Young children learn science best by living and exploring the world around them. Come and get some great resources, tips, and ideas for teaching elementary-aged children science and discovery.
Elementary Science Teaching Tips & Ideas
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
Things to See & Do in Colorado
Rocky Mountain Arsenal
Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest urban wildlife refuges in the nation with more than 15,000 acres of land. It’s a place where wildlife thrives and where visitors can reconnect with nature and experience the many wildlife-dependent opportunities the Refuge has to offer. Come walk the many easy hiking trails, take the self-guided Wildlife Drive auto tour, observe more than 330 species of wildlife, and explore the Visitor Center.
Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center
Explore Colorado Springs' paradise in one magical stop. Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Natural Landmark. Imagine dramatic views, 300' towering sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. This world-class Visitor & Nature Center and museum is the most visited attraction in the region with all new interactive exhibits. Learn how the amazing red rocks got there with the NEW Geo-Trekker movie experience, shown every 20 minutes. Delight in one of Colorado's most photographed views while eating in our glass-enclosed café or from our terrace overlooking Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. Admission into the Park and Visitor Center is free.
Georgetown Energy Museum
Georgetown Energy Museum is located in a fully functioning and operational Hydroelectric generating plant in Georgetown, Colorado. The plant is owned and operated by Xcel Energy. It has been in operation since 1900. The museum includes exhibits and photographs and also household / consumer appliances relating the the early use of electricity.
Buffalo Herd Nature Preserve
The County of Denver maintains this buffalo herd about twenty miles west of the city. The bison are direct descendants of the last wild herd of bison in the U.S. They all came from a herd of 7 bison brought from Yellowstone National Park in 1914. The bison herd can be seen from I-70 when heading west into the mountains on the right right side of the road.
Rocky Mountain Raptor Program
For 33 years, Rocky Mountain Raptor Program has served the northern Colorado community through rescue, rehabilitation & release of injured birds of prey. Our community-based team of veterinary experts and specially trained volunteers provides all aspects of raptor care ranging from compassionate medical care to constructing cages that serve as temporary homes for recovering birds. Rocky Mountain Raptor Program also plays a vital role in community education and outreach, providing hands-on learning about raptor species and the environment. Private Behind the Scenes Tours explore the main rehabilitation facility on Vine Drive, including various work areas and some of the caging facilities. Visitors will learn about medical management of cases, how the RMRP trains and coordinates volunteers and staff to provide care for the birds 365 days/year. Injuries, therapies, and issues involved in caring for raptors are discussed. The tour may include an opportunity to meet an educational raptor.
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument preserves one of the grand landscapes of the American West. Sheer-walled canyons, towering monoliths, colorful formations, desert bighorn sheep, soaring eagles, and a spectacular road reflect the environment and history of the plateau-and-canyon country. Historic Rim Rock Drive offers 23 miles of breathtaking panoramic views and numerous overlooks. Trails lead across mesa tops and to spectacular overlooks or into backcountry canyons. Picnicking and camping are available. At an average elevation of 6,000 feet at the rim, the climate is relatively mild but can change rapidly to snow or summer storms. Around 275,000 people per year visit Colorado National Monument to enjoy these and other opportunities. The monument encompasses some 20,500 acres, and much of which has been recommended to Congress for designation as wilderness.
The Wildlife Experience
Founded in 2002 as a wildlife art and natural history museum designed to serve as a cultural center and community asset for South Metro Denver. The 151,000 sq ft prairie mission style facility hosts numerous fine art, natural history and interactive science changing exhibits each year, in addition to its signature permanent exhibition, Globeology, featuring open dioramas interpreting eight biomes of the world. The Wildlife Experience strives to inspire a new generation of conservationists and outdoors enthusiasts by bringing visitors closer to wildlife and fostering the desire to experience the outdoors through high-quality exhibitions, large screen movies and a host of education programs.
Berry Patch Farms
Berry Patch Farms is a certified organic working farm that offers pick-your-own produce. The farm is 40 acres and no fees or membership dues are charged. You are encouraged to bring your children so they may learn more about agriculture and to have an authentic farm experience. School groups are most welcome. They are located in Brighton, just north of Denver.
Forney Transportation Museum
The Forney Transportation Museum in Denver is a one-of-a-kind collection of over 500 exhibits relating to historical transportation. It began with antique cars, but soon expanded to include vehicles of all kinds. The museum houses "Big Boy," the world's largest steam locomotive, railcars, cabooses, coaches, a diner, antique cars, buggies, carriages, wagons, fire engines, aircraft, Denver's only cable car, trolleys, steam tractor, models, motorcycles, bicycles, costumes, music boxes, and more.
Dinosaur National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument protects a large deposit of fossil dinosaur bones--remains of the so-called "terrible lizards" that lived millions of years ago. The dinosaurs weren't really lizards, and most of them weren't even terrible. But some of the first dinosaur fossils ever found were huge bones and teeth, very lizard-like except for their size, and so the idea of monstrous lizards was born. Today, many ideas about dinosaurs are changing, and the fossils at Dinosaur National Monument continue to help us learn more about these fascinating animals. There is also more to Dinosaur National Monument than dinosaurs. The 210,000 acres within the park will grab your attention with its beauty, rugged wildness, solitude, and silence.
South Platte Park Carson Nature Center
South Platte Park is over 880 acres of open space along the South Platte River with 5 lakes open to fishing, 2.5 miles of the South Platte River and the Mary Carter Greenway for walking and biking, nearly 4 miles of natural surface trails, and the Carson Nature Center and classroom. South Platte Park has over 300 species of wildlife and is an excellent place for wildlife viewing, photography, and bird watching. Stop in to check out exhibits and live animals in our small museum, get information on trails or wildlife, or how to use our Interactive Water Table.
Denver Zoological Gardens
The Denver Zoo houses more than 4,000 animals representing nearly 685 species, and the nation's first environmentally-friendly natural gas-powered zoo train. The new 5,500 square-foot Dragons of Komodo exhibit for the rare Komodo dragon features the largest indoor habitat for Komodo dragons in North America. The Denver Zoo's other state-of-the-art exhibits include Tropical Discovery, an indoor rainforest where visitors journey past waterfalls, darkened caves, jungle ruins and tropical riverbank exhibits, and Primate Panorama, which spans seven acres and exhibits 29 of the world's most spectacular species of primates and features a one-acre habitat for the endangered western lowland gorilla.
Crow Canyon Archaeological Center
More than 30 years ago, Crow Canyon was founded on the idea that members of the public could play an important role in archaeology. Each year, they welcome people of all ages to their campus near Mesa Verde in southwest Colorado. Their volunteers support their mission of archaeological research, education programs, and partnership with American Indians.
Colorado Gators Reptile Park
Colorado Gators is a family oriented, educational facility that focuses on full use of natural and recycled resources. Our goal is to maintain an integrated ecosystem while providing educational opportunities and viable farm products. Every visitor to Colorado Gators has the opportunity to meet, pet, hold, and take pictures with a little alligator. There are several large African Sulcata tortoises that wander freely throughout their section of the park. You can also see an albino alligator, Nile crocodiles, Burmese pythons, anacondas, and other reptiles.
Fort Collins Museum of Discovery
The Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is dedicated to engaging and inspiring their audiences to explore the legacies of the peoples and environments of the Cache La Poudre Rivery Valley. The Main Gallery highlights the early history of Fort Collins from paleolithic Indians that lived 10,800 years ago, to the fort era, and the agricultural boom of the sugar beet industry. Also features special exhibits including a ferret cam, music and sound lab, and tot spot.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
A beautiful mountain valley just west of Pikes Peak holds spectacular remnants of the earth's prehistoric life. Huge petrified redwoods and incredibly detailed fossils of ancient insects and plants reveal a very different Colorado of long ago. Almost 35 million years ago, enormous volcanic eruptions buried the then-lush valley and petrified the redwood trees that grew there. A lake formed in the valley and the fine-grained sediments at its bottom became the final resting-place for thousands of insects and plants. These sediments compacted into layers of shale and preserved the delicate details of these organisms as fossils. The Florissant Fossil Beds are world-renowned, and in 1969 were set aside as a part of our National Park System.
Located in downtown Denver, This world-class aquarium doesn't just display underwater creatures - it recreates their habitats and tells a story of two great rivers and their journeys to the ocean -- the Colorado River as it flows to Mexico's Sea of Cortez, and Indonesia’s Kampar River along its journey to the South China Sea. The aquarium displays 15,000 specimens, representing 300 species of fish, birds, mammals, and invertebrates, including tigers and sea otters, living amidst 1,000 live plants.
The Butterfly Pavilion is home to over 5,000 animals, including Rosie the Tarantula, sea creatures, and over 1,600 butterflies. After walking through the tropical rainforest pavilion, explore the gardens and nature trails outside. They offer education programs for groups.
Mount Goliath, a mountain peak section of the Mount Evans area, is accessible by the M. Walter Pesman Trail and is located 17 miles from Idaho Springs within the Arapaho National Forest. This trail winds through subalpine and alpine areas where wildflowers and animals live amid grand mountain vistas and the sculptured, grizzled beauty of the bristlecone pines. Highlights include delicate alpine floral treasures such as alpine forget-me-nots, moss campion, fairy primrose, purple fringe, chiming bells and spring beauty. This is a trail of contrasts--awesome Rocky Mountain vistas of the Divide peaks; delicate floral treasures; wind-sculpted, ancient bristlecone pines; cold summit winds; and gentle summer breezes. The path winds through the exquisite blooms of the alpine tundra, talus slopes and subalpine meadows providing a delightful and educational hike in one of Colorado's most beautiful natural areas. The Denver Botanic Gardens offers guided tours of Mount Goliath on select dates in June through August
The Pueblo Zoo covers 25 acres, is located in Pueblo City Park and was established in the 1920's. It is easily accessible for all visitors including those using strollers & wheelchairs. The zoo exhibits more than 300 animals of 110 different species from throughout the world. Under the Zoological Society's direction, the zoo is being developed as a "biopark," a place where animals are exhibited in natural settings, where the interdependence of Earth's life - plants and animals, including humans - is made clear for all to see. Among its exhibits are the African Lion exhibit; the Ecocenter, where visitors will find a tropical rainforest and the Black-footed penguin exhibit; the Herpetarium, which houses a collection of cold-blooded creatures including reptiles, amphibians and insects; the education building, which houses the hands-on Mahlon T. White Discovery Room; and the Pioneer Farm with its many domestic animals that can be fed by visitors.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison's unique and spectacular landscape was formed slowly by the action of water and rock scouring down through hard Proterozoic crystalline rock. No other canyon in North America combines the narrow opening, sheer walls, and startling depths offered by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The Canyon is located near Montrose.
Manitou Cliff Dwellings
Explore the fascinating architecture of the ancient Anasazi and browse through two museums featuring cultural displays all overlooking the historic town of Manitou Springs. Be sure to include Manitou Cliff Dwellings during your visit to the Pikes Peak Region. The magic and mystery of the Native American culture is sure to delight visitors of all ages. Inside the Pueblo you'll tour the Anasazi Museum where dioramas depict daily life. There are also exhibits of tools, pottery, and weapons offering a glimpse of the mysterious people who left a remarkable architectural legacy on mesa tops and in cliff walls like the one at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. When you visit, there will be no need to hurry as you follow the self-guided tour and explore each room of these carefully preserved structures. As you do, imagine what it was like to live over seven hundred years ago in a structure like this. You can even have your picture taken in front of a building that’s a lot older than your Grandfather!
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Situated on 146-acres, 70 of which are developed, at an elevation of 6,800 feet in Colorado Springs, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only mountain zoo in the United States. The Zoo is home to more than 600 animals representing some 142 species from around the world, over 30 of which are classified as endangered or threatened. Special features include Primate World, Wolf Woods, Asian Highlands, and Lion’s Lair, My Big Backyard, and the African Rift Valley. A leader in conservation, captive breeding and animal care, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo connects people with wildlife and wild places through experiences that inspire action.
Mordecai Children's Garden
The Children’s Garden offers a place for kids and families to play, explore and discover every spring, summer and fall. Because the natural environment constantly changes, no two visits in this magical 3-acre oasis will be alike. This garden is located at the Denver Botanic Gardens on top of the parking structure. Children can learn at the rooftop alpine garden, race pinecones down Springmelt Spring, hunt for bug in the Glorious Grasslands and observe aquatic life at Pipsqueak Pond.
