Youth Education

Another school year is upon us and we are looking forward to welcoming back our Island students to field studies on our grounds. If you are interested in learning about becoming a volunteer guide for this season’s programs email us at: info@pollyhillarboretum.org

Read more about our programs in a recent article from our newsletter:

Kids in the Arboretum: The Best Day Ever!

 

 

FIELD STUDY PROGRAMS FOR SCHOOL GROUPS

Enrich your science curriculum with one of our exciting field study programs! The Polly Hill Arboretum provides a wonderful outdoor science laboratory where children of all ages can explore trees, plants and flowers. All of our programs are inquiry based, encouraging each student to discover the wonders of nature through careful observation, documentation and sharing of ideas. Each program provides a one hour classroom pre-visit taught by our Youth Program Coordinator followed by a field trip to the Arboretum. The required time at the Arboretum is between an hour and an hour and a half depending on the age group. All field study programs are free and are conducted in the fall and spring on weekdays  from 8:30-12:30. At the Arboretum classes are divided into small groups, each with a trained guide to facilitate their outdoor experience. Our goal is to work with island teachers to offer programs which best meet their specific curriculum needs. As we continue to expand our offerings, we welcome recommendations for new programs.

Programs Offered in the Spring

 

SPRING FLOWERS ARE BLOOMING

Grades K and 1

 

Students will discover how plants and trees change in the spring season, enjoying the many flowers that bloom in spring and early summer. Using hand lenses they will look closely inside each flower and discover what is going on. We will talk about what plants need to grow, pollination by bees and wind, and the life cycles of plants. Using their five senses students will carefully examine manyflowers both in the classroom and at the Arboretum and identify the different parts of each flower.

FLOWERS CHANGE: FROM BUD TO FRUIT

Grades 2-4

In the spring students will enjoy the vibrant colors of the plants and trees in bloom at the Arboretum. With hand lenses they will closely examine many flowers and learn to recognize both the male and female parts of each flower and develop an understanding of how new plants grow. Different plant stages are investigated as plants go through their life cycles from bud to fruit. In both the classroom pre-visit and at the Arboretum students will discover the function of each part of a plant and be able to identify the stages that every plant goes through as flowers change to make seed production possible.

SEASONAL INVESTIGATION OF TREES

Offered Early Spring to mid-June, grades 2-4

This program is designed for those classes that want to incorporate a more in-depth study of trees into their curriculum. Classes must be able to make 3 trips to the Arboretum between late April and mid-June. Each child will closely observe a specific tree; studying twig features in early spring, the tree’s growth as buds develop, and finally enjoy the flower stage as the tree bursts into bloom. Students will be scientists making predictions, collecting data, taking measurements, and documenting all that they see in their journals. As the students observe their tree’s life cycle and really get to know “their “ tree they begin to understand the importance trees and plants have for all of us, and our responsibility to care for the land.

 

ADAPTATION OF TREES AND PLANTS

Grades 4-5

This program focuses on the inherent features plants have that enable them to survive in a particular environment. Starting in the classroom, using a hands-on approach, students will examine various plant environments (biomes) such as deciduous forest, desert, water, tundra, taiga, tropical rainforest and grasslands to discover the adaptations trees and plants have made to survive in each environment. We will then discuss the different mini biomes that exist on the Vineyard and talk about what grows where and why. At the Arboretum the “student scientists” will closely examine the wonderful variety of trees and plants and discover their specific adaptations for survival.

 

Programs Offered in the Fall

WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE FALL ?
Grades K-1

This program looks at seasonal change. Using scientific methods to explore trees and plants we will ask questions about why leaves change color and why seeds are on the move. Students will use their five senses to explore nature. The Arboretum tour will include collecting colored leaves and seeds, drawing a favorite leaf and seed and a “maple seed mix-up” game at the end of the session.

HOW SEEDS TRAVEL: PLANTS IN AUTUMN
Grade 2

Every autumn trees and plants disperse their seeds in many ways. Students will focus on how and why seeds travel. They will closely examine a variety of seed packages and predict the strategies that plants and trees use to disperse their seeds in order to find the best place to grow. During the classroom visit students use hand lenses to look at seeds and seed packages and categorize the seeds into those that travel by wind, travel by animal, or fall into the mystery category for their seed dispersal strategy. Once at the Arboretum, students will continue their investigations in small groups with a trained guide. Students will be involved in scientific research documenting what they see with sketches and field notes.

CLASSIFICATION OF TREES AND PLANTS

Grade 3

This program focuses on how scientists classify things in the natural world. Scientific method is used to study a variety of deciduous and evergreen leaves and to look at plant and tree characteristics. Students will collect and draw their favorite leaves and play a classification game at the end of their visit.

ADAPTATION OF TREES AND PLANTS

Grades 4-5

This program focuses on the inherent features plants have that enable them to survive in a particular environment. Starting in the classroom, using a hands-on approach, students will examine various plant environments (biomes) such as deciduous forest, desert, water, tundra, taiga, tropical rainforest and grasslands to discover the adaptations trees and plants have made to survive in each environment. We will then discuss the different mini biomes that exist on the Vineyard and talk about what grows where and why. At the Arboretum the “student scientists” will closely examine the wonderful variety of trees and plants and discover their specific adaptations for survival.

 

A PUBLIC GARDEN FOR ALL TO LEARN AND ENJOY

The Polly Hill Arboretum belongs to all of us who live on Martha’s Vineyard. Polly has left a wonderful treasure for us to enjoy. Student scientists of all ages are encouraged to visit the Arboretum with family and friends. The grounds are open to the public year-round from sunrise to sunset providing us with a wonderful outdoor classroom. Bring your journal, sketchpad, paints and camera and discover what this special place has to offer. Come often as each new season has different exciting things to see!


Teachers interested in incorporating this material into their curriculum should contact Youth Education Coordinator, Betsy Dripps through the Polly Hill Office at 508-693-9426 or email: info@pollyhillarboretum.org

In the fall of 2013 43 different classes, and a total of 686 students enjoyed our wonderful outdoor science laboratory. Join in the Fun!

VOLUNTEER AS A SCHOOL GUIDE. What a wonderful way to work with children, enjoy the Arboretum and meet new friends who enjoy the outdoors as much as you do. If you are interested in helping out please call us at 508-693-9426.

 

Family Explorer Backpackslittle explorer

The Arboretum is the perfect place for families to discover nature together, and our new Family Backpack Tour will help make this experience more fun and informative. These self-guided educational backpacks, available at the Visitor Center, contain a self-guided educational Arboretum map, field guides, magnifying glasses, sketch pads, and other materials to engage the entire family in nature studies during their visit.