Would you like the SM&NC to come to you?

Our SM&NC in the Schools Outreach Programs are designed to provide in-class, hands-on programming for groups that cannot travel to the museum or that would like additional program experiences in-school. Have a goat, chinchilla, or lizard visit your classroom, travel 600 years in the past to discover Woodland Indian life, create a map of Connecticut, explore the three rock types, and more!

Grade Level

Search by grade level

Early Childhood and Preschool

Early Childhood and Preschool

Programs are available for children ages 2-5 in a preschool settings. For older Pre-K students, we can bring programs to your site with a variety of age-appropriate experiences. Programs can be tailored to meet your site and curriculum needs or an SM&NC educator can become your nature and science specialist with weekly, bimonthly, or monthly visits.

  • Maximum group size 25 children, groups fewer than 20 recommended

  • Program length 20-45 minutes, depending on age and topic

  • Programs are customized for ages 18 months-3 years

Science & Nature Programs

Plants for Sprouts
Take a journey through the life of a plant from seed to adult through observation and touch. We'll explore what a plant needs to grow and the jobs of different plant parts through song and 'building' our own plant! Students will plant seeds for in-classroom study or to take home.

What's Your Job?
Discover the different jobs animals have in their habitat. Meet an animal who is a recycler, one that eats plants, an insect-eater, meat-eater, and one who dines on both plants and animals! We'll also see what the teeth of some of these animals look like.

Nature at Night
A whole new world comes alive when the sun sets! Meet nocturnal animals and see what tools help them to be part of the night crew. See how the moon changes and find some of the most common constellation 'pictures' in the sky. This program is available in-school only.

Live Animal Programs

Meet the Animals
Get up close and personal with our wide variety of teaching animals! From furry chinchillas to slithering snakes to boneless beasts, we'll introduce students to the wonderful world of animals and to the amazing diversity in the animal kingdom.

Nocturnal Animals
Discover the world of night-time animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the "night crew."

Colors in Nature
Explore the many colors of nature's animals.Learn the reasons why animals have different colors on their bodies. Meet animals who use their colors to warn other animals, an animal that changes color depending on its mood, and animals that use their colors to attract other members of their species.

Dinosaur Discovery
Dig into the world of dinosaurs and their modern-day relatives. Discover what we think we know about the dinosaurs that walked here in Connecticut region through observing real fossils. Meet some live lizards to learn what they share in common with their prehistoric relatives and discover that our feathered friends share some history with the T-Rex and other dinosaurs.

What's Your Cover
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how the differences among our five groups of animals with bones, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and mammals. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.

Living and Non-Living
Using our senses and real-life specimens, we'll discover the characteristics of living and non-living things and the role that each plays in a habitat. We'll explore the importance of non-living factors such as soil, rocks and weather in an ecosystem and how those are interconnected to living things. Meet some live animals and plants to learn about different roles that decomposers, producers and consumers play in a food chain.

Farm-Based Programs

Farm Fun
Discover many of the animals that live on a farm and the everyday products that local farmers produce for us. Through live animals, real farm products, tools, pictures, and activities, students will begin to make the connection between farm and food. This program will include a visit from 2-3 small farm animals depending on season and availability. This program is great for those groups who are not able to visit our farm! 

Seasonal Programs

Pumpkins & Squash (October - November)
One of our favorite parts about fall is the variety of fall squashes and the arrival of our first local pumpkins! Explore the different sizes, textures, colors, and weights of squash through a hands-on lab and then work together to find out what is inside! We'll also meet our live animal friends Pumpkin the box turtle and Squash the Hissing Cockroach, learn the animals that love to eat squash, and share a story on a pumpkin's life cycle.

Animals in Winter (November - February)
Discover how animals from furry to feathery, prepare of the changing seasons. Using live animals, mounted specimens, artifacts, and puppets, student will discover the ways that our local animals survive the winter, uncover why some animals migrate and investigate those that sleep for all of part of the winter.

Life Cycles (March - June)
Journey through the life cycle of local animals as we learn about the changes they go through from beginning to end. Students will investigate insects and amphibians from egg to adult and compare the lives of animals, such as mammals and reptiles, which do not go through metamorphosis. Program will include discussion on insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and will feature live animals in various life cycle stages whenever possible.

Social Studies Programs

Life of Woodland Indians
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. Through authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten

Add hands-on and live components to your kindergarten classroom or take a field trip your students will never forget! Make apple cider, explore Heckscher Farm, get introduced to the night sky, and more! Or we can visit you with opportunities to learn about animal classification, life cycles of plants and animals, and what is found on Connecticut farms.

  • Maximum group size is 25 children, except where noted

Science & Nature Programs

Plants for Sprouts
Discover the great green world of plants in this hands-on program. Take a journey through the life of a plant from seed to adult through observing and touching real plant parts. We'll explore what a plant needs to grow and the jobs of different plant parts through song and 'building' our own plant! Students will also get to plant seeds for in-classroom study or to take home.
NGSS Standards: K-PS-3-1, K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2
CT Science Standards: K.2

Weather Wise
Explore the science of weather through a hands-on, multi-station lab. Students will be introduced to simple weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers and what they measure, travel through the water cycle, and explore weather across seasons.
NGSS Standards: K-PS-3-1, K-ESS2-1, K-ESS3-2
CT Science Standards: K.3
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO K.4

Nature at Night
There is a whole world that comes alive when the sun sets! Meet some nocturnal animals and see what tools help them to be part of the night crew. We'll also discover some of the most common sights in the night sky-the moon and stars. We'll see how the moon changes and some of the most common constellation 'pictures' in the sky. This program is available in-school only.
NGSS Standards: K-PS-3-1, K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2
CT Science Standards: K.1

Live Animal Programs

Meet the Animals (maximum 60)
Get up close and personal with our wide variety of teaching animal! From furry chinchillas to slither snakes to boneless beasts, we'll introduce students to the wonderful world of animals and to the amazing diversity in the animal kingdom.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.2

Animal Adaptations (maximum 45)
An introduction to ecological principles using live animals, mounted specimens, and other materials to illustrate the special adaptations, such as hibernation, camouflage, and body structure, that help animals to survive in their environment.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.2

Nocturnal Animals (maximum 60)
Discover the world of nighttime animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the "night crew."
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.1, K.2

Dinosaur Discovery (maximum 60)
Dig into the world of dinosaurs and their modern-day relatives. Discover what we think we know about dinosaurs that walked here in Connecticut and in the region through observing real fossils. Meet some live lizards to learn what they share in common with their prehistoric relatives and discover that our feathered friends share some history with the T-Rex and other dinosaurs.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.1, K.2

