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classes at the Fairbanks Museum

Our educators are trained naturalists with a passion for inquiry-based learning.

Classes are held in our planetarium, galleries, classrooms, and in the field.

Be inspired! Here are the classes we're offering this fall. Our educators provide thought-provoking, inquiry-driven learning experiences designed to ignite curiosity and encourage reflection. We emphasize learning through scientific method, using observation, developing a hypothesis, testing, data collection, analysis, and reflection. Each class can be supplimented by a Science Kit that includes items for your students to handle, activites for guided instruction, and suggested discussion prompts.

All Fairbanks Museum education programs are designed to meet appropriate Next Generation Science Standards.

If you'd like to focus on a subject you don't see in this list, please let us know. Contact Karina Weiss, director of education, by email or call 802-748-2372 for more about learning with the Fairbanks Museum.


  • NEW: Constellations and Cultures (Grades K-8)
  • Bang Zoom to the Moon (Grades K-5)
  • What’s up, Tonight’s skies (Grades K-8)
  • Living in Space (Grades 3-8)
  • From Stonehenge to the Great Pyramid: Ancient Astronomy Sites (Grades 3-8)

Weather & Climate

  • Weather Lore (Grades 3-5)
  • How to make a weather forecast (Grades 3-5)
  • Living in a Greenhouse (Grades 4-8)

Environmental Science

  • NEW: Tracks in the Snow (Grades K-3) Available only in Winter
  • NEW: Insects and Imposters (K-3)
  • NEW: Locomotion Commotion (Grades K-3)
  • NEW: All about Owls (Grades 3-6)
  • NEW: VerMonsters (Grades 3-8)
  • Flowers (Grades K-6) available only in Spring
  • Animal Homes (Grades K-6)
  • Creature Features (Grades 2-8)
  • Mountains Crumble to the Sea (Grades 2-8)

 Field Excursions

  • Forest Life (Grades 1-6)
  • Meadow Life (Grades 1-6)
  • Pond Life (Grades 1-6) Available only in Spring


Constellations & Cultures (Grades K-8)

Constellations are created when people look up at the sky and draw lines between bright stars to create images. Even though we all see many of the same stars each night, every culture creates their own images based on what is important to them. In this planetarium program, we will explore stories from other cultures about constellations that we see in our night sky. 

NGSS Standards:  1-ESS1-1

Bang! Zoom! To the Moon! (Grades K-3)

How does the moon move, and why does it change appearance?  The moon is the most easily recognized object in the night sky, as well as the most misunderstood.  It changes shape, location and timing, creates eclipses, and is the only other planetary object humans have landed on and explored. The session closes with a viewing of actual moon landings. Pair this class with "The Phases of the Moon: Grades K-3" to spend 30 minutes doing each.

NGSS Standards: 1-ESS1-1, and 1-ESS1-2

Bang!  Zoom! To the Moon! (Grades 3-5)

In addition to the description above, students will see the phases and movement of the moon and learn how sun and shadow affect its appearance.  If appropriate, students will be introduced to topics such as the origin of the moon, its gravitational effect and solar and lunar eclipse.

NGSS Standards: 5-PS2-15-ESS1-15-ESS1-2MS-ESS1-1MS-ESS1-2, and MS-ESS1-3

What's Up, Tonight Skies (Grades K-8)

Take a tour of the night's sky with us!  During this program, you can expect to be introduced to seasonal constellations, fly to and explore visible planets, and learn about the latest discoveries from space. Better yet, you’ll walk away with an in-depth knowledge of your night sky so that you can identify the wonders of the cosmos in your own backyard..

