  Can you tell a fox footprint from a bobcat?  Do you know that some mammals use their sense of smell to find food?  Have you ever felt a fox tail or a deer skin?  Are you a mammal?  Sign up for this class to learn about mammals, especially the mammals native to Virginia.

 

[Science SOL Ref: K.1, K.2, K.6, K.8; 1.1, 1.4, 1.5, and 1.7]

Fee:  $3 per student

 

Grades 2, 3, and 4

Virginia Natives

Does our backyard look like your backyard? On the Native Plant Trail, students will identify producers, consumers and decomposers in the woodland habitat.  Through inquiry-based activities, students will investigate how these plants and animals interact with one another and their physical environment. (This lesson plan is variable depending on the grade level attending.)

 

[Science SOL Ref: 2.1, 2.5, 2.8; 3.1, 3.5, 3.6, 3.8, 3.10; 4.1, 4.5, and 4.8]

Fee: $3 per student 

 

 

INVESTIGATIONS

Grades 6 and 7

Young Ecologists

What is a habitat?  What types of plants and animals might be found there?  What resources do these organisms need to survive in this habitat?  Students become young ecologists by investigating the diversity of life in different habitats and some of the environmental factors that influence ecosystem diversity.  Blandy becomes your outdoor science and math laboratory.  Additionally, preliminary analysis of the results sets the stage for further studies at school. 

 

[SOL Ref: Science, 6.1, 6.7; LS.1, LS.4, LS. 8, LS. 9, LS. 10, LS.11, and LS.12.  Math: 6.7, 6.8; 7.7, 7.16, 7.19, 7.20, and 7.21. English: 6.1, 6.7, 6.8; 7.1 and 7.8]

Fee: $3 per student

 

Grades 5, 6, and 7

Arbor Sleuth

 What are the important features that distinguish one tree from another?  Student detectives hone their observation skills as they tour the Arboretum identifying mystery trees. They use hand lenses and dichotomous keys to locate characteristics that distinguish trees from one another.  We can schedule this program year-round.  Spring we will focus on tree flowers; summer and fall the focus will be leaves and fruits; winter it will be buds and bark.

 

[Science SOL Ref: 5.1, 5.5; 6.1; LS.5, LS.11, and LS.12]

Fee: $3 per student

 

Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6

Water Wonders!

Students will use topographic maps of Virginia to locate and describe their own watersheds. Hand-held instruments will be used to collect, measure, record and analyze water quality indicators such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, and identification of macroinvertebrates for Blandy’s wetlands.

 

[Science SOL Ref: 3.1, 3.9; 4.1, 4.8; 5.1; 6.1, 6.5, 6.7, and 6.9.]

Fee: $3 per student

 

Middle and High School Science

Water Quality Technology

Similar to the Water Wonders program, this program focuses on measuring water quality indicators. For this program, students use TI-83 graphing calculators, LabPros, and various probes to measure temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and other indicators. Students get to use some high-tech equipment for water quality monitoring! This program is recommended for attentive, motivated students because using the LabPros requires following directions closely and precisely. It is designed to take two hours and best accommodates groups of no more than 15.

 

[Science SOL Ref: 6.1, 6.5, 6.7, 6.9; LS.1, LS.7, LS.12; BIO.1, BIO.3; and CH. 1]

Fee: $5 per student

 

Science Explorations: A Day-Long Investigation

From developing a hypothesis to presenting their results, students will conduct a scientific experiment based on an inquiry they choose about the environment at the Arboretum. Here is a sample of the numerous possibilities:

·         Compare abiotic factors in two different habitats

·         Investigate animal and plant adaptations

·         Examine the importance of  biodiversity

·         Explore the ecosystem value of wetlands

·         Assess the characteristics of invasive species and their impacts on native Virginia ecosystems

Call (540) 837-1758 Ext. 242 to discuss the possibilities. We schedule this program from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

 

[SOL Ref: Science: 6.1; LS.1, and others depending on inquiry chosen. Math: 6.7, 6.8; 7.7, 7.16, 7.19, 7.20, and 7.21. English: 6.1, 6.7, 6.8; 7.1, and 7.8.]

Fee: $8 per student

 

BACKPACK PROGRAM

When students are not in a scheduled program, what can you do? Reserve a backpack full of fun activities! There are four backpacks to a set; each pack has supplies for 6 students. Instructions, equipment and all necessary materials are included in each pack. Use the program reservation form to reserve a set of backpacks for your class. For more information, contact schprog@virginia.edu.

 

Pre-School & Kindergarten

Use Some Sense!

Did you hear that? What is that smell? Look at that color!  Come visit Blandy and find out how we use our senses to observe the world around us.  The Backpack contains hands-on activities for your students. Click here for activity instructions.

 

[Skills: Observation, investigation using the senses, communication]

Fee: $15 per class

 

All Grades

WILD Things!

What birds make Blandy their home? Who lives in Lake Georgette? Are there creatures hiding in the rock walls? Observe the wildlife that makes the Arboretum their home with Peterson Flash Guides, binoculars, and grade specific hands-on activities. Click here for activity instructions.

 

[Skills Used: Observation, communication and identification]

Fee: $15 per class

 

Green and Growing

Where is the plant that smells like bubblegum? Did you know that leaves have veins? Have you ever had a “tree cookie”?  Explore the plants, trees, and herbs at Blandy using Peterson Flash Guides, hand lenses, and grade specific hands-on activities. Click here for activity instructions.

 

[Skills Used: Investigation using the senses, observation, identification]

Fee: $15 per class

 

 

 

Program Scheduling

School programs are available fall through spring, Monday through Friday, at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. All programs are scheduled in advance, and are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Optimum class size for the space is 25 students. Reservations for the 2006-2007 school year will be accepted on-line beginning September 2, 2006.  Phone or email confirmation will follow within five working days, with written confirmation two to four weeks prior to your scheduled date. (If you have not received a reply within five days, please call us or e-mail us: schprog@virginia.edu.) You may access the on-line registration form here.

Back to Main page

Last Update August 24, 2006