Living and Non-Living
Using our senses and real-life specimens, we'll discover the characteristics of living and non-living things and the role that each plays in a habitat. We'll explore the importance of non-living factors such as soil, rocks and weather in an ecosystem and how those are interconnected to living things. Meet some live animals and plants to learn about different roles that decomposers, producers and consumers play in a food chain.
NGSS Standards: K-PS-3-1, K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.2.a

Animal Classification
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how scientists group our vertebrate animals and what characteristics, including body coverings and life cycles, separate mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds from each other. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.1.a, K.2.a

Farm-Based Programs

Farm Fun
Students will discover many of the animals that live on a farm and the everyday products that local farmers produce for us. Through live animals, real farm products, tools, pictures, and activities, students will begin to make the connection between farm and food. This program will include a visit from 2-3 small farm animals, such as a goat, chicken, duck, or rabbit, depending on season and availability. This program is great for those groups who are not able to visit our farm! This program is available in-school only.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS-3-3
CT Science Standards: K.2
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO K.4

Seasonal Programs

Animals in Winter (November - February)
Discover how animals from furry to feathery, prepare of the changing seasons. Using live animals, mounted specimens, artifacts, and puppets, student will discover the ways that our local animals survive the winter, uncover why some animals migrate and investigate those that sleep for all of part of the winter.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.3

Life Cycles (March - June)
Journey through the life cycle of local animals as we learn about the changes they go through from beginning to end. Students will investigate insects and amphibians from egg to adult and compare the lives of animals, such as mammals and reptiles, which do not go through metamorphosis. Program will include discussion on insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and will feature live animals in various life cycle stages whenever possible.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.2

Barnyard Birds (April - June)
Discover our farm fowl and what makes them important parts of farm life. Learn about the different types of feathers that birds have and about life inside of an egg. Explore the similarities and differences in beaks, feet and other adaptations through artifacts, pictures, and live birds. Simulate eating like a chicken or duck with our hands-on Barnyard Beaks: lab that will help students match beaks with the type of food eaten.
NGSS Standards: K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: K.2

Social Studies Programs

Life of Woodland Indians
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. hrough authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.
CT Social Studies Standards: HIST K.1, HIST K.3, ECO K.1, GEO K.4

1st Grade

1st Grade

First graders get to explore the world of plants and animals, the expansive sky, and investigate how living things grow!

  • Maximum group size is 25 children, except where noted

  • Program times are 60 minutes (75 minutes for Insects)

Science & Nature Programs

Plants for Sprouts
Discover the great green world of plants in this hands-on program. Take a journey through the life of a plant from seed to adult through observing and touching real plant parts. We'll explore what a plant needs to grow and the jobs of different plant parts through song and 'building' our own plant! Students will also get to plant seeds for in-classroom study or to take home.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1, 1-ESS1-2
CT Science Standards: 1.2, 1.3

Science of Soil
Investigate the world beneath your feet! Students will explore the living and non-living components of the soil community and the vital importance of this resource. They will learn about the physical properties of soil, the animals and plants that call it home, and the need for healthy soil for sustainable food sources. Through a soil sample lab, hands-on decomposer study, games, and live animals, students will get all the "dirt" on soil.
CT Social Studies Standards: 1.4

Weather Wise
Explore the science of weather through a hands-on, multi-station lab. Students will be introduced to simple weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers and what they measure, travel through the water cycle, and explore weather across seasons.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-ESS1-2
CT Science Standards: 1.4
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 1.4

Live Animal Programs

Meet the Animals (maximum 60)
Get up close and personal with our wide variety of teaching animal! From furry chinchillas to slither snakes to boneless beasts, we'll introduce students to the wonderful world of animals and to the amazing diversity in the animal kingdom.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.2, 1.3

Animal Adaptations (maximum 45)
An introduction to ecological principles using live animals, mounted specimens, and other materials to illustrate the special adaptations, such as hibernation, camouflage, and body structure, that help animals to survive in their environment.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.2, 1.3

Nocturnal Animals (maximum 60)
Discover the world of nighttime animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the "night crew."
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.2, 1.3

Dinosaur Discovery (maximum 60)
Dig into the world of dinosaurs and their modern-day relatives. Discover what we think we know about dinosaurs that walked here in Connecticut and in the region through observing real fossils. Meet some live lizards to learn what they share in common with their prehistoric relatives and discover that our feathered friends share some history with the T-Rex and other dinosaurs.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.2, 1.3

Living and Non-Living
Using our senses and real-life specimens, we'll discover the characteristics of living and non-living things and the role that each plays in a habitat. We'll explore the importance of non-living factors such as soil, rocks and weather in an ecosystem and how those are interconnected to living things. Meet some live animals and plants to learn about different roles that decomposers, producers and consumers play in a food chain.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.2.a, 1.2.b

Animal Classification
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how scientists group our vertebrate animals and what characteristics, including body coverings and life cycles, separate mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds from each other. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.2.a, 1.3.a

Farm-Based Programs

Farm Fun
Students will discover many of the animals that live on a farm and the everyday products that local farmers produce for us. Through live animals, real farm products, tools, pictures, and activities, students will begin to make the connection between farm and food. This program will include a visit from 2-3 small farm animals, such as a goat, chicken, duck, or rabbit, depending on season and availability. This program is great for those groups who are not able to visit our farm! This program is available in-school only.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Social Studies Standards: ECO 1.3, GEO 1.4

Seasonal Programs

Animals in Winter (November - February)
Discover how animals from furry to feathery, prepare of the changing seasons. Using live animals, mounted specimens, artifacts, and puppets, student will discover the ways that our local animals survive the winter, uncover why some animals migrate and investigate those that sleep for all of part of the winter.
CT Science Standards: 1.2

Life Cycles (March - June)
Journey through the life cycle of local animals as we learn about the changes they go through from beginning to end. Students will investigate insects and amphibians from egg to adult and compare the lives of animals, such as mammals and reptiles, which do not go through metamorphosis. Program will include discussion on insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and will feature live animals in various life cycle stages whenever possible.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.3

Barnyard Birds (April - June)
Discover our farm fowl and what makes them important parts of farm life. Learn about the different types of feathers that birds have and about life inside of an egg. Explore the similarities and differences in beaks, feet and other adaptations through artifacts, pictures, and live birds. Simulate eating like a chicken or duck with our hands-on Barnyard Beaks: lab that will help students match beaks with the type of food eaten.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.3

Insects & Invertebrates (April - June)
Discover the life cycles, adaptations, and ecology of our boneless beasts through a hands-on lab and outdoor field experience, both using science journaling. Students will explore insect life cycles and different body structures of insects and invertebrates through a multi-station lab featuring live animals, artifacts, and pictures. Then, we'll head into the woods to collect forest invertebrates to compare and contrast to aquatic invertebrates through observation and journaling. For in-school programs, we'll bring the insect specimens to you! 75 minutes.
NGSS Science Standards: 1-LS2-1, 1-LS3-1
CT Science Standards: 1.2, 1.3

Social Studies Programs

Life of Woodland Indians
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. Through authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.
CT Social Studies Standards: HIST 1.1, HIST 1.3, ECO 1.1, GEO 1.4

2nd Grade

2nd Grade

Second graders can delve into the world of plants with our large variety of botany-based programs in our Roots, Fruits, Leaves, and STEM series. They can also explore the states of matter, learn how to make maple syrup, see the diversity of life in the animal kingdom, and discover the features of Connecticut.

