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Classes

classes at the Fairbanks Museum

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

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

Be inspired! Here are the classes we're offering this fall. If you'd like to focus on a subject you don't see in this list, please let us know! 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.

Contact Karina Weiss, director of education, by email or call 802-748-2372 for more about learning with the Fairbanks Museum.

Astronomy

  • Bang Zoom to the Moon (Grades K-5)
  • Living in Space (Grades 3-8)
  • What’s up, Tonight’s skies (Grades K-8)
  • It Came From Above! (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 I & II (Grades 4-8)

Social Science

  • The First Vermonters (Grades K-8)

Environmental Science

  • Flowers (Grades K-6)
  • Animal Homes (Grades K-6)
  • Mountains Crumble to the Sea (Grades 2-8)
  • Werewolves, Vampires, and Zombies (Grades 2-8)
  • Human Habitat (Grades 2-8)
  • Creature Features (Grades 2-8) *New this year!*

 Field Excursions

  • Pond Life (Grades 1-6)
  • Forest Life (Grades 1-6)
  • Meadow Life (Grades 1-6)

Astronomy

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

Living in Space: Grades 3-8

Is it possible that humans might walk 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! 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: 3-LS4-33-LS4-45-ESS3-1MS-ESS2-2MS-LS2-1MS-LS2-4, and MS-LS4-5

What's Up, Tonight Skies: Grades K-8

Take a tour of your sky tonight from our Astronomy Deck. During live presentation, 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 autumn 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

It Came From Above!: Grades 3-8

Most of the Mass Extinctions endured by life on Earth have their origins in outer space. Would you like to know the many ways in which the Cosmos could destroy us?  Come learn about the meteors, comets, Gamma Ray Bursts, rogue planets, and even Red Giants that plot our destruction even now…. Can we do something about them? Is there hope for our planet, or are we all doomed?!

NGSS Standards: 3-LS4-33-LS4-4, 5-ESS1-25-ESS3-1MS-ESS1-1, and MS-ESS1-3

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 1: 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

Living in a Greenhouse 2: Combatting and Coping with Climate Change: Grades 4-8

Students should have already taken “Living in A Greenhouse, Part I” or be familiar with the concepts and principles that govern Earth’s atmosphere and climate. As we continue in this subject, this lesson will focus on the outcomes and possible solutions to climate change. It is highly encouraged that students spend some class time “brainstorming” ideas, social or technological solutions, that might help reverse or slow climate change. Students should prepare themselves for this lesson by watching this brief, highly recommended video produced by PBS: “Climate Science: What You Need To Know” http://amzn.to/1wqznCb    

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

Environmental Science

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

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

Have you ever wondered what our Vermont mountains looked like when they were new?  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

Werewolves, Vampires and Zombies: Grades 2-8

Using illustrations from culture and the natural world, students explore real diseases and parasites that have inspired myths and images from literature, film, and television.

NGSS Standards: 3-LS2-1, 5-LS2-1, MS-LS2-2, MS-LS2-3, and MS-LS4-6

The Human Habitat: Grades 2-8

Students are introduced to the human microbiome and the cells that make up our bodies. Using a skit with Legos as characters, a metaphorical pirate ship and its crew members are attacked by different pathogens, illustrating the processes of disease and health. After the skit, the class will view photos of actual cells in the human body.

NGSS Standards: MS-LS1-1, MS-LS1-2 and MS-LS1-3

Creature Features: Grades 2 - 8

Over time, animals have evolved special features to help them catch their prey, stay safe from predators, and care for their babies. Students will take a closer look at animal pelts, skulls and other bones to help explain how creatures have adapted to survive in a variety of different habitats.  They will collect specimens and discuss  

NGSS Standards: LS1.A, 2-LS4-1, LS4.C, and LS1.c

Social Science

The First Vermonters: a History of the Abenaki People: Grades K-8

The Abenaki people have lived in Vermont for thousands of years, and they are still here today. By focusing on the individual lives of seven famous Abenakis from different times, we’ll explore how their culture has survived the centuries and evolved to meet the challenges of a changing world.  We’ll also discover how the Abenaki Nation has shaped the present and future of all of Vermont’s people.

NGSS Standards: K-ESS3-1K-ESS3-33-LS4-45-ESS3-1MS-PS1-3, and MS-ESS3-4

Field Explorations

Pond Life: Grades 1-6

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

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.
 

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