Educational Program Ideas


creek studyre sized

Fifth grade students participate in Creek Study Program

Note: These programs are just a sampling of what we offer. We are happy to tailor/create new programs to suit your classroom’s curriculum needs.

To schedule a program for your group contact Sondra or Michael at 319-636-2617 or e-mail them at or Before you call or e-mail, please have the following information ready:

  • First and second (possibly third) selections for program dates
  • Name or description of program(s) you would like to schedule
  • Number of groups you will be scheduling for (groups size is class size or smaller)
  • Number of people per group
  • Arrival and departure times for your group (be sure and check with the bus garage) or a schedule of specials, recess, and lunch if the programs are to be presented at your site
  • Plans for lunch - will you be eating here or returning to school; how long is your lunch; what is your normal lunch time?
  • After scheduling a visit, we will send you a confirmation that includes all the details discussed


*SNAKES ALIVE: .5 to 1.5 hours
All ages -- Science
Learning more about these often-hated reptiles can remove some untruths and fears. Discover the role of the snake and the unique way it lives. (May include live animals).

*BIRDS OF A FEATHER: 1 to 3 hours
All ages -- Science, (Art)
Look at what makes a bird. Beaks, wings, feet and other features help identify birds and determine their lifestyle. (May include live animals).

*WHO’S HUNTING WHOM?: 45 min to 2 hours
All ages -- Science and Math
Whether as large as a whale or as small as an ant, find out how predators are adapted for surviving. Food web and pyramid concepts included. (May include live animals).

*REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE: 45 min to 2 hours
All ages -- Science, Social Studies, and Math
Learn about ways we can protect and conserve our resources by making changes at the store, home, work, and school. “Shop” ecologically, recycle paper, or check out a “garbage pizza.”

*EARTH FRIENDLY CRAFT: 30 min to 2 hours
All ages -- Art, Science, and Social Studies
Make crafts using natural and “throw away” items. Bird feeders, recycled paper, mobiles, T-shirts and more.

All ages -- Various projects are available for individuals and groups throughout the year. Projects include habitat improvement, garden work, wildlife inventories, and others. All projects include program introduction.

GROWING UP WILD Ages 3-7 years old
Ants on Parade - Children go outside to observe ant behavior and learn insect characteristics.
Spider Web Wonders - Children learn about spiders and spider webs.
Looking at Leaves - Children practice their observation skills by comparing leaves.
Wiggling Worms - Children learn about and observe earthworms.
Wildlife is Everywhere! - Children make observations and understand that wildlife is all around us.
Lunch for a Bear - Children identify the kinds of foods that black bears eat by creating a plate of “bear food.”
Who Lives in a Tree? - Children develop an awareness of trees and some of the animals that call them “home.”
Fishing Fun! - Children engage in a dramatic play fishing game and learn about fish.
Hiding in Plain Sight - Children play a game of hide and seek to learn about important adaptations in many wild animals.
Tracks! - Children explore animal tracks and make and compare tracks of their own.
Grow As We Go - Children explore the life cycles of familiar wildlife and understand that living things grow and change.
Backbone Bonanza - Children learn about vertebrates and some characteristics that distinguish them.
Bird Beak Buffet - Children learn about the special functions of bird beaks.
Terrific Turkeys - Children learn about wild turkeys.
Owl Pellets - Children dissect an owl pellet and learn what owls eat.
Oh, Deer! - Children explore the parts of habitat in a physical activity.
Seed Need - Children explore seeds as food for people and animals and learn how animals spread seeds.
Show Me the Energy! - Discover that all animals, including people, depend on plants as a food source, either directly or indirectly.
Wildlife Water Safari - Children discover water sources for local wildlife and create a field notebook.
Wildlife as Symbols - Children explore how wild animals are used as symbols for a variety or purposes.
Less is More - Children learn that using less is a way of sharing resources.


“SENSE”-ATIONAL HIKE: 30 to 60 min
Pre-K - 1st--Sensory skills, connections: Use all of your senses to become more fully connected with the area through which you walk. How would animals use these senses?

Pre-K - 1st--Observation, classification, sensory skills: Helping youngsters become more aware of the unique area in which they walk, we have them look for 6-10 items they are presented at the beginning of the walk. What these things are and why they are important completes the walk.