  • Maximum group size is 25 children, except where noted
  • Program times are 60 minutes (75 minutes for Insects)

Science & Nature Programs

Roots, Shoots, Leaves, and STEM Series
Bring the world of plants to life through our hands-on education programs! Choose an existing program or create a program series that provides an unparalleled journey into the many facets of the plant life cycles. We can customize programs for your school garden and outdoor space too!

What's up with Plants?
Through hands-on activities, including take-home plantings, students will examine the life cycle and importance of plants, including basic needs and adaptations. Using real-life specimens, different mechanisms for seed dispersal will be examined and students will discover the different parts of plants, from roots to fruits, and the role that each plays in a plant's life.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS-2-1, 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1
CT Science Standards: 2.2

Science of Soil
Investigate the world beneath your feet! Students will explore the living and non-living components of the soil community and the vital importance of this resource. They will learn about the physical properties of soil, the animals and plants that call it home, and the need for healthy soil for sustainable food sources. Through a soil sample lab, hands-on decomposer study, games, and live animals, students will get all the "dirt" on soil.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-ESS-2-1
CT Science Standards: 2.3
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 1.4

Plants & Pollinators
Discover the important role of pollinators in a plant's life cycle! Through hands-on stations, students will explore the life cycles of common pollinators, discover other pollinators besides bees and butterflies, and explore the structures of different flowers which allow for pollination. We'll also have a chance to study the SM&NC honey bee hives, how we care for our bees, and do an 'open hive' demonstration (weather providing).
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS-2-1, 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1
CT Science Standards: 2.2

Growing & Sowing
Students will discover how to plan a garden plot through an interactive activity where they create their own garden plan, making choices on how to maximize what to grow based upon space requirements of each vegetable/fruit type. Students will use their decision and spatial reasoning skills to determine what can best grow in their mock garden spaces and calculate the potential yield of their gardens. For groups that have school yard gardens, we can then map those areas and sow some seeds for future planting outdoors.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS-2-1, 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1
CT Science Standards: 2.2

In the Garden
Students will work as a team to plant in school garden spaces. In small groups, each class will lend their planting skills to build the garden, using their measuring and mapping skills along the way. During the time, students will direct sow seeds and some plants into the garden, measuring for proper space along the way. We'll also take an in-depth look at the part of the plant life cycle with a seed dispersal lab and give students a challenge to build their own seed. Schools must provide and ready school garden spaces for planting.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS-2-1, 2-LS2-2, 2-LS4-1, K-2-ETS1-2
CT Science Standards: 2.2

Weather Wise
Explore the science of weather through a hands-on, multi-station lab. Students will be introduced to simple weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers and what they measure, travel through the water cycle, and explore weather across seasons.
CT Science Standards: 2.1

Waterworks
Students will explore what a watershed is and learn about the relationships between human activity and the health of the water, air, plants, and animals of a watershed. Students will first identify potential pollution sources and solutions through an interactive model. Then, in an inquiry-based lab, students will work in small groups to brainstorm pollution clean-up methods, record data, and report findings to their peers.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-ESS2-2, 2-ESS2-3
CT Science Standards: 2.3, 2.4
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 2.2

CT/NY Rocks & Minerals
Using specimens from the SM&NC collection, students will explore the three rock types, the conditions in which they form, and the history of their formations in our local area. Through a multi-station lab, students will investigate and learn to identify local rock specimens, explore how fossils forms, and discover how earth materials are used by people in their daily lives.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-ESS1-1
CT Science Standards: 2.1
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 2.3, GEO 2.6

What's it Matter (Matter 101)
Discover the world of solids, liquids, and gases in this hands-on workshop. We'll learn about the properties of each state of matter as we launch a film canister in the air, make solids 'disappear' and measure air. We'll even learn about materials that are 'in-between' states as we make our own slime and explore the properties of polymers.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-PS-1-1, 2-ESS2-3
CT Science Standards: 2.1

Live Animal Programs

Meet the Animals (maximum 60)
Get up close and personal with our wide variety of teaching animal! From furry chinchillas to slither snakes to boneless beasts, we'll introduce students to the wonderful world of animals and to the amazing diversity in the animal kingdom.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1

Animal Adaptations (maximum 45)
An introduction to ecological principles using live animals, mounted specimens, and other materials to illustrate the special adaptations, such as hibernation, camouflage, and body structure, that help animals to survive in their environment.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1

Nocturnal Animals (maximum 60)
Discover the world of nighttime animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the 'night crew."
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1

Dinosaur Discovery
Dig into the world of dinosaurs and their modern-day relatives. Discover what we think we know about dinosaurs that walked here in Connecticut and in the region through observing real fossils. Meet some live lizards to learn what they share in common with their prehistoric relatives and discover that our feathered friends share some history with the T-Rex and other dinosaurs.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1

Living and Non-Living
Using our senses and real-life specimens, we'll discover the characteristics of living and non-living things and the role that each plays in a habitat. We'll explore the importance of non-living factors such as soil, rocks and weather in an ecosystem and how those are interconnected to living things. Meet some live animals and plants to learn about different roles that decomposers, producers and consumers play in a food chain.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1

Animal Classification
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how scientists group our vertebrate animals and what characteristics, including body coverings and life cycles, separate mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds from each other. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1

Farm-Based Programs

Farm Fun
Students will discover many of the animals that live on a farm and the everyday products that local farmers produce for us. Through live animals, real farm products, tools, pictures, and activities, students will begin to make the connection between farm and food. This program will include a visit from 2-3 small farm animals, such as a goat, chicken, duck, or rabbit, depending on season and availability. This program is great for those groups who are not able to visit our farm! This program is available in-school only.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1
CT Science Standards: 2.2, 2.3, 2.4
CT Social Studies Standards: ECO 2.3

Seasonal Programs

Animals in Winter (November - February)
Discover how animals from furry to feathery, prepare of the changing seasons. Using live animals, mounted specimens, artifacts, and puppets, student will discover the ways that our local animals survive the winter, uncover why some animals migrate and investigate those that sleep for all of part of the winter.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1

Life Cycles (March - June 2018)
Journey through the life cycle of local animals as we learn about the changes they go through from beginning to end. Students will investigate insects and amphibians from egg to adult and compare the lives of animals, such as mammals and reptiles, which do not go through metamorphosis. Program will include discussion on insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and will feature live animals in various life cycle stages whenever possible.
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1
CT Science Standards: 2.2

