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Resources for Educators#

At a natural area, at home, or at school- the outdoors are for us to explore and steward. Check out videos, lesson plans, and activities for everyone who wants to learn about the places we treasure. 

Natural Areas Lesson Plans#

Explore and enjoy lesson plans designed for naturalists to teach students on school field trips.  These field trips can be modified for your school yard or classroom!

Kindergarten Lesson Plans- Connections In Nature#

Theme:  By using our senses and good observation skills we can learn how all living things are connected and compare the natural world to our lives.

Science Standards: K Life Science 2- Students can use the full range of science and engineering practices to make sense of natural phenomena and solve problems that require understanding how individual organisms are configured and how these structures function to support life, growth, behavior and reproduction.

1. Nature Web Investigators 

The nature web connects the sun to all plants and animals and is broken by the absence of any one component.

2. How is a Tree Just Like Me?

Trees are a lot like us once you get to know them!

3. Nature Hike-Use Your Senses 

You can use your senses to discover nature.

1st Grade Lesson Plans-Powerhouse Plants#

Theme: Plants are amazing living organisms and have special adaptations to help them survive in nature.

Science Standards:  First, Standard 2 Life Science-  All organisms have external parts that they use to perform daily functions.

1. Plant Survival: Superpowers and Needs

Plants have specific needs for survival and have unique parts (adaptations) that help them to survive.

2. Hitchhiking with a Green Thumb

Seed dispersal is key to plant survival.

3. Nature Hike-Use Your Senses

You can use your senses to discover nature.

2nd Grade Lesson Plans-Invaluable Insects#

Theme:  Insects are an important part of an ecosystem, providing valuable services to both plants and animals within their habitat.

Science Standards:  Second, Life Science 2.1  Plants depend on water and light to grow and on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.  2.2  A range of different organisms lives in different places.

1. Shake a Shrub: Insect Safari

Insects live everywhere and need a healthy habitat to thrive.

2. Pollinator Power: Symbiotic Survival Between Plants and Animals

Pollinators are important to the survival of plants, and in-turn these plants provide animals and humans with food and other benefits.

3. Nature Hike-Use Your Senses

You can use your senses to discover nature.

3rd Grade Lesson Plans- Ecosystem Structures: Riparian Investigations#

Theme: Creatures within the Riparian Ecosystem are specially adapted to their environment and some are markers for environmental health.

Science Standards: Third, Life Science 2.1 Organisms have unique and diverse life cycles.  2.2 Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves and cope with changes.  2.3 Different organisms vary in how they look and function because they have different inherited information; the environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.  2.5 Sometimes differences in characteristics between individuals of the same species provide advantages in survival and reproduction.

1. Building a Beaver: Riparian Adaptations

Beavers are perfectly adapted to their wet environment.

2. Cache la Cattails

Cattails are plants that have special adaptations for living in water.

3. "Every Drop Counts"- Dip-netting

Although it seems like there is a lot of water all around us, in reality there is not much usable, good quality water.  Therefore, "Every Drop Counts!"  Learn more about how the macro-invertebrates found in rivers and streams help to identify whether or not the water is of good quality.

Optional Activity: 

Avian Adventures: Bird Observations (hike)

Observing birds and their behaviors can give clues to their preferences and what species they might be.

4th Grade Prairie Lessons- A Slice of Prairie Pie#

Theme: The interconnections between biotic and abiotic elements on the prairie form a unique environment where plants and animals thrive.

Science Standards:  Fourth, Life Science 2.1 Organisms have both internal and external structures that serve various functions.  Earth Science 3.1 Earth has changed over time.  3.2 Four major earth systems interact.  3.3 Earth's physical features occur in patterns.

1.  Day of the Living, Non-Living, and Dead 

The living things (biotic) in nature would not exist without the non-living (abiotic) elements.

2.  Rockin' In The Rockies

Rocks have unique properties that create the foundation for plant and animal life.

3. Prairie Dogs: A Colony of Connections 

Prairie dogs have recognizable behaviors and live in underground burrows where they maintain complex social structures.

4.  Prairie Tales on Prairie Trails

A healthy prairie ecosystem is an important place where many special animals and plants make their homes.

4th Grade History Lessons- Past Lives on the Prairie#

Theme:  Pioneers and Native Americans contribute to a robust understanding of Colorado's past.  How have things changed and/or remained constant over time?  Students take a step back in history to discover their continued role in shaping how history is made and viewed by others.

Social Studies Standards:  Fourth, 1.1 History- Understand the nature of historical knowledge as a process of inquiry that examines and analyzes how history is viewed, constructed, and interpreted.  1.2 History- Analyze historical time periods and patterns of continuity and change, through multiple perspectives, within and among cultures and societies.  3.5 Economics- Understand the allocation of scarce resources in societies through analysis of individual choice, market interaction, and public policy.  3.6 Economics- apply economic reasoning skills to make informed personal financial decisions.

1.Local Economy on the Prairie

In the early 1900s, you had to sell and trade what you produced to get food and other supplies you needed.  You couldn't just go to the store!

2. Daily Chores in History

Everyone in the family, even children, had to contribute to the families' everyday survival and success 100 years ago.

3. Fun and Games in History

Even though children had lots of chores to do 100 years ago, they still found time for fun.  The games they played were different than many children play today, there were no computers, TV, or video games, and the games often had a real-world application that would help them later in life.

4. One-Room Schoolhouse

School was a lot different 100 years ago, but children still learned many of the same lessons.

5th Grade Lesson Plans-Energy Flows in Nature#

Theme: Energy is all around us in nature and guides the renewal of earth's processes through sunlight transfer, nutrient release, erosional forces, and the utilization of man-made structures.

Science Standards: Fifth Life Science 5.2.2 Matter cycles between air and soil and among plants, animals and microbes as these organisms live and die. Earth and Space Science 5.3.3 Earth's major systems interact in multiple ways to affect Earth's surface materials and processes.  Earth and Space Science 5.3.5 Societal activities have had major effects on land, ocean, atmosphere and even outer space.

1. Energy in Ecosystems

Habitat variations are due in part to how the sun's energy affects the abiotic and biotic components of an ecosystem.

2. The Composition of Decomposition

Decomposition allows nutrients to cycle and living organisms to thrive!

3. Weathering and Erosion Breakdown

The factors associated with weathering and erosion create new habitat within and environment.

4. Energy All Around Us Hike

Students hike around Dixon Reservoir at Pineridge to learn how energy has effects in this area.

Book your School Field Trip#

kids and adults looking into the distance with a volunteer pointing

After looking at the lesson plans above, book a school field trip through Engage. For more information, contact AJ Chlebnik, Public Engagement Specialist,

Book your Field Trip