School and Library Programs
I offer book reading and science workshops for schools, libraries and home school groups. Programs generally run 45 minutes to an hour. Below, please find a sampling of programs I offer. Each can be tailored to suit the needs of your group.
Topics covered include the function of flowers, parts of flowers, the importance of pollinators and how pollination works. Options for this program include a number of hands-on activities: acting out the parts of a flower in a pollination game, dissecting flowers to learn about their parts (including use of dissection microscopes and sketching for older children, if there is an interest), a creative craft activity in which children draw flowers and match pollinators (in sticker form) to appropriately colored flowers, and discussion about writing and publishing books. Activities will be tailored to the needs, age-range and interests of the group.
Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate
Reading and Botany Workshop
This workshop is most suitable for children from first through sixth grade.
Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons/Comparative Anatomy Workshop
This program is best suited for children in first through third grades but has been adapted for older and younger groups.
In this workshop, we will review the bones in the human body and learn how they compare with those of other vertebrates. The topic will be taught through a variety of hands-on activities including Simon Says with bones, an opportunity for students to put together a completely disarticulated human skeleton, and the reading of Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons. Children will additionally have the opportunity to examine bones from a giraffe, a bat, a dog, a dolphin and a snake. There will be an opportunity for questions and student-lead discussion. Topics generally fall into the categories of how one writes a nonfiction science book, veterinary medicine and human biology.
Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks and Chompers/Comparative Anatomy Workshop
This program is best suited for children in first through fourth grades but has been adapted for older and younger groups.
In this workshop, focused around the reading of Tooth by Tooth, children will learn about the types of teeth mammals have and how the differences in structure suit the diets of carnivores, herbivores and omnivores. They will have the opportunity to hold and examine skulls of various animals including a horse, a cow, a rabbit, a dog, a woodchuck, a pig and a human. Students discover how to predict what an animal eats just by looking at its dental pattern. For younger groups, children will each play the role of a specific type of tooth, and we will work together to form an enormous, silly chewing mouth. There will be an opportunity for questions and student-lead discussion.
How are dinosaur bones similar to human bones? In this workshop, children will learn the bones in the human body and the bones in dinosaurs. They are—remarkably—very much the same, with minor variations. The topic will be taught through a variety of hands-on activities including a Simon Says game with bones, an activity involving putting together a disarticulated skeleton to form a dinosaur, a close look at some real animal fossils, and a reading of Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones. There will be an opportunity for questions and student-lead discussion. Topics generally fall into the categories of how one writes a nonfiction science book, dinosaur facts and human biology.
Fossil by Fossil: Comparing Dinosaur Bones/Comparative Anatomy Workshop
This program is best suited for children in first through fourth grades but can be adapted for older and younger groups.
Meet the Vet
This program is best suited for children in preschool through second grade.
In this workshop children bring stuffed animals and invent medical issues for them. Using real instruments and supplies, I walk the students through how I would diagnose and treat their sick “pets” as though they were real. Children participate in hands-on activities such as pretending to wash up for surgery, adjusting the anesthesia machine, giving vaccines and interpreting (real) x-rays. In the process, they learn about anatomy, physiology and disease, and about how similar our bodies are to animals’ bodies. There will be an opportunity for students to listen to their own hearts with stethoscopes and ask questions.
Field Guide to a School Yard/Classification and Identification of Plants and Animals
This program is best suited to children in third through sixth grades, though I also do a version of this program with undergraduate college students. It can be adapted for audiences of any age, including teacher training programs.
In this workshop, I teach students to identify the interesting plants and animals that live in their school yards. We start with a discussion inside of what animals and plants they think they will find outside. We then classify the animals, learning the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates and the categories in each, and learn the different categories of plants. And then we go outside to observe and identify what is living around them. Most school yards have fascinating plants, including ones that have natural dyes children can draw with and ones that are edible. Teachers often use this program as a start to a “field guide to the school yard” project in which the students do further research, writing, and drawing to create their own individual or group field guides.