Insects & Invertebrates (April - June 2018)
Discover the life cycles, adaptations, and ecology of our boneless beasts through a hands-on lab and outdoor field experience, both using science journaling. Students will explore insect life cycles and different body structures of insects and invertebrates through a multi-station lab featuring live animals, artifacts, and pictures. Then, we'll head into the woods to collect forest invertebrates to compare and contrast to aquatic invertebrates through observation and journaling. For in-school programs, we'll bring the insect specimens to you!
NGSS Science Standards: 2-LS4-1, K-2-ETS1-2

Social Studies Programs

Geography of Connecticut
Through an interactive map-making experience, students will develop an awareness of the geography of Connecticut and explore the relationship between humans and the features of the natural environment. As we create our map, students will discover major natural and man-made features of Connecticut and how these natural resources shape the lives of inhabitants from early settlers to today.
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 2.1, GEO 2.3, GEO 2.6
 
Life of Woodland Indians
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. Through authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.
CT Science Standards: 2.4
CT Social Studies Standards: HIST 2.2, HIST 2.4, ECO 2.1, GEO 2.4, GEO 2.6
3rd Grade

3rd Grade

Third graders can investigate rock types, practice mapping skills, explore how plants and animals adapt to their world ecosystems without leaving Connecticut, and more!

  • Maximum group size is 25 children, except where noted
  • Program times are 60 minutes (75 minutes for Insects)

Science & Nature Programs

Weather Wise
Explore the science of weather through a hands-on, multi-station lab. Students will be introduced to weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers and what they measure, travel through the water cycle, and explore the differences between weather and climate.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-ESS2-1, 3-ESS2-2
CT Science Standards: 3.1
 
Waterworks
Students will explore what a watershed is and learn about the relationships between human activity and the health of the water, air, plants, and animals of a watershed. Students will first identify potential pollution sources and solutions through an interactive model. Then, in an inquiry-based lab, students will work in small groups to brainstorm pollution clean-up methods, record data, and report findings to their peers.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS4-4
CT Science Standards: 3.2, 3.4
 
CT/NY Rocks & Minerals
Using specimens from the SM&NC collection, students will explore the three rock types, the conditions in which they form, and the history of their formations in our local area. Through a multi-station lab, students will investigate and learn to identify local rock specimens, explore how fossils forms, and discover how earth materials are used by people in their daily lives.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS4-1
CT Science Standards: 3.1, 3.3
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 3.2, GEO 3.8
 
What's up with Plants?
Through hands-on activities, including take-home plantings, students will examine the life cycle and importance of plants, including basic needs and adaptations. Using real-life specimens, different mechanisms for seed dispersal will be examined and students will discover the different parts of plants, from roots to fruits, and the role that each plays in a plant's life.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS1
CT Science Standards: 3.2
 
Science of Soil
Investigate the world beneath your feet! Students will explore the living and non-living components of the soil community and the vital importance of this resource. They will learn about the physical properties of soil, the animals and plants that call it home, and the need for healthy soil for sustainable food sources. Through a soil sample lab, hands-on decomposer study, games, and live animals, students will get all the "dirt" on soil.
CT Science Standards: 3.3
 
Mind over Matter (Matter 102)
Extend your studies of the properties of matter with an exploration of the physical and chemical properties of the different states of matter and how matter can change from one state to another. Through a game and more great hands-on activities, students will further their study of matter. This class is designed for students who have taken What's it Matter (see 2nd grade) but can also stand on its own.
CT Science Standards: 3.1

Live Animal Programs

Animal Adaptations (maximum 45)
An introduction to ecological principles using live animals, mounted specimens, and other materials to illustrate the special adaptations, such as hibernation, camouflage, and body structure, that help animals to survive in their environment.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
CT Science Standards: 3.2
 
Nocturnal Animals (maximum 60)
Discover the world of nighttime animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the "night crew."
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
CT Science Standards: 3.2
 
Dinosaur Discovery
Dig into the world of dinosaurs and their modern-day relatives. Discover what we think we know about dinosaurs that walked here in Connecticut and in the region through observing real fossils. Meet some live lizards to learn what they share in common with their prehistoric relatives and discover that our feathered friends share some history with the T-Rex and other dinosaurs.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
 
Living and Non-Living
Using our senses and real-life specimens, we'll discover the characteristics of living and non-living things and the role that each plays in a habitat. We'll explore the importance of non-living factors such as soil, rocks and weather in an ecosystem and how those are interconnected to living things. Meet some live animals and plants to learn about different roles that decomposers, producers and consumers play in a food chain.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
 
Animal Classification
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how scientists group our vertebrate animals and what characteristics, including body coverings and life cycles, separate mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds from each other. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3
 
Ecosystems Everywhere
Explore the biotic and abiotic factors that help plants and animals survive in their specific ecosystem. After an introduction to the different types of ecosystems and their non-living components, students will participate in a multi-station, inquiry-based lab to observe live plant and animal specimens, as well as relevant artifacts, to infer how their adaptations help them to play a role in their ecosystem.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS3-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3, 3-ESS2-2
CT Science Standards: 3.2

Farm-Based Programs

Farm Fun
Students will discover many of the animals that live on a farm and the everyday products that local farmers produce for us. Through live animals, real farm products, tools, pictures, and activities, students will begin to make the connection between farm and food. This program will include a visit from 2-3 small farm animals, such as a goat, chicken, duck, or rabbit, depending on season and availability. This program is great for those groups who are not able to visit our farm! This program is available in-school only.

Seasonal Programs

Animals in Winter (November - February)
Discover how animals from furry to feathery, prepare of the changing seasons. Using live animals, mounted specimens, artifacts, and puppets, student will discover the ways that our local animals survive the winter, uncover why some animals migrate and investigate those that sleep for all of part of the winter.
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS1
CT Science Standards: 3.2
 
Insects & Invertebrates (April - June)
Discover the life cycles, adaptations, and ecology of our boneless beasts through a hands-on lab and outdoor field experience, both using science journaling. Students will explore insect life cycles and different body structures of insects and invertebrates through a multi-station lab featuring live animals, artifacts, and pictures. Then, we'll head into the woods to collect forest invertebrates to compare and contrast to aquatic invertebrates through observation and journaling. For in-school programs, we'll bring the insect specimens to you!
NGSS Science Standards: 3-LS-1, 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-2, 3-LS4-3

Social Studies Programs

Geography of Connecticut
Through an interactive map-making experience, students will develop an awareness of the geography of Connecticut and explore the relationship between humans and the features of the natural environment. As we create our map, students will discover major natural and man-made features of Connecticut, how settlement patterns were affected by these features, and how the local natural resources shaped their lives.
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 3.1, GEO 3.3, GEO 3.8
 
Life of Woodland Indians
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. Through authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.
CT Social Studies Standards: HIST 3.2, GEO 3.8
4th Grade

4th Grade

Fourth graders get to discover the importance of watersheds, learn how an animal's adaptations help them to survive, explore the science of soil, and travel back in time to study the lifestyle of the Woodland Indians.

