Garden Science Theme Day

May 13–16, 2014
9:45 a.m.–2 p.m.

Explore the wonders of garden science through engaging hands-on activities. Observe, sketch, and analyze garden specimens. Check out live garden creatures such as millipedes, meal worms, cockroaches, and spiders, and meet the museum’s entomology staff. Hop, wiggle, and fly through a bug-themed obstacle course. Stroll through the museum’s outdoor Discovery Garden or add a Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden tour ($4 additional per person).

Themed visits give students a chance to experience the museum in new ways. Activities begin at 9:45 a.m. and end at 2 p.m., but classes may arrive and depart at anytime during that period.

Before your visit

  • Divide students into groups of 5 or fewer and assign each group a chaperon.
  • Discuss field trip expectations and lunch plans with chaperons and students.
  • Role-play museum etiquette with students.

During your Theme Day experience

  • Museum educators will greet you with activity guides and maps.
  • Exciting, theme-related activity stations will be staffed by museum educators.
  • Students and chaperons will enjoy free exploration time throughout the museum. Students and chaperons must stay together throughout the visit.

Classroom activities to enhance your Theme Day experience

  • Have students bring in a garden object of their choice—either a food or flower from a garden, a garden tool, or a picture of a garden. Display the objects on a table or shelf. Add to the display to provide a variety of garden objects. Provide time for students to explore all of the objects on display. Ask students to define what a garden is and to discuss different types of gardens. Ask students to explain why they think gardens are important.
  • Take your class outside for a nature scavenger hunt. Encourage students to look for and sketch the following and then discuss their findings:
    - Something that has wings
    - Something that is red
    - Something with buds or blossoms 
    - Something that moves
    - Something natural that could hold water 
    - Nest-building material for a bird
    - Something you wonder about
  • Invite students to write, tell, or illustrate a story that captures an experience enjoyed in a garden. Encourage students to use descriptive vocabulary and to add as much detail as possible to their story or drawing. 
  • Invite a gardening expert to talk to students. Alternately, ask students to find someone at home who loves gardening and interview him or her. Ask the expert questions such as:
    - What was your first gardening experience
    - What do you like most about gardening
    - What inspired you to garden
    - What advice would you give to someone who would like to start a garden?

For other ideas visit: