Lessons for Pre-K to Grade 3 School Groups

The Strong offers a wide range of educational programs for students in pre-K through grade 3 amid dynamic, hands-on exhibits and world-renowned collections. The museum also offers Theme Days and Monday Kicks for Ages 2 to 6.

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View School Lessons by Selecting Grade, Subject, or Learning Standard


  • Bear Bucks: Beginning Economics

    The Berenstain Bears: Down a Sunny Dirt Road exhibit provides a bustling environment with Mama Bear’s Quilt Shop, Papa Bear’s Woodworking Shop, the Bear Family Restaurant, Farmer Ben’s Farm, and Dr. Bearson’s Dentist Office. Using Bear Bucks withdrawn from the bank, students role-play the parts of business owners and consumers. This is a fun way for students to apply basic math skills of dollar denominations, adding, subtracting, and beginning multiplication.

    1 hour
    K.CC.2, 1.OA.1, 1.OA.2, 1.OA.5, 2.OA.1, 2.OA.2, CDOS 2
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  • Butterfly Life Cycle Exploration

    Students build knowledge about the butterfly life cycle by observing chrysalises and butterflies in Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Students use informational text and science talk (a discussion protocol designed to get students speaking scientifically) and work in small groups to demonstrate what they’ve learned by acting out the stages of the butterfly life cycle. 


    1 1/2 hours
    ST1, ST4, Arts 1, RI1.7, RI2.3, RI2.7, RI3.3, RI3.7, SL1.1, SL2.1, SL3.1
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  • Garden Science Theme Day

    Explore the wonders of garden science through engaging hands-on activities. Observe, sketch, and analyze garden specimens. Check out a variety of garden creatures and meet a real scientist. Stroll through the museum’s outdoor Discovery Garden or add a Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden tour. (Butterfly garden tours are $4 additional per person.)

    Arts 1, ST 1, ST 4, RI.K.1, RI.1.1, RI.2.1, RI.3.1

    June 7–10, 2016

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  • Predators and Protection

    Students enter the fabulous Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden with a palette of colors, a keen eye for design, and a splash of curiosity, and return with some surprising discoveries! Students explore the ways butterflies protect themselves by observing butterflies in action. Students then become predators and protectors themselves as they learn and play through a movement game that brings the colorful and amazing art of the butterfly world alive.

    1 1/2 hours
    SL.1.1, SL.2.1, Arts 1, ST 1, ST 4
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  • Very Hungry Butterflies

    What do butterflies do when they are hungry? Students explore this and other questions as they observe real butterflies in Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is the springboard for this imaginative experience. Children focus on the butterfly stage of the life cycle and take on the role of butterflies in a fun movement activity.

    1 hour
    RI.PK.2, RI.K.2, RI.1.2, ST 4, Arts 1
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Language Arts

  • ELA Skill Building Theme Day

    Students talk, laugh, listen, write, and play with ELA skills while exploring museum exhibits for inspiration. Mini-lessons are facilitated by museum educators throughout the exhibits and focus on the following 6+1 Traits of Writing: sentence fluency, ideas, word choice, and voice. Students receive personalized ELA skills handbooks to take back to school.

    CCR.3.11, RL.3.11, CCL.3.3, CCL.3.4, CCL.3.5, L.3.3

    February 10 & 11, 2016

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  • Ernie's Alphabet

    Ernie has lost his letters! Students help Ernie find his letters by using environmental clues to point the way to where they are hidden in the Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street exhibit. During their search, students practice letter identification and letter-sound recognition. This lesson can be expanded to include word-building and word-play.

    1 hour
    RF.PK.1, RF.K.3
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  • Fairy-Tale Fantasy Theme Day

    Literature comes alive and students get the royal treatment as they make fairy-tale costumes and crafts for the Royal Ball! Students meet the Queen of Play, dance in the banquet hall with lords and ladies from the Queen’s court, play knights and dragons, and practice bow and arrow skills in Sherwood Forest. Students leave the museum happily ever after.

    Arts 1, Arts 2, RL.PK.2, RL.PK.3, RL.PK.4, RI.K.10, RL.K.11, RL.1.11, RL.2.11, SL.K.1, SL.K.6, SL.1.1, SL.1.6, SL.2.1, SL.2.6

    March 8–10, 2016

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  • Once Upon a Time…

    Transform into a character from one of six stories in the dramatic fairy-tale section in Reading Adventureland: Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Three Little Pigs, or Cinderella. Students become the cast as they select a setting, retell, and reenact one of the above classic tales.