  • Maximum group size is 25 children, except where noted
  • Program times are 60 minutes (75 minutes for Insects)

Science & Nature Programs

Weather Wise
Explore the science of weather through a hands-on, multi-station lab. Students will be introduced to weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers and what they measure, travel through the water cycle, and explore the differences between weather and climate.
CT Science Standards: 4.3
 
Waterworks
Students will explore what a watershed is and learn about the relationships between human activity and the health of the water, air, plants, and animals of a watershed. Students will first identify potential pollution sources and solutions through an interactive model. Then, in an inquiry-based lab, students will work in small groups to brainstorm pollution clean-up methods, record data, and report findings to their peers.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-ESS2-1, 4-ESS3-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2, 4.3
CT Social Studies Standards: ECO 4.3
 
CT/NY Rocks & Minerals
Using specimens from the SM&NC collection, students will explore the three rock types, the conditions in which they form, and the history of their formations in our local area. Through a multi-station lab, students will investigate and learn to identify local rock specimens, explore how fossils forms, and discover how earth materials are used by people in their daily lives.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-ESS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.3 GEO 4.2, GEO 4.7
 
What's up with Plants?
Through hands-on activities, including take-home plantings, students will examine the life cycle and importance of plants, including basic needs and adaptations. Using real-life specimens, different mechanisms for seed dispersal will be examined and students will discover the different parts of plants, from roots to fruits, and the role that each plays in a plant's life.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2
 
Science of Soil
Investigate the world beneath your feet! Students will explore the living and non-living components of the soil community and the vital importance of this resource. They will learn about the physical properties of soil, the animals and plants that call it home, and the need for healthy soil for sustainable food sources. Through a soil sample lab, hands-on decomposer study, games, and live animals, students will get all the "dirt" on soil.
 
Vertebrate Skulls & Bones
Discover the structure and function of the skeletons and skulls of common members of the five classes of vertebrates. In this lab-style class, students will observe similarities and differences among vertebrate skeletons and explore what we can infer about animals from their skull structure. We'll investigate the internal bone structures that allow these animals to survive in their habitats.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1

Live Animal Programs

Meet the Animals (maximum 60)
Get up close and personal with our wide variety of teaching animal! From furry chinchillas to slither snakes to boneless beasts, we'll introduce students to the wonderful world of animals and to the amazing diversity in the animal kingdom.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2
 
Animal Adaptations (maximum 45)
An introduction to ecological principles using live animals, mounted specimens, and other materials to illustrate the special adaptations, such as hibernation, camouflage, and body structure, that help animals to survive in their environment.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2
 
Nocturnal Animals
Discover the world of nighttime animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the "night crew."
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2
 
Endangered Species (maximum 60)
Discover the diversity of animal life on our planet and their necessities for survival. Then, explore the reasons why some of this diversity can disappear and learn what extinct, endangered, and threatened mean for a species. Meet live representatives of endangered, threatened, and protected species and discover how we can all be champions for animal diversity on our planet.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2
 
Slimy & Scaly (maximum 60)
We'll explore the world of reptiles and amphibians as we meet a variety of these creatures from all over the world. Discover the differences and similarities between the two groups, which animal orders belong in each class, and the adaptations that these animals have to survive in their respective habitats.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2
 
Rainforest Ecology (maximum 60)
Take a closer look at one of the most fascinating biomes on the planet without leaving our local area! We'll delve into the climate of this unique habitat and explore some of the adaptations needed for survival by meeting some live plants and animals from throughout the globe.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2
 
Living and Non-Living
Using our senses and real-life specimens, we'll discover the characteristics of living and non-living things and the role that each plays in a habitat. We'll explore the importance of non-living factors such as soil, rocks and weather in an ecosystem and how those are interconnected to living things. Meet some live animals and plants to learn about different roles that decomposers, producers and consumers play in a food chain.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1
CT Science Standards: 4.2.a
 
Animal Classification
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how scientists group our vertebrate animals and what characteristics, including body coverings and life cycles, separate mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds from each other. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1

Farm-Based Programs

Farm Fun
Students will discover many of the animals that live on a farm and the everyday products that local farmers produce for us. Through live animals, real farm products, tools, pictures, and activities, students will begin to make the connection between farm and food. This program will include a visit from 2-3 small farm animals, such as a goat, chicken, duck, or rabbit, depending on season and availability. This program is great for those groups who are not able to visit our farm! This program is available in-school only.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1

Seasonal Programs

Insects & Invertebrates (April - June 2018)
Discover the life cycles, adaptations, and ecology of our boneless beasts through a hands-on lab and outdoor field experience, both using science journaling. Students will explore insect life cycles and different body structures of insects and invertebrates through a multi-station lab featuring live animals, artifacts, and pictures. Then, we'll head into the woods to collect forest invertebrates to compare and contrast to aquatic invertebrates through observation and journaling. For in-school programs, we'll bring the insect specimens to you! This program is 75 minutes.
NGSS Science Standards: 4-LS1-1

Social Studies Programs

Geography of Connecticut
Through an interactive map-making experience, students will develop an awareness of the geography of Connecticut and explore the relationship between humans and the features of the natural environment. As we create our map, students will discover major natural and man-made features of Connecticut, how settlement patterns were affected by these features, and how the local natural resources shaped their lives.
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 4.1, GEO 4.7
 
Life of Woodland Indians
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. Through authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 4.7
5th Grade

5th Grade

Fifth graders can 'travel' through the solar system, discover the features of their home state, meet live animals up close and personally, and discover Native American land use.

  • Maximum group size is 25 children, except where noted
  • Program times are 60 minutes

Science & Nature Programs

Weather Wise
Explore the science of weather through a hands-on, multi-station lab. Students will be introduced to simple weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers and what they measure, travel through the water cycle, and explore the differences between weather and climate.
 
Waterworks
Students will explore what a watershed is and learn about the relationships between human activity and the health of the water, air, plants, and animals of a watershed. Students will first identify potential pollution sources and solutions through an interactive model. Then, in an inquiry-based lab, students will work in small groups to brainstorm pollution clean-up methods, record data, and report findings to their peers.
NGSS Science Standards: 5-ESS2-2
CT Science Standards: 5.4
 
CT/NY Rocks & Minerals
Using specimens from the SM&NC collection, students will explore the three rock types, the conditions in which they form, and the history of their formations in our local area. Through a multi-station lab, students will investigate and learn to identify local rock specimens, explore how fossils forms, and discover how earth materials are used by people in their daily lives.
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 5.1, GEO 5.3
 
What's up with Plants?
Through hands-on activities, including take-home plantings, students will examine the life cycle and importance of plants, including basic needs and adaptations. Using real-life specimens, different mechanisms for seed dispersal will be examined and students will discover the different parts of plants, from roots to fruits, and the role that each plays in a plant's life.
 