NGSS Standards: 1-ESS1-11-ESS1-25-PS2-15-ESS1-15-ESS1-2MS-ESS1-1MS-ESS1-2, and MS-ESS1-3

Living in Space (Grades 3-8)

Is it possible that humans might be walking on Mars within a decade? NASA and companies like SpaceX are working on plans to put humans on Mars soon, and we already have the International Space Station too! Now we also have Space Tourism, where ordinary folks can buy ticket and ride into space! What would it take to live in space, on another planet, or just floating out amongst the stars? In this lesson we will
study the kinds of technologies that will be necessary to support human life, and also the biology and physics necessary to understand why it’s so difficult to leave the earth!
NGSS Standards: LS2D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior, ESS1B: Earth and the Solar System, ESS3C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems, PS3D: Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

From Stonehenge to the Great Pyramid: Ancient Astronomy Sites (Grades 3-8)

Observing and measuring the sky had a prominent role in nearly every ancient culture. Most importantly, it created a system of time-keeping, necessary for the organization and growth of a large population sharing similar beliefs and principles. These cornerstone concepts led to the construction of structures capable of measuring and marking significant astronomical events – seasons, cycles, and motions in the heavens. Students will start by exploring the relationship with basic astronomy observations and time. Then, they will consider possible ways to measure elements of the skies. That will lead to a discussion of how ancient astronomers designed structures to track these changes over time, including Stonehenge, the Great Pyramid of Egypt, some ancient Mayan sites, and others.

NGSS Standards: 5-ESS1-15-ESS1-2MS-ESS1-1MS-ESS1-2, and MS-ESS1-3

Weather & Climate

Weather Lore (Grades 3-5)

This is a class about ancient science, and how weather sayings were (and are!) used to predict day to day and long range weather. Students are first asked for weather sayings that they know, and those are related to their original uses for farmers and sailors. Students are encouraged to discover the common characteristics of the sayings, for example, rhyme to help memory, and references to natural science such as the sky, animals, insects, and plants.  How does the Groundhog do as a weather forecaster?  This and other sayings will be analyzed from our current understanding of weather events.

NGSS Standards: 3-ESS2-13-ESS2-25-ESS2-1MS-ESS2-5, and MS-ESS2-6

Living in a Greenhouse: An Introduction to Climate and Atmosphere (Grades 4-8)

In order to understand how our climate is changing today, we should begin by understanding how the atmosphere controls our global temperature. Not just on Earth, but also on Mars and Venus! As the Earth’s atmosphere and tilted axis have changed over time, so has the Earth’s climate. How is the human-caused climate change different from the past episodes of climate change the Earth has already seen, such as the Ice Ages and the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum? This class will be the first in a two part series about Climate Change.

NGSS Standards: 5-ESS2-1MS-PS1-3MS-ESS2-5MS-ESS2-6MS-ESS3-5

How to Make a Forecast (Grades 3-5)

What tools and skills do meteorologists need to make a forecast? Learn the tools of the trade of observation, instrumentation, satellites, and radar. The basics of making a weather forecast are illustrated.  This class can be adapted to the lower grades, with differences based on their developmental level.

NGSS Standards: 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2, and 5-ESS2-1    

Environmental Science

Insects and Imposters (Grades K-3)

Have your students ever wondered what it would be like to be an entomologist? Entomologists are scientists that study the life and behavior of insects. In this class we will discuss how to distinguish between insects and their imposters by learning about what all insects have in common. Students will use some of the tools that these scientists use to take a closer look at a wide variety of critters. Decomposition, metamorphosis, and pollination are just a few of the fun topics we might explore. 

NGSS: 2-LS4-1 and K-LS1-1

Locomotion Commotion (Grades K-3)

Why can't humans jump as far as a kangaroo or fly as fast as a peregrine falcon? We have the ability to swim and climb, but when it comes to moving around our world, there are some impressive skills that only non-human animals possess. This class will include fun movement activities and challenges, as we explore the different ways animals move in order to survive.

NGSS Standards:  1-LS1-1 and 2-LS4-1

Tracks in the Snow (Grades K-3)

Where do animals go in the wintertime and how do they stay warm?  From hibernation, to migration, to special adaptations, this class will explore the different ways creatures in Vermont tackle the cold winter months. Students will also take a close look at animal footprints and use track stamps to create an exciting and mysterious winter scene.