*GOING BATTY: 45 minutes
PK & up -- Science, English, Math
Students will discover the amazing adaptations of bats through hands-on activities, and learn what they can do to protect these important creatures.

Other great programs for PK – 1st
Apples/Fall programs
Trick or Treat for the Animals
Live Animals - snake, owl, frog, turtle, salamander
Turkey Programs - Callers, make turkey cookies, other art activities
Winter Animal Survival (Jello Mice)
Stranger in the Woods
Planting a Rainbow
Egg Carton Caterpillars
Birds and Worms
Nature Journals

ALPHABET HIKE: 45 min to 1 hr
K - 1st--Language Arts and Science
As we walk there are things all around us. The group tries to find things starting with as many letters as possible.

ANIMAL REAL ESTATE: 45 to 90 min
1st: 3rd -- Science and Math What do animals need in their home or habitat? Once we know what they need, we will explore the park for different places an animal could live. Detective skills will help us figure out why they live there.

BUG OFF: 45 minutes to 2 hours
1st & up -- Science, (Art)
Over half the animals on Earth are insects. Learn about insects, where and how they live, and why they are so important to us.

CREEK CRITTERS: 45 min to 1.5 hours
1st & up -- Science, Math, and Social Studies
The habitats in the creek and lake are much different that on land. How are aquatic plants and animals suited to life in the water and how do they influence one another? (Old shoes recommended).

OUTDOOR GENERAL STORE: 45 minutes to 3 hours
2nd & up -- Social Studies and Science Find out how Native Americans and pioneers used many of the plants and animals of the woods, wetlands, and prairies to eat, dress, and make things from soap to rope. Try your hand at some outdoor skills.

*WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: 45 minutes to 2 hours
2nd & up -- Science, Social Studies, and Math
Although three quarters of the Earth’s surface is covered with water, we have made much of it unusable. Games and activities force children to make choices and help them visualize the

*TREES ARE TERRIFIC: 1 to 2 hours
2nd & up -- Science, Math, and Social Studies
How do individual trees grow, adapt, and reproduce. We will look at tree parts and adaptations and see the story told through tree rings.

2nd & up -- Math and Science
How tall is that tree? How do the antlers of deer determine records? How many bears can live it that forest? How steep is that hill? Math skills applied to real life situations. Activities vary by skill level.

3rd & up -- Health, science, and math
Students will explore the fat, protein, and fiber needs of several native animals, and then use these clues to determine the identities of several “mystery” animals.

3rd & up-Science and Social Studies
Students explore an 1850’s home at Jakway Park and get a taste of what everyday life was like over a 100 years ago. Students may participate in hands-on activities such as churning butter, washing clothing with a washboard, and playing a variety of period games.

GPS: 1 to 1.5 hours
4th & up--Science and Math
Students learn the basics of a Global Positioning Unit (or GPS) and then put their skills to use during a geocaching activity that encourages teamwork and critical thinking.

4th & up -- Science, Social Studies, English, and Math
Extinction is a natural process, so what’s the big deal with endangered species? Why are species in trouble? Can and should we do anything to help them?

DIGGING INTO DIRT: 1.25 to 2 hours
4th & up -- Science, Math, and Social Studies
Soil is more than just dirt. How is it made? What is in it? Why and how should we protect it?

ORIENTEERING: 1 to 3 hours
5th & up -- Math and Science
Learn the parts of the compass and how to use one. Create shapes with simple math skills. More advanced classes follow a course.

SURVIVAL: 1.5 to 3 hours
5th & up -- Science, Social Studies, and Health
Basic survival skills and rules will be taught. Mental preparedness, making shelters and fires, survival kits, and finding safe food and water will be taught through participation.

5th & up -- Science, Social Studies, and Math
Spaceship Earth now has more than 6 billion people on it. Is there a limit to how many more will fit? Explore why population is at the heart of many social and science concerns.

NATURE AT NIGHT: 1 to 3 hours
5th & up -- Science, Math, and Language Arts                                                        
Extend the learning experience to the nighttime hours. Focus can be on nocturnal animals, astronomy, or sensory activities. Parents are welcome as well.