Science of Soil
Investigate the world beneath your feet! Students will explore the living and non-living components of the soil community and the vital importance of this resource. They will learn about the physical properties of soil, the animals and plants that call it home, and the need for healthy soil for sustainable food sources. Through a soil sample lab, hands-on decomposer study, games, and live animals, students will get all the "dirt" on soil.
NGSS Science Standard: 5-LS2-1
 
What's it Matter (Matter 101)
Discover the world of solids, liquids, and gases in this hands-on workshop. We'll learn about the properties of each state of matter as we launch a film canister in the air, make solids 'disappear' and measure air. We'll even learn about materials that are 'in-between' states as we make our own slime and explore the properties of polymers. NGSS Science Standards: 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-3
 
Mind over Matter (Matter 102)
Extend your studies of the properties of matter with an exploration of the physical and chemical properties of the different states of matter and how matter can change from one state to another. Through a game and more great hands-on activities, students will further their study of matter. This class is designed for students who have taken What's it Matter but can also stand on its own.
NGSS Science Standards: 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-3
 
Vertebrate Skulls & Bones
Discover the structure and function of the skeletons and skulls of common members of the five classes of vertebrates. In this lab-style class, students will observe similarities and differences among vertebrate skeletons and explore what we can infer about animals from their skull structure. We'll investigate the internal bone structures that allow these animals to survive in their habitats.

Live Animal Programs

Meet the Animals (maximum 60)
Get up close and personal with our wide variety of teaching animal! From furry chinchillas to slither snakes to boneless beasts, we'll introduce students to the wonderful world of animals and to the amazing diversity in the animal kingdom.
NGSS Science Standards: 5-LS2-1
 
Animal Adaptations (maximum 45)
An introduction to ecological principles using live animals, mounted specimens, and other materials to illustrate the special adaptations, such as hibernation, camouflage, and body structure, that help animals to survive in their environment.
 
Nocturnal Animals (maximum 60)
Discover the world of nighttime animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the "night crew."
 
Endangered Species (maximum 60)
Discover the diversity of animal life on our planet and their necessities for survival. Then, explore the reasons why some of this diversity can disappear and learn what extinct, endangered, and threatened mean for a species. Meet live representatives of endangered, threatened, and protected species and discover how we can all be champions for animal diversity on our planet.
 
Slimy & Scaly (maximum 60)
We'll explore the world of reptiles and amphibians as we meet a variety of these creatures from all over the world. Discover the differences and similarities between the two groups, which animal orders belong in each class, and the adaptations that these animals have to survive in their respective habitats.
 
Rainforest Ecology (maximum 60)
Take a closer look at one of the most fascinating biomes on the planet without leaving our local area! We'll delve into the climate of this unique habitat and explore some of the adaptations needed for survival by meeting some live plants and animals from throughout the globe.
NGSS Science Standards: 5-LS2-1

Social Studies Programs

Geography of Connecticut
Through an interactive map-making experience, students will develop an awareness of the geography of Connecticut and explore the relationship between humans and the features of the natural environment. As we create our map, students will discover major natural and man-made features of Connecticut, how settlement patterns were affected by these features, and how the local natural resources shaped their lives.
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 5.3
 
Life of Woodland Indians
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. Through authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.
CT Social Studies Standards: GEO 5.3
6th Grade & up

6th Grade and Up

We usually find that custom programs work best for older age groups, depending on group sizing and structure.

Please contact Lisa Monachelli at lmonachelli@stamfordmuseum.org to discuss a custom program for your group.

Program Type

Search by Program Type

Live Animal Programs

Live Animal Programs

Our live animal teachers, from goats to geckos and ferrets to frogs, bring your field trip or classroom alive! Programs meet a variety of curriculum topics but can also be a special event for your students!

Meet the Animals (PreK-5)
(schoolhouse icon) Get up close and personal with our wide variety of teaching animal! From furry chinchillas to slither snakes to boneless beasts, we'll introduce students to the wonderful world of animals and to the amazing diversity in the animal kingdom.

Nocturnal Animals (PreK-5)
Discover the world of nighttime animals and explore how their tools and behaviors help them to do their jobs under the cover of darkness. From excellent hearing to silent flight, we'll explore some of the best nocturnal adaptations and meet some live members of the "night crew."

Colors in Nature (PreK)
Explore the many colors of nature's animals as we learn the reasons why animals have different colors on their bodies. Meet animals who use their colors to warn other animals, an animal that changes color depending on its mood, and animals that use their colors to attract other members of their species.

What's Your Cover (PreK)
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how the differences among our five groups of animals with bones, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and mammals. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.

Dinosaur Discovery (PreK-3)
Dig into the world of dinosaurs and their modern-day relatives. Discover what we think we know about dinosaurs that walked here in Connecticut and in the region through observing real fossils. Meet some live lizards to learn what they share in common with their prehistoric relatives and discover that our feathered friends share some history with the T-Rex and other dinosaurs.

Living and Non-Living (PreK-4)
Using our senses and real-life specimens, we'll discover the characteristics of living and non-living things and the role that each plays in a habitat. We'll explore the importance of non-living factors such as soil, rocks and weather in an ecosystem and how those are interconnected to living things. Meet some live animals and plants to learn about different roles that decomposers, producers and consumers play in a food chain.

Animal Classification (K-4)
Using live animals and artifacts, students will discover how scientists group our vertebrate animals and what characteristics, including body coverings and life cycles, separate mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds from each other. Meeting live animals from most categories and hands-on activities will bring these characteristics to life.

Animal Adaptations (K-5) (maximum 45)
An introduction to ecological principles using live animals, mounted specimens, and other materials to illustrate the special adaptations, such as hibernation, camouflage, and body structure, that help animals to survive in their environment.

Endangered Species (4-5) (maximum 60)
Discover the diversity of animal life on our planet and their necessities for survival. Then, explore the reasons why some of this diversity can disappear and learn what extinct, endangered, and threatened mean for a species. Meet live representatives of endangered, threatened, and protected species and discover how we can all be champions for animal diversity on our planet.

Slimy & Scaly (4-5) (maximum 60)
We'll explore the world of reptiles and amphibians as we meet a variety of these creatures from all over the world. Discover the differences and similarities between the two groups, which animal orders belong in each class, and the adaptations that these animals have to survive in their respective habitats.

