Ed Programs- Activities and Lessons

This page contains interdisciplinary, outdoor-focused activities and lesson plans developed by Blandy's education team through a variety of grant and partnership projects. While upper elementary grade levels (3rd, 4th, 5th) are targeted with the lesson plans, many can be easily adjusted for other grade levels or learning needs. 

As always, please contact us with any questions you have about our programs or any of the activities and resources.

Habitats, Pollination, Insect and Plant Adaptations (created for 4th grade)

 Activity      Investigative Question(s) Link to Lesson 
What Plants are Good for Pollinators? What plants should we choose for a pollinator garden?  What Plants for Pollinators? Lesson 
What Plant Where? What is a plant’s role in its habitat? What are some physical features that can be considered when choosing plants for a native garden? What Plant Where Lesson 
Habitat Mapping What is a habitat? Do all habitats look alike? How does water flow in a habitat? Habitat Mapping Lesson 
Insect Adaptations What are some adaptations that insects have that help them to feed on different foods and from different parts of plants, especially flowers? Insect Adaptations Lesson 
Pollination Station  What plants do pollinatorsvisit the most? What types of organisms pollinate plants? What can this tell us about plant and pollinator diversity? Pollination Station Lesson 
Lepidoptera Life Cycle Timeline How do butterfly and moth life cycles differ? What are the host plants for different types of moths and butterflies? Lepidopteran Life Cycle Timeline

Place-based Watershed Awareness (Including SOLs for 3rd - 6th)

Activity Investigative Question Link to Lesson
Watershed Models (Including SOLs for 4th - 6th) What is a watershed?  Do all watersheds look the same? Watershed Model 
Water Cycle- Incredible Journey (SOLs for 3rd) How does water move through the water cycle?  Incredible Journey
Schoolyard Surfaces (including SOLs for 3rd - 6th) How does water move over permeable and impermeable surfaces? Schoolyard Surfaces
Roof Models (SOLs for 4th) How does water move over roofs and what is the impact of water run-off from roofs on erosion?  Roof Models
Runaway Rain- Word Problems (SOLs for 4th) How many gallons of water fall on your roof in a month?  Runaway Rain- Word Problems


Literacy, Mathematics, and Observation Skills through Tree Investigations (created for 3rd grade)

Activity Investigative Question(s) Link to Lesson 
Evergreen Tree ID (SOLs for 3rd) What are evergreen trees? How do we identify them? Evergreen Tree ID lesson 
Classification of Trees and Leaves (SOLs for 3rd) How do scientists identify trees? Tree ID Lesson
Using a Field Guide to Identify Trees (SOLs for 3rd) How do we use a non-fiction book to learn about trees and their uses? Using a Tree Guide Lesson
Seed to Superlative- Tree life cycles (SOLs for 3rd) What are the stages of a tree's life cycle?  Seed to Superlative Lesson 
Investigating the American Chestnut (SOLs for 3rd) What is the American Chestnut and what were its roles in eastern U.S. forest ecosystems?  American Chestnut Lesson
Decomposition (SOLs for 3rd & 4th) What is decomposition? How is it important to a healthy ecosystem? Decomposition Lesson 
How the Forest Grows- with Trees of Virginia DOF book (SOLs for 3rd) How does a tree sapling compare to a mature tree?  How the Forest Grows Lesson
Forest Layers (SOLs for 3rd) What organisms live in the forest? How do the trees and the other organisms interact?  Forest Layers Lesson 
Schoolyard Trees in Winter (SOLs for 3rd) How are trees winter habitat for organisms? Schoolyard Trees In Winter
Schoolyard Trees- Measuring Trees at Different Heights (SOLs for 3rd) What are measurable similarities and differences between trees?  SchoolyardTrees- Measuring Lesson

Virginia Rocks and Geology (created for 5th grade)

Activity Investigative Question Link to Lesson
Field Geology What are the physical features of rocks in my schoolyard/backyard? Field Geology Lesson
Rock Density What is the density of common Virginia rocks? How do I use scientific tools to investigate density? Rock Density Lesson
Rock Cycle Analysis What is the rock cycle and how long does it take for rocks to form and change? Rock Cycle Analysis Lesson 

Science of Birds: migration and acoustics (created for 5th grade, does include one 3-6 lesson with social science connections)

Activity Investigative Question Link to Lesson 
Bird Spectrogram (SOLs for 5th) In what ways are songs of bird species distinct from one another?  Bird Spectrogram Lesson
Migration Mapping (SOLs for 3rd - 6th,VS, USI, USII, WG) How far and through what geographic areas and features do birds migrate? Mapping Migration Lesson
Migration Mapping Bird Information (see above) Great Migration Challenge Bird Info Cards to use with Mapping Lesson Bird Migration Cards
Bird Bioacoustics (SOLs for 5th) How do scientists use pattern and frequency to identify bird songs? Bird Bioacoustics Lesson