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield
Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield provides a picturesque setting among the grasslands, ponds and cottonwood banks of Deer Creek. Facilities include nature trails, display gardens, educational exhibits, a historical farm and one-room schoolhouse, working beehives and picnic areas. Visit the Earl J. Sinnamon Visitor Center, the historic Hildebrand Ranch, a restored 1918 dairy barn and silo, the 1874 Deer Creek Schoolhouse, 2.5 miles of nature trails, the Deer Creek Discovery children’s play area and numerous wildflower gardens.
Curecanti National Recreation Area
Three reservoirs, named for corresponding dams on the Gunnison River, form the heart of Curecanti National Recreation Area. Panoramic mesas, fjord-like reservoirs, and deep, steep and narrow canyons abound. Blue Mesa Reservoir is Colorado's largest body of water, and is the largest Kokanee Salmon fishery in the United States. Morrow Point Reservoir is the beginning of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and below, Crystal Reservoir is the site of the Gunnison Diversion Tunnel, a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Recently discovered dinosaur fossils, a 5,000 acre archeological district, a narrow gauge train, and traces of 6000 year old dwellings further enhance the offerings of Curecanti.
Western Colorado Botanical Gardens
The WCBG is home to an Herb Garden, Cactus Garden, Rose Garden and Orchid Display that are maintained by local gardening organizations. The WCBG maintains several other gardens including the Childrens Secret Garden, Shozan-en, Celebration Plaza, Community Garden and the lovely public gardens that surround our buildings.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is the Rocky Mountain region’s leading resource for informal science education. A variety of exhibitions, programs, and activities help Museum visitors experience the natural wonders of Colorado, Earth, and the universe. Includes an IMAX theater and a planetarium.
YA YA Farm & Orchard
YA YA Farm & Orchard began farming in 1896. Through the years, there have been many changes to the farm and apple orchard. The present incarnation of YA YA Farm was begun in 2003. In addition to U-Pick It produce, the farm is also home to Percheron Draft horses.
Great Sand Dunes
Nestled in southern Colorado, North America's tallest dunes rise over 750 feet high against the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The wind-shaped dunes glow beneath the rugged backdrop of the mountains. This geologic wonderland, containing 30 square miles of dunes, became a national monument in 1932. With the passage of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000, resources now also include alpine lakes and tundra, six peaks over 13,000' in elevation, ancient spruce and pine forests, large stands of aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands--all habitat for diverse wildlife and plant species.
Plains Conservation Center
The Plains Conservation Center exists to bring the natural wonder of the prairie into the realm of personal experience by: preserving a remnant of the eastern Colorado High Plains, educating the public about its natural and cultural heritage and nurturing sound conservation and environmental ethics. A visit to the Plains Conservation Center offers a unique way to experience the natural and cultural heritage of the High Plains of Colorado.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park includes elevations ranging from 8,000 feet in the wet, grassy valleys to 14,259 feet at the weather-ravaged top of Long's Peak. Wildlife include elk, mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, black bears, coyotes, cougars, eagles, hawks and scores of smaller animals. With 359 miles of trail, there are endless opportunities to hikers, backpackers and horseback riders. There are sixty peaks rising above 12,000 feet challenge intrepid hikers and climbers. Trail Ridge Road is the highest, continuous, paved road in the United States, topping out at 12,183 feet. RMNP is located between Estes Park and Grand Lake.
CU Museum of Natural History
The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History is an academic unit of the Graduate School at the University of Colorado at Boulder with a mission to contribute to knowledge of the natural world and the humanities through research, teaching, and public education. The Museum's collections number more than four million objects in anthropology/archaeology, botany, entomology, paleontology, vertebrates and invertebrates. The University of Colorado Museum offers a wide variety of K-12 and adult educational programs and activities throughout the year, including lectures, family days, and guided tours. The exhibition galleries are open to the public seven days a week, free of charge.
Denver Botanic Gardens
With more than 32,000 plants on 23 acres from such far-away places as Australia, Africa and the Himalayas, Denver Botanic Gardens is recognized as one of the top five botanical gardens in the United States. Open year round. They offer special programs for school groups.
The Wild Animal Sanctuary
The Wild Animal Sanctuary is a state and federally licensed zoological facility and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We are located outside of Keenesburg, Colorado, 30 miles northeast of Denver. We are located on rural, rolling grasslands, comprising 720 acres and sheltering more than 290 large carnivores alone. TWAS is the largest sanctuary of its kind and one of the oldest in the United States.