Rainforest Ecology (4-5) (maximum 60)
Take a closer look at one of the most fascinating biomes on the planet without leaving our local area! We'll delve into the climate of this unique habitat and explore some of the adaptations needed for survival by meeting some live plants and animals from throughout the globe.

Farm-based Programs

Farm-Based Programs

Farm Fun (PreK-2)
Students will discover many of the animals that live on a farm and the everyday products that local farmers produce for us. Through live animals, real farm products, tools, pictures, and activities, students will begin to make the connection between farm and food. This program will include a visit from 2-3 small farm animals, such as a goat, chicken, duck, or rabbit, depending on season and availability. This program is great for those groups who are not able to visit our farm!

Plant Ecology

Plant Ecology Programs

Our Roots, Fruits, Leaves, and STEM series allows for customization of plant-based classes both here at SM&NC and at your school. We can work with your schoolyard garden or planting spaces to customize programs.

Plants for Sprouts (PreK-1)
Discover the great green world of plants in this hands-on program. Take a journey through the life of a plant from seed to adult through observing and touching real plant parts. We'll explore what a plant needs to grow and the jobs of different plant parts through song and 'building' our own plant! Students will also get to plant seeds for in-classroom study or to take home.

Science of Soil (Grades 1-5)
Investigate the world beneath your feet! Students will explore the living and non-living components of the soil community and the vital importance of this resource. They will learn about the physical properties of soil, the animals and plants that call it home, and the need for healthy soil for sustainable food sources. Through a soil sample lab, hands-on decomposer study, games, and live animals, students will get all the "dirt" on soil.

What's up with Plants? (Grades 2-5)
Through hands-on activities, including take-home plantings, students will examine the life cycle and importance of plants, including basic needs and adaptations. Using real-life specimens, different mechanisms for seed dispersal will be examined and students will discover the different parts of plants, from roots to fruits, and the role that each plays in a plant's life.

Growing & Sowing
Students will discover how to plan a garden plot through an interactive activity where they create their own garden plan, making choices on how to maximize what to grow based upon space requirements of each vegetable/fruit type. Students will use their decision and spatial reasoning skills to determine what can best grow in their mock garden spaces and calculate the potential yield of their gardens. For groups that have school yard gardens, we can then map those areas and sow some seeds for future planting outdoors.
In the Garden (Grade 2)
Students will work as a team to plant in school garden spaces. In small groups, each class will lend their planting skills to build the garden, using their measuring and mapping skills along the way. During the time, students will direct sow seeds and some plants into the garden, measuring for proper space along the way. We'll also take an in-depth look at the part of the plant life cycle with a seed dispersal lab and give students a challenge to build their own seed. Schools must provide and ready school garden spaces for planting.

Natural & Physical Science
Natural & Physical Science

Delve into local geology, discover the importance of our local watersheds, explore how scientists study weather, get hands-on with the states of matter, and more! Almost all of our programs can also travel to you!

What's Your Job? (PreK)
Discover the different jobs animals have in their habitat. We'll meet an animal who is a recycler, someone that eats plants, an insect-eater, meat-eater, and someone who dines on both plants and animals! We'll also see what the teeth of some of these animals look like.

Nature at Night (PreK-K)
There is a whole world that comes alive when the sun sets! Meet some nocturnal animals and see what tools help them to be part of the night crew. We'll also discover some of the most common sights in the night sky-the moon and stars. We'll see how the moon changes and some of the most common constellation 'pictures' in the sky. This program is available in-school only.

Weather Wise (Grades K-5)
Explore the science of weather through a hands-on, multi-station lab. Students will be introduced to simple weather instruments, such as rain gauges and anemometers and what they measure, travel through the water cycle, and explore weather across seasons.

Waterworks (Grades 2-5)
Students will explore what a watershed is and learn about the relationships between human activity and the health of the water, air, plants, and animals of a watershed. Students will first identify potential pollution sources and solutions through an interactive model. Then, in an inquiry-based lab, students will work in small groups to brainstorm pollution clean-up methods, record data, and report findings to their peers.

CT/NY Rocks & Minerals (Grades 2-5)
Using specimens from the SM&NC collection, students will explore the three rock types, the conditions in which they form, and the history of their formations in our local area. Through a multi-station lab, students will investigate and learn to identify local rock specimens, explore how fossils forms, and discover how earth materials are used by people in their daily lives.

What's it Matter (Matter 101) (Grades 2-5)
Discover the world of solids, liquids, and gases in this hands-on workshop. We'll learn about the properties of each state of matter as we launch a film canister in the air, make solids 'disappear' and measure air. We'll even learn about materials that are 'in-between' states as we make our own slime and explore the properties of polymers.

Mind over Matter (Matter 102) (Grades 3-5)
Extend your studies of the properties of matter with an exploration of the physical and chemical properties of the different states of matter and how matter can change from one state to another. Through a game and more great hands-on activities, students will further their study of matter. This class is designed for students who have taken What's it Matter (see 2nd grade) but can also stand on its own.

Vertebrate Skulls & Bones (Grades 4-5)
Discover the structure and function of the skeletons and skulls of common members of the five classes of vertebrates. In this lab-style class, students will observe similarities and differences among vertebrate skeletons and explore what we can infer about animals from their skull structure. We'll investigate the internal bone structures that allow these animals to survive in their habitats.

Social Studies Programs

Social Studies Programs

We are not just known for our nature, farm, and science programs! Hundreds of students per year discover the geography of local regions, become cartographers, go back in time to the Woodland Indian period or to an early colonial farm. Geography, mapping, and Life of Woodland Indians programs travel to you; our other social studies offerings make rich use of our site and collections.
 
Geography of Connecticut (2-5)
Through an interactive map-making experience, students will develop an awareness of the geography of Connecticut and explore the relationship between humans and the features of the natural environment. As we create our map, students will discover major natural and man-made features of Connecticut and how these natural resources shape the lives of inhabitants from early settlers to today.
 
Life of Woodland Indians (K-5)
Learn how early Native Americans met their needs for homes, food, clothes, and medicine by using the resources of their environment. Through authentic artifacts and reproductions, and in a hands-on lab-style structure, students will discover how connections to the land where vital to the survival of early tribes.
Seasonal Programs

Seasonal Programs

It wouldn't be fall without a chance to press apples, and we treasure the winter tradition of collecting maple sap as it drips into our buckets. Spring brings chances to explore vernal pool ecology, the life cycle of animals, and the world of boneless beasts. Some of our most popular field trips are for our seasonal programming and our animals can travel to you to help explore seasonal happenings.
 
Pumpkins & Squash (PreK) (October - November)
One of our favorite parts about fall is the variety of fall squashes and the arrival of our first local pumpkins! Students will explore the different sizes, textures, colors, and weights of squash through a hands-on lab and then we'll work together to find out what is inside! We'll also meet our live animal friends Pumpkin the box turtle and Squash the Hissing Cockroach, learn the animals that love to eat squash, and share a story on a pumpkin's life cycle.
 
