Elementary Schoolyard Programs

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Grade K

Calling All Birds

Students will learn about the unique characteristics of birds. They will practice observing sound, color, shape, and movement to distinguish between different types of birds in their schoolyard.

Science Essential Standards Correlations: K.P.1.1, K.P.1.2, K.L.1.1, K.L.1.2

Goods from the Woods

Students will learn about the many environmental resources that come from our forests by working together to sort a variety of products.

Science Essential Standards Correlations: K.P.2.2

Grade 1

Soil Buddies

Students will explore how different soils enhance the growth of certain plants. They will learn the basic needs required for life, including air, water, nutrients, and light. Students will make their own “soil buddy,” with grass seed planted on the head to grow into “hair.” 

Science Essential Standards Correlations: 1.E.2.1, 1.E.2.2, 1.L.1.1, 1.L.1.3, 1.L.2.1

NC Treasures

Students will explore the rich variety of plants and animals North Carolina’s environment supports, from mountains to the coast. They will learn ways they can help plants and animals stay healthy in their own backyard.

Science Essential Standards Correlations: 1.L.1.1, 1.L.1.2, 1.L.1.3

Grade 2

Frog Tales

Students will learn about Gaston County native frogs, including where they live throughout their life cycle. They will practice distinguishing frogs by appearance and sound, and discuss what frogs can tell us about our environment. 

Science Essential Standards Correlations:  2.L.1.1, 2.L.1.2, 2.L.2.2

Grade 3

Dig Into Soil

Students will dig into the importance of soil, including the characteristics that allow it to support plant growth. Using a soil auger, they will work together to dig a soil profile on their school grounds and observe how soil texture (sand, silt, and clay) changes throughout the profile. They will consider soil as a natural resource, and learn about basic soil conservation. 

Science Essential Standards Correlations:  3.L.2.4

Earth’s Largest Plant

Students will investigate the growth and structure of Earth’s largest plant, a tree!  They will have the opportunity to study tree cookies and think about how the distance between the annual rings indicates the environmental conditions at that point in the tree’s life.

Science Essential Standards Correlations:  3.L.2.1, 3.L.2.2, 3.L.2.3

Grade 4

Macroinvertebrate Mayhem

Students will be introduced to aquatic macroinvertebrates, insects scientists study to understand water quality. Students will learn about the many physical and behavioral adaptations these insects have to survive, and learn how their populations may be affected by changes to their environment. Finally, they will think about how humans impact aquatic environments and what we can do to conserve these systems. 

Science Essential Standards Correlations:  4.L.1

Grade 5

The Incredible Journey

Students will experience a kinesthetic simulation of the water cycle, including how the sun’s energy drives evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, and runoff. They will understand how humans and life, in general, depend on this cycle, and how we may engage responsibly with it, especially in regards to water use and runoff.

Science Essential Standards Correlations:  5.P.2.1

Read the Clouds

Students will explore factors influencing weather conditions. They will learn how to use a compass to determine wind direction and collect data using a thermometer and an anemometer. Ultimately, they will predict the weather using wind direction and cloud charts.

Science Essential Standards Correlations:  5.E.1.1, 5.E.1.2

Owl Pellets

Students will explore the interconnected relationships of organisms within an ecosystem, including food chains and food webs. They will investigate predator-prey relationships through the dissection of owl pellets, and discuss how food chains may be different for different species of owls found in different NC ecosystems. 

Science Essential Standards Correlations:  5.L.2.2, 5.L.2.3