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center
CWWC conducts guided educational tours and programs that focus on dispelling myths about wolves and wild canids and helping people to appreciate the roles wolves play in their ecosystems. Tours cover topics such as pack hierarchy, territory, communication, prey impact, and conservation. What is unique about the tour is that people also learn about the history of each wolf, coyote, and fox at the center. Some of these being personal rescue stories and unique personalities of many. Although some of our animals have been rescued from college dorms, roadside zoos, photo farms, and the fur industry, we also have adopted ones from other educational organizations as well. The history of the animals compels visitors to walk away with a compassionate respect to honor the fact that “wild means wild.”
Elementary Science Activities & Experiments
ExploraVision is a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a school in the U.S., Canada, U.S. Territory or a Department of Defense school. Homeschooled students are eligible to enter. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future. Teams of students select a technology, research how it works and why it was invented, and then project how that technology may change in the future. They must then identify what breakthroughs are required for their vision to become a reality and describe the positive and negative consequences of their technology on society. Winning ideas have focused on things as simple as ballpoint pens and as complex as satellite communications. The student teams write a paper and draw a series of Web page graphics to describe their idea. Regional winners make a Web site and a prototype of their future vision.
In 1997, Xcel Energy installed the first of their Bird Cam cameras in the King plant falcon nest to increase awareness for conservation efforts and provide the public with opportunities to watch the birds and their growing families each spring on their Web site. Bird Cam continues to grow in popularity, and with the number and variety of birds that choose the power plant nest sites for their homes, they have been able to expand Bird Cam to include: four falcon cams, eagle cam, owl cam, and osprey cam. Bird Cam offers great educational opportunities for the general public, birding enthusiasts and students.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
Elementary Science Curriculum
Christian Kids Explore Chemistry
These user-friendly, unabashedly Christian, one-year science curriculums for elementary students include teaching lessons, coloring pages, hands-on time, memorization lists, review sheets, creative writing assignments, and a supplemental book list. The Chemistry text is intended for grades 4-8, and includes such hands-on activities as making model atoms, breaking covalent bonds, and making gas expand. It also lists chemistry terms, notations, and rules. The conversational style gives students the basic information they need, making this an ideal first course in life science, especially useful for those following a classical approach.
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Rhythms of Learning : What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents & Teachers (Vista Series, V. 4) (Vista Series, V. 4)
In numerous lectures and through teaching teachers for the first Waldorf school, Rudolf Steiner described and suggested methods of education based on the rhythmic unfolding of spirit, soul, and physiology in children as they grow. In each section of "Rhythms of Learning," Waldorf teacher Roberto Trostli introduces the reader to lectures on specific aspects of children's rhythms of development and how Waldorf education responds. We are shown how Waldorf teachers must, through their own inner capa...
Ages: 8 years and up; For 2 or more playersSmart Mouth is a quick-thinking shout-it-out hilarious word game that helps build vocabulary skills. It includes variations of the rules for category play and for younger players. Players slide the Letter Getter forward and back to get two letters. The first player to shout out a word of five or more letters using those letters wins the round. The game includes tips for teachers. This is a fun game to play with children and adults together.
A Charlotte Mason Education: A Home Schooling How-To Manual
The immensely popular ideas of Charlotte Mason have inspired educators for many decades. Her unique methodology as written about in her six-volume series established the necessary protocols for an education above and beyond that which can be found in traditional classroom settings. In A Charlotte Mason Education, Catherine Levison has collected the key points of Charlotte Mason's methods and presents them in a simple, straightforward way that will allow families to quickly maximize the opportuni...
Happy Phonics uses games to teach early reading skills. Simple yet entertaining and educational, these phonics games are printed on colorful, sturdy cardstock ready to cut out. Included is a mother-friendly guidebook which contains details on how to teach phonics and reading, how to pronounce and teach the phonics sounds, how to make your own simple beginning readers, and step-by-step teaching information for each phonics sound. Happy Phonics covers beginning to advanced phonics.
A Child's Story of America
This text reads like a story book more than a history textbook. This book has a decidedly Christian bent. Students are given a comprehensive overview of U.S. history from Columbus to the present. Review questions are included throughout, as well as helpful maps. The text contains numerous pictures and large print. An optional test packet and answer key is available.