Animals in Winter (PreK-3) (November - February)
Discover how animals from furry to feathery, prepare of the changing seasons. Using live animals, mounted specimens, artifacts, and puppets, student will discover the ways that our local animals survive the winter, uncover why some animals migrate and investigate those that sleep for all of part of the winter.
 
Life Cycles (PreK-2) (March - June)
Journey through the life cycle of local animals as we learn about the changes they go through from beginning to end. Students will investigate insects and amphibians from egg to adult and compare the lives of animals, such as mammals and reptiles, which do not go through metamorphosis. Program will include discussion on insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals and will feature live animals in various life cycle stages whenever possible.
 
Barnyard Birds (PreK-2) (April - June)

Discover our farm fowl and what makes them important parts of farm life. Learn about the different types of feathers that birds have and about life inside of an egg. Explore the similarities and differences in beaks, feet and other adaptations through artifacts, pictures, and live birds. Simulate eating like a chicken or duck with our hands-on Barnyard Beaks: lab that will help students match beaks with the type of food eaten.

Insects & Invertebrates (Grades 1-4) (April - June)
Discover the life cycles, adaptations, and ecology of our boneless beasts through a hands-on lab and outdoor field experience, both using science journaling. Students will explore insect life cycles and different body structures of insects and invertebrates through a multi-station lab featuring live animals, artifacts, and pictures. Then, we'll head into the woods to collect forest invertebrates to compare and contrast to aquatic invertebrates through observation and journaling. For in-school programs, we'll bring the insect specimens to you! 

Meet Our Staff

All SM&NC school programs are taught by professional environmental educators, many of whom hold Master's Degrees. Our educators all have extensive experience teaching children about nature and the natural sciences in both indoor and outdoor settings. We look forward to meeting your group!

Lisa Monachelli, Director of Education

Lisa has been with the SM&NC since 2010. She holds Bachelor's Degrees in Biology and English/Creative Writing from WV Wesleyan College and a Master's Degree in Environmental Education from Southern CT State University. Before coming to SM&NC, she worked for CT DEP Divisions of State Parks and Education, Maine Audubon Society and the New Canaan Nature Center. In 2009, she was named the Outstanding Outdoor Educator for Connecticut by the CT Outdoor & Environmental Education Assoc. Her favorite part of sharing nature with children is to instill appreciation for "nature's underdogs" - those plants and animals often disliked. She is responsible for scheduling all programs, creating many of our public programs, teaching school and after school programs. She is also one of SM&NC's beekeepers.


Malinda Sears, Environmental Education Supervisor

Malinda joined the SM&NC in the fall of 2013. She holds a B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has worked for The Zoo in Forest Park and Education Center, as well as a Herpetological Collection Assistant at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Malinda loves to spend her time outside hiking, camping and sharing the wonders of the natural world with her daughter. At the SM&NC she teaches our nature and farm-based school and after school programs, and coordinates the daily care and well-being of our teaching animals and their exhibits.


Victoria Jaffrey, Manager of Heckscher Farm Administration

Victoria has been with the SM&NC since 2007. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science from the University of Rhode Island. Before coming to the SM&NC, she worked at the Bronx Zoo, the CT Humane Society and various horse farms in the area. As Co-Manager of Heckscher Farm, Victoria is responsible for the overall care of our animals, managing farm staff and volunteers and working with our oxen team and working goats. She teaches many of our farm classes, including Otterly Amazing and Hands-on Heckscher.


Mark Mogensen, Manager of Heckscher Farm Operations

Mark has been with the SM&NC since 2008. He Holds a B.A. in Natural Resource Management and Engineering with a concentration in Wildlife Management from the University of Connecticut. Before the SM&NC, he worked for the State of CT Department of Environmental Protection for three years. Mark has a true passion for everything outdoors with an affinity for wildlife and landscape photography. As Co-Manager of Heckscher Farm, Mark is responsible for the daily operation and the maintenance of all farm grounds and buildings. Mark also teaches many classes on the farm including Hands-on Heckscher and the Junior Curator Program. Mark can often be found outdoors on the grounds tending to the farm.


Daniel Brubaker, Farm and Environmental Educator

Daniel has been at the SM&NC since 2013. He holds Bachelor's Degrees in Biology and Environmental Science from Eastern Mennonite University and a Master's Degree in Natural Resources from the University of New Hampshire. Prior to joining the SM&NC team, he has worked as a park naturalist at the Lancaster County Environmental Center and has studied spotted owls in California, coyotes in Yellowstone, leopards in South Africa, and lynx in Ontario. Daniel works with daily care of our farm animals, is one of our oxen teamsters, and also teaches many of our farm and nature-based school and after school programs. He is also one of SM&NC's beekeepers.


Pat Standaert, Environmental Educator

Pat is a long-time, dedicated member of the environmental education staff at SM&NC and has served in many capacities during her 30-plus year tenure, including Science Curator and Assistant Director of Education. She holds a B.S. in Biology from College of St. Elizabeth and has taken numerous graduate-level courses in science and Native American studies. Before coming to SM&NC, she taught general science and biology on the elementary, high school and college levels. She served as SM&NC's 'weather-guru' until 2012, has written numerous articles and created many exhibits for the museum. She teaches our Early American Life, Apple Cidering, physical science and planetarium programs, as well as serving as an educator for our half-day summer camp.


Devan Shulby, Environmental Educator

Devan joined the SM&NC education team in 2016. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Science from the University of Tampa. Devan has a variety of teaching experience from different organizations. She has worked with an assortment of different animals from Great White Sharks in South Africa to seahorses in Florida. In her free time, she enjoys boating, hiking with her dog, horseback riding and spending time with family and friends. Devan teaches many of our natural science programs and also helps to staff our Heckscher WILD! exhibit.


Andrea Wagner, Environmental Educator

Andrea has been with the SM&NC since 2016. She holds a B.S. in Marine Science from Stony Brook University. Previously, Andrea has interned at Mystic Aquarium aiding in animal care and exhibit diving. She has worked as a Science Educator at The Maritime Aquarium and at Project Oceanology on their two research vessels. Andrea loves to explore and observe all of nature whether in the middle of the woods or 100ft below the ocean's surface. At SM&NC, she combines her love of the environment with her love of fostering curiosity of nature in children and the greater community.


Sydnee Foster, Environmental Educator

Sydnee joined SM&NC in the fall of 2016. She is a Central CT State University graduate with a B.S. in Biology. Before SM&NC, Sydnee worked at Roaring Brook Nature Center, where she was involved with the wildlife rehabilitation clinic, in addition to educating the public on the natural history of Connecticut and the surrounding areas. Sydnee is excited to work with the exotic animals in Heckscher WILD! and to share her knowledge through teaching natural sciences both on and off site.