    1 hour
    RL.K.1, RL.K.2, RL.1.1, RL.1.2, RL.2.1, RL.2.2, Arts 1
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  • Playing with Setting: Literacy Foundations

    Students analyze the importance of using detail to describe a story's setting while exploring different literary genres in the Reading Adventureland exhibit. Students then work in small groups to create a story comparing key elements such as setting, character, and plot. Students perform the stories and discuss findings with peers before leaving with new inspiration to continue writing back at school.

    1 hour
    CCR.3.3, CCR.3.5, CCR.3.11, W.3.11, Arts 1
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  • Sleuth School

    Students attend a class in Reading Adventureland's Mystery Mansion School of Artful Sleuthing to learn and practice the skills literary detectives such as Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes use to solve mysteries. Students need sharp eyes and quick minds as they make careful observations, collect and interpret evidence, discover relationships, and draw conclusions.

    1 hour
    ST 1, ST 7, CCR.3.11
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  • Who Dunnit?

    A mystery at the Mystery Mansion needs to be solved and your students are the detectives! Through deductive reasoning, prediction, mapping skills, and collaboration, detectives use their clues to crack the code of “Who Dunnit?” in the captivating mystery section of Reading Adventureland.

    1 hour
    RL.K.1, RL.K.3, RL.1.1, RL.1.3, RL.2.1, RL.2.3
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Health, Family and Consumer Science

  • Health Nuts

    What foods do we need every day to be healthy? Meet Francine, a life-size puppet who can’t keep up with the kids at recess and falls asleep during school. What can she do to have more energy? Students take on the challenge of helping Francine become healthy. Using the USDA's “MyPlate” food guide, students shop in Wegmans Super Kids Market and have fun packing a healthy lunch for Francine. Together, Francine and her new friends learn a “Fit as a Fiddle” cheer to help them remember what it takes to be healthy.

    1 hour
    Health 1, Arts 1
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  • Healthy Beginnings

    Students use dramatic play, movement, and math skills to determine what foods keep people healthy and strong. Dressing in the colors of the symbols from the USDA’s “MyPlate” food and exercise guide, students discover what each symbol reveals about healthy eating. After shopping in Wegmans Super Kids Market, students create healthy and balanced snacks by playing an interactive food group game.

    1 hour
    Health 1, PK.MD.2, K.MD.2
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  • Let's Move! Theme Day

    Students get a workout as they visit a variety of heart-healthy stations in the museum and learn how to develop healthy habits for the summer ahead! Students stretch their understanding of anatomy with yoga for kids, strengthen their cooperation skills with playground games, develop an understanding of nutrition by planning a healthy menu, and more.

    Health 1, Arts 1

    May 10–13, 2016

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Special Offerings

  • Monday Kicks

    The youngest museum guests learn, play, and explore at a different pace from older children. Pre-K and kindergarten groups can enjoy Monday Kicks’ fun experiences and delightful early childhood activities one Monday each month (November through June). Designed by museum educators, this series helps teach little ones important skills through play.

    Programs take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    • November 2, 2015: Playing with Science
    • December 7, 20154: Wonderful Wintertime
    • January 11, 2016: Build It!
    • February 8, 2016: Let's Create
    • March 7, 2016: Fun with Fairy Tales
    • April 11, 2016: Things that Go
    • May 9, 2016: Let's Move
    • June 6, 2016: Garden Science

Social Studies

  • Playthings and Pastimes from Long Ago

    What did children play with before the era of plastics, batteries, computers, and videos? Students visit One History Place to learn about early 20th-century America by role-playing the games and pastimes of this bygone era.

    1 hour
    SS 1, Arts 1
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  • X Marks the Spot

    Ahoy! Set sail on the good ship “Courageous,” then drop anchor in the adventure section of Reading Adventureland. Students work in small groups to create and follow maps, explore Reading Adventureland, and play a treasure hunt game. Using mapping techniques, students find hidden puzzle pieces to complete a map that will help them solve a mystery.

    1 hour
    SS 2
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All lessons are informed by the Reggio Emilia approach and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. For alignment with New York State Learning Standards and Common Core Learning Standards, see individual lesson descriptions. 

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