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Classes

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 (NGSS)

All of the classes we offer are available to you and your school with a variety of pricing plans.

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.

Astronomy

Weather & Climate

  • NEW: Weather Basics (PreK-2) NGSS K-ESS2-1, K-ESS3-3
  • How to make a weather forecast (Grades 3-5)  NGSS 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2, and 5-ESS2-1
  • Living in a Greenhouse (Grades 4-8) NGSS 5-ESS2-1MS-PS1-3MS-ESS2-5MS-ESS2-6MS-ESS3-5

Environmental Science

  • NEW: Pumpkins and squash and gourds, oh my! (Pre-K-2) NGSS K-LS1-1, 1-LS3-1, 2-LS4-1 Available only in Fall 
  • NEW: Magnificent Metamorphosis (PreK-2) NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, 2-LS2-2 Available only in Fall and Spring 
  • NEW: Seed Science (PreK-2) NGSS K-LS1-1, 2-LS2-2, K-ESS2-2, 1-LS3-1
  • NEW: Dynamic Dinosaurs (PreK-2) NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2,
  • NEW: Digging Back in Time (Grades 3-5) NGSS 3-LS3-2, 3LS4-1, 3-LS4-4, 4-LS1-1, 4-ESS1-1
  • NEW: You Are What You Eat (Grades 1-5) NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, 5-PS3-1, 5-LS2-1
  • NEW: The Truth About Bats (Grades 3- 5) NGSS 3-LS2-1, 3-LS3-2, 4-LS1-2
  • Tracks in the Snow (Grades K-3) NGSS 3-LS4-3 and K-LS1-1 Available only in winter
  • Insects and Imposters (Grades K-3) NGSS: 2-LS4-1 and K-LS1-1
  • Creature Features (Grades 2-8) NGSS LS1.A, 2-LS4-1, LS4.C, and LS1.C
  • All about Owls (Grades 3-6) NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 3-LS4-2
  • Fantastic Flowers (Grades 3-6) NGSS 1-LS1-1, 1-LS3-1, 3-LS1-1, 4-LS1-1, 5-LS1-1, and MS-LS1-4Available only in Spring
  • Animal Homes (Grades K-6) NGSS 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1, 5-LS2-1, and MS-LS2-3
  • Mountains Crumble to the Sea (Grades 3-8) NGSS 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

 Field Excursions

Astronomy

Constellations & Cultures (Grades K-2)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Weather & Climate

Weather Basics (PreK - 2)

Explore Vermont's seasonal changes with us as we pack a suitcase for each of the four seasons. Students will take a look at some different weather instruments, learn about how they are used to create a weather forecast, and make a craft that will help them think about the weather from home.

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.

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.    

Environmental Science

Pumpkins and Squash and Gourds, Oh My! (PreK - 2) 

Fall is a time of harvest! In this class we will explore pumpkins and their cousins in a variety of ways including weight, size, and number of seeds, using different science tools. We will also look at the parts of the fruit and their lifecycle. Be prepared to get messy with this hands-on exploration!

Magnificent Matamorphosis (PreK - 2)

Butterflies are probably the creatures that come to mind when you hear the word metamorphosis, but there are many other creatures that also go through this amazing process. In this class we will touch on a few of these special insects, learning not only about their metamorphosis, but about their anatomy and behavior, too. Students will look closely at butterfly and moth specimens under the microscope and act out and create their life cycles.

Seed Science (PreK - 2)

This class takes a deep dive into the fascinating world of seeds. From the magic of seed dispersal, to the amazing transformations they make after landing, we'll explore it all. Students will take a close look at some different seeds they might find in their own backyard, and take guesses as to what they turn into.

The Truth about Bats (Grades 3 - 5)

Bats have long fascinated, frightened, and inspired people. We will learn about the adaptations of bats through games and activities, and discover why these creatures of the night aren’t as scary as one may think.

You Are What You Eat (Grades 1 - 5)

Get caught up in the food web! This class will explore what animals eat and how they are interconnected within an ecosystem. We will discuss the differences between herbivores, omnivores, and carnivores by looking at their teeth and poop!

Dynamic Dinos (PreK - 2)

What was Earth like during the time of the dinosaurs? In this class, students will use their five senses to travel back in time and explore the prehistoric world. We will learn how they moved, how they ate, and how they interacted with one another to survive in their changing environments. 

Digging Back in Time (Grades 3 - 5)

Our world is constantly changing, and fossils are our key to understanding the past. We will uncover fossils, learn how to prepare them, and how to reconstruct creatures and their environments. Billions of years are ready to dig through, let’s get started!

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

Flowers (Grades K-6)

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

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.

"And the Mountains Should Crumble to the Sea" (Grades 3-8)

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.

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!

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.​

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.

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