Programs & Collections

Batiking Yellowstone: Using Art to Interpret Science
Yellowstone National Park is a unique and dynamic ever changing system that is fueled by a continental hot spot. Life in the region is dependent on the chemistry and heat generated by the hot spot. Students will interpret this nature beauty through...    View Details »

Key Concepts: art, geothermal,steam

Chromatography with Autumn Leaves
Students will learn about annual and perennial plants as well as the specific mechanism of leaf shedding and the reasons for leaf color change.    View Details »

Key Concepts: plants, photosynthesis, soil, water, scientific method

Cupcake Paleoecology
Scientists use lake sediment cores to interpret past environments. In this lesson, students will use cupcakes to understand the laws of superposition, learn how to date prehistoric organic things, and understand how scientists use lake cores to...    View Details »

Key Concepts: paleoecology, chronology, radiocarbon dating, tephrochronology

Designing the Perfect Plant
Introduce students to plant ecology and the ecological tradeoffs associated with different types of plants and plant attributes through a series of activities.    View Details »

Key Concepts: biodiversity, habitat,

DNA Extraction and Precipitation Lab
Students will gain an understanding of the structure and function of DNA. Students will be able to actually visualize DNA through the isolation of their own DNA from cheek cells.    View Details »

Key Concepts: molecular biology

Environmental Microbiology
This lesson introduces methods-based microbiology beyond what is generally taught in middle school science. Students will gain an understanding of the many microbes constantly surrounding us and will be able to differentiate between fungi and...    View Details »

Key Concepts: microbiology, ecology, scientific method

This lesson will introduce students to the physical environment by tying together hydrology, soils, geology, and ecology. Students will gain a better understanding of the forces sculpting the land.    View Details »

Key Concepts: soil, hydrology, ecology, geology

How Much Sugar is in Food?
Students will gain an understanding of the glucose levels in various types of food and how they compare to each other. They will also gain an appreciation for understanding how our cells convert glucose into ATP, which is the energy currency of all...    View Details »

Key Concepts: biology, health, nutrition, experimental design, plants, scientific method, metabolism

Hydrology and Stream Morphology
Students will understand that streams and rivers are dynamic with changes in flow, velocity, and morphology. They can see how the stream changes throughout the year or how a complex stream can create diverse stream functions and habitats.    View Details »

Key Concepts: hydrology

If These Trees Could Speak...
Tree rings can tell us a lot about climate over time. Students will understand that tree rings record climate at annual resolution, and that this information can be useful to study ancient cultures.    View Details »

Key Concepts: dendrochronology, climate precipitation

Introduction to Water Chemistry (pH and EC)
Ecosystems have different characteristics and organisms adapted to these physical and chemical properties. Two important chemical properties are pH and electrical conductivity. This exercise helps students define these parameters, to measure them,...    View Details »

Key Concepts: water, chemistry, pH, geoscience, hydrology, water quality, water chemistry

Investigating Soil: Qualitative Properties, Aeration, Percolation, Strength, pH, and Biodiversity
Students will discover soil's complexity. By comparing soil between sites, they will see how different habitats or management practices affect soil and the habitat within soil.    View Details »

Key Concepts: biology, soil

It's All About What's Inside: Classification and the Tree of Life
Students will learn that access to more information has allowed us to better understand the relationships of living organisms based on their shared genetic material. As a consequence, scientists are in the process of re-organizing how they classify...    View Details »

Key Concepts: taxonomy, classification

Let's Get Small: Scale and Measuring
Students will understand that organisms that are microscopic have structure and can be visualized by using the appropriate scale. Students will make models to different scales by using mathematical techniques.    View Details »

Key Concepts: biodiversity, math, nano, model

Lichens and Pollution
Students will gain an understanding of lichens as an important symbiosis between algae/cyanobacteria and fungi and their importance in weathering of rocks. Students will also learn how susceptible organisms are to even small environmental changes....    View Details »

Key Concepts: biology, ecology, experimental design, plants, scientific method, ecosystem

Mineral Identification, Uses for Minerals, and Minerals in Rocks
Students will be able to define the differences between rocks and minerals and use their observational skills and five senses to identify common minerals. If completing the mineral match game, students will also see how minerals are used in common...    View Details »

Key Concepts: geology, geoscience, making observations

Observing and Describing Rocks
The goal of this exercise is to promote students' use of observational skills using their five senses to group objects based on common characteristics. This demonstrates how scientists collect data and how they group or classify materials.    View Details »

Key Concepts: geology, geoscience, making observations

Photosynthesis and Respiration of Microscopic Life
Students will understand the relationship between a variety of living photosynthetic organisms and oxygen production and consumption. Using technology to gather, graph and interpret data, students will be exposed to instrumentation that is used in...    View Details »

Key Concepts: microbes, metabolism

Plant Development
Introduce students to the basic process of plant growth and allow them to apply the scientific method by creating and carrying out an experiment based on some aspect of plant growth.    View Details »

Key Concepts: photosynthesis, metabolism, experimental design

Plant Germination
Gathering, graphing and interpreting seedling growth data, students will be exposed to the scientific method that is used in science research and learn about photosynthesis.    View Details »

Key Concepts: plants, soil, water, scientific method, metabolism