Using the Connecticut State Science Curriculum as our guide, we have developed hands-on science programs designed to complement and enhance your science lessons. We offer hour-long, naturalist-led programs consisting of live animal demonstrations, games and interactive activities. Each of the programs can be modified to your class’s specific unit or learning needs.
We also offer a field trip component for all grade levels. A trip to the Nature Center has much to offer — our pond, forests, fields, animal habitat room, natural science library and theatre can all be a part of your experience.
The Darien Nature Center reserves the right to send a substitute instructor or reschedule programs in the event that the naturalist is unavailable.
The Darien Nature Center will conduct a one half-hour program that will explore what makes animals unique. We will help your pre-schoolers understand what mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles are and how they are different from each other. Children will have the opportunity to experience these different animals in a hands-on, active way. We will watch them move, talk about what they eat and feel their outer covering; however, touching the animals is completely optional on the part of each child. Some of the animals we might share with your pre-schoolers are: Rabbit, Chinchilla, Land Turtle, Water Turtle, Dove, Ferret, Snake, Lizard.
GRADE LEVEL FIELD TRIPS
The Darien Nature Center offers site-specific programs for children in grades K – 5. Darien is blessed with marshes, woods, rivers and meadows and our naturalists will work with you to create the perfect hands-on experience for your class.
At present, all second grades in the district will participate in Fungus, Ferns and Flora In Selleck’s Woods. All third grades will be our guests in Cherry Lawn Park, where children will conduct an annual Pond Study.
Elementary School Programs
The Darien Nature Center, following the curriculum standards of the State and district, offer classroom teachers a variety of natural science programs designed to complement their teaching units.
Animals in Winter
Where do animals go when the cold winds blow? Who sleeps and who hunts? Students will meet animals who know how to keep warm in the coldest of seasons and find food under layers of snow.
The fun begins after you’re tucked in. Soaring bats, saucer-eyed owls and midnight mice come to life after dark. This program introduces animals who are active when the sun goes down.
Animals move in different ways based on how they are built and what they weigh. See how the animals use motion to escape predators and find food. Students will observe live demonstrations of the principles of motion.
Students will explore life in the forest, desert, mountains, ocean, pond and grasslands. They will learn about the adaptations that allow animals to survive in different habitats and climates.
What’s got compound eyes, a skeleton on the outside ears or ears on its back? The most successful animals on earth — insects. Students identify local insects by sight and sound, learn about insect anatomy and examine their habits and habitats.
I Dig Dirt
The soil beneath our feet provides minerals and nutrients for growing things and a home for small animals. Students will explore the properties of several soil types and learn about the creatures that rely on them for life.
Rocks and Minerals
What do the rocks we find in our backyards tell us? Students will use mineral tests to identify several local minerals and learn to make a scientific collection.
Some animals hoot…others spin….and some play possum. Learn what animals do to survive ~ learn the tricks and traits that keep them alive. Students will learn the difference between instinctive and learned behavior.
Skulls and Bones
We’ll play the anatomy game and find out that all skeletons are not the same. Students will compare mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish skeletons.
The Night Sky
Stars, planets, meteors and comets all come into view if you know where and how to look for them. We will talk about all the sky sights you can spy with the naked eye.
Water is constantly on the move. It evaporates, percolates and travels through the air and underground. Follow the journey of a drop of water through a watershed and learn basic hydrology along the way.
Did you know that leaves have teeth? Which tree has the shaggy bark? Learn the names of the most common trees in Darien’s forests. Students will examine bark, twigs, leaves and silhouettes to discover the identity of trees.
- For class memberships, in-school programs and field trips, please contact our Naturalist at 203.655.7459 or via email.
"Our teachers loved the field trip and believe that the children enjoyed the trip as well as learned new things about seeds and plants (and “things” that live under the leaves and soil). Very successful!!!"
– Darien Elementary School Teacher
"I think the program was wonderful, you ladies really know your soil! I am finally excited to teach this unit thanks to you."
– Rowayton School 2nd Grade Teacher