NGSS Standards: 3-LS4-3 and K-LS1-1

Animal Homes (Grades K-6)

Do all animals make their own homes, or do they find homes already constructed? Students will begin this exploration in the gallery looking for different types of animal homes and then progress to hands-on activities.

NGSS Standards:  2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1, 5-LS2-1, and MS-LS2-3

Insects and Imposters (Grades K-3)

Have your students ever wondered what it would be like to be an entomologist? Entomologists are scientists that study the life and behavior of insects. In this class we will discuss how to distinguish between insects and their imposters by learning about what all insects have in common. Students will use some of the tools that these scientists use to take a closer look at a wide variety of critters. Decomposition, metamorphosis, and pollination are just a few of the fun topics we might explore. 
NGSS Standards: 2-LS4-1 and K-LS1-1

Flowers (Grades K-6)

Using games, story-telling and movement, students are introduced to flowers and their cycle of growth, pollination and seed production.

NGSS Standards: 1-LS1-1, 1-LS3-1, 3-LS1-1, 4-LS1-1, 5-LS1-1, and MS-LS1-4

"And the Mountains Should Crumble to the Sea" (Grades 2-8)

What did our Vermont mountains look like when they had just emerged?  Why do our driveways and back roads seem to "disappear" every spring?  How do canyons form, and why is there so much sand on the coasts and the bottom of the ocean?  In this class, we will explore all of the glacially slow or catastrophically fast ways in which water and erosion shape our world.

NGSS Standards: 2-ESS1-1, 2-ESS2-1, 4-ESS1-1, 4-ESS2-1, 5-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-1, MS-ESS2-2, MS-ESS2-4, and MS-ESS3-1

All About Owls (Grades 3-6)

Owls are fascinating animals that have many amazing features to help them survive in the wild. In this program, students will practice life science skills by examining various owl specimens and dissecting their own owl pellets! 

NGSS Standards: 4-LS1-1 and 3-LS4-2

VerMonsters (Grades 3-8)

Vermont is one of the oldest states in America and as such, has many old and strange legends about monsters roaming the wilds. For hundreds of years Vermonters have claimed to see these cryptids roaming the woods or hiding in the water. In this class students will have the opportunity to learn about these legends and apply modern science to determine whether these monsters are real or just a myth.

NGSS Standards:  3-LS4-3 and 3-LS3-2

Field Explorations

Forest Life (Grades 1-6)

Students explore the forest habitat and the differences that occur across the seasons. They look for diversity among plant and animal life, the cycles of life and death in the forest habitat, and evidence of the history of land use in the forest.​

NGSS Standards: 3-LS4-43-LS1-13-LS3-25-LS2-1MS-LS1-6MS-LS2-1MS-LS2-3, and MS-LS2-4

Meadow Life (Grades 1-6)

Students explore a meadow and are introduced to the creatures they may find in this habitat. They will collect and take a close look at various specimens to help understand the diversity among plant and animal life in the meadow.

Pond Life (Grades 1-6)

Available in Spring: Students explore a pond site and are introduced to the pond habitat, life cycles, and diversity based on the site being explored. They will collect specimens and describe the density of life they encounter in the pond. 

NGSS Standards: 3-LS4-43-LS1-13-LS3-25-LS2-1MS-LS1-6MS-LS2-1MS-LS2-3, and MS-LS2-4


Pre-K and Up

Animal BuddiesDraw the AnimalsDraw the Animals 2

Grades 3 and Up

Alphabets and Animals 1Alphabets and Animals 2 

Grades 5 and Up

BirdsBirds and MammalsMammalsEndangered and ExtinctFairbanks MuseumFairbanks Museum 2 

Closer Looks at Exhibits

Beautiful Butterfly DiversityAnimal Photo Scavenger Hunt