School Program Offerings

Our programs are interdisciplinary and include an outdoor component, weather permitting, so students should always be prepared to go outside. Schools typically select one program for a field trip, however, recently some schools have chosen two different programs on the same day.  Choosing two different programs eliminates the self-guided activities and does cost a double charge as an educator is with the children all day.  This has been very successful so if interested, either register online for two programs per class or call 201-460-4623 for availability and assistance.  We will do our best to complete all components during the length of your visit.  All programs include a 30 minute lunch recess.


Marsh Muckers *

Grades: K-1
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Visit the salt marsh and meet the animals that make this amazing habitat their home. Students will interact with live specimens, collecting and then sorting them according to observations they make. Later, through interactive storytelling, they’ll be introduced to the salt marsh food chain, a concept that will be reinforced with a take home craft. Includes field hike, weather permitting.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: KLS1-1, KESS3-1, KESSS3-3, K-2ETS1-2


Nature’s Course
Grades: K-1

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Follow the course of an uneaten apple to the soil beneath the tree it came from. Through participation in the telling of a fictional story students will learn the facts behind the recycling of nature’s waste. Students will also learn what differentiates nature’s waste from some of the contents of the trash bin at home.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: KESS2-2, KESS3-1, KESS3-3


Shell Stories and Scale Tales   
Grades: K-1

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Animals display an amazing array of adaptations, and the wildlife inhabitants of the salt marsh habitat are no exception. Interactive story telling and cooperative learning stations fully engage students in this exciting topic.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3

NGSS: K-LS1-1, KESS-2-2, KETS-1, 1LS1-1


Story of the Sun
Grades: K-1
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Follow Emile the Egret on his journey from his evening roost just outside the “big city” to his daytime feeding grounds in the salt marshes of the Meadowlands and back again. Through an interactive, multimedia story-telling experience, students will track the Sun on its apparent path across the sky and understand the important role this apparent motion plays in the life cycles of plants and animals.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.4

NGSS: KPS3-1, KPS3-2, 1ESS1-1


Incredible Insects

Grade: K-3
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Learn about the largest group of animals in the world. Classification, life cycles and characteristics will be investigated. Students will collect and study live insects and discuss their role in local habitats.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: 1LS1-1, 2ETS-1, 2LS4-1, 3LS1-1, 3LS2-1, 3LS4-2, 3LS4-3


Paws and Claws, Beaks and Feet
Grades: 2-3
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Whose feet are designed for swimming? Whose beak is better for eating worms? What good is a shell anyway? Find out how plants and animals survive in the salt marsh. Through cooperative learning and hands-on experimentation, students will investigate plant and animal adaptations. Includes field hike, weather permitting.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: 2LS2-1, 2ETS-1, 2LS4-1, 3LS4-2, 3LS4-3


Marsh Explorers *
Grades: 2-3
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program is not offered December through March.
Get immersed in the salt marsh habitat. Following an introduction to this unique wetland community, students will act as field biologists, collecting and identifying live specimens. Working with the live specimens, students will learn how to make observations and how to record these observations through sketching.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: 2LS4-1, 2LS2-1, K-2ETS1-2, 3LS2-1, 3LS4-2, 3LS4-3


Starry Faces in Faraway Places
Grades: 2-3
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program will have your students reaching for the stars! Through kinesthetic activities, students will experience the depth and dynamic nature of the solar system with an emphasis on the Sun and familiar constellations. Included in the program will be an investigation of the Earth’s movement and how this movement affects what we observe in the sky.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.4

NGSS: 3ESS2-1, 3ESS2-2


Water Watchers
Grades: 2-3
9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

If water is one of Earth’s most abundant resources why do we need to conserve it? This program answers this question. Students will learn good water use habits and participate in kinesthetic activities that help to convey several take-home methods for water conservation.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.4

NGSS: 2ESS2-1, 2ESS2-2, 2ESS2-3


Astounding Adaptations

Grades: 4-6

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

What helps animals and plants survive in the wild? Students will be able to answer that question after investigating movement, protection, and feeding simulations that include live animal interaction, tool manipulation and cooperative work. Includes field hike, weather permitting.

NJCCS: 5.1, 5.3

NGSS: 4LS1-1, 4LS1-2


Sustainable Design

Full Day Program – By Request Only

Grades: 4-6

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program addresses the concepts of sustainable materials and water conservation, and why they are important in our lives. Students will investigate alternative energy and renewable resources by touring our LEED platinum certified building. The students will then be challenged to demonstrate their knowledge by selecting materials and constructing a model of their own “green” building.”

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: 3-5-ETS1-1, 3-5-ETS1-2, 3-5-ETS1-3


The Meadowlands is For the Birds!

Grades: 4-6

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Why do so many birds migrate through New Jersey and the Meadowlands? Students will examine the geography of the Garden State and participate in a simulation to understand this phenomenon. We will also use map skills and math to understand the science of one bird’s migration. Be prepared to take a hike to find our feathered friends and the resources they depend on.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3

NGSS: MS-LS2-1, MS-LS2-4


Peek at the Past

Grades: 4-6

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Come discover how the early settlers lived in the Meadowlands. Students will become junior archaeologists as they uncover and analyze artifacts. This interpretive journey will allow students to identify natural resources from the past and present. Activities are adjusted seasonally.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.4

NGSS: 4ESS1-1


Solar Energy: Living with the Sun

Grades: 4-6

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program illuminates the various ways our nearest star affects life on Earth. Students will learn about the apparent motion of the Sun and how we use that motion to heat and/or cool our habitats. The tilt, rotation, and orbital pattern of the Earth around the Sun, along with the reasons for seasons, will also be discussed. Weather permitting, students will view our star with safe solar viewing equipment.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.2, 5.4

NGSS: 4-PS4-2, 5-ES1-2


Down and Dirty with Decomposers

Grades: 4-6

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program introduces you to the inhabitants of our compost bin and the benefits of composting. Students will conduct experiments to investigate how decomposers react to changes in their environment and while doing so, discover how these organisms convert kitchen scraps and yard trimmings into nutrient rich soil. The important role decomposers play in our local habitat will also be addressed. 

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: 5LS2-1, 5ESS3-1


Estuary Explorers *

Grades: 4-8

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program is not offered December through March.

Come discover the salt marsh! Field experiences will have students testing water samples, collecting live specimens and examining plant life. Students will also practice microscope skills in observing live plankton. Food chains, adaptations and wetland values will be discussed.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: 4LS1-1, 5PS3-1, 5-LS1-1, 5-LS2-1


Biodiversity Basics

Grades: 7-8

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

What would we do if tuna fish were to become extinct? Humans depend heavily on the Earth’s biodiversity. Join us as we discover what biodiversity is, its importance for humans and what we can do to preserve it. Students will participate in a bird survey in DeKortePark as well as a hands-on demonstration of a disrupted food chain and the consequences it brings to the ecosystem.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-6, HS-LS2-8


Eco-Engineers

Full Day Program – By Request Only

Grades: 7-8

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program on sustainable building challenges middle school students to contend with some of the complex questions that confront (and confound!) real-world professionals. Which building materials are best for the environment? Can we afford these materials based on our budget?  Utilizing computer based resources and our LEED platinum certified building as an example, students will answer these questions and more while designing a model home, the culminating project for the program.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: MS-ESS3-3, MS-ETS1-2, MS-ETS1-4


Studying Stars Near and Far

Grades: 7-8

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program will introduce students to our closest star (the SUN!) and the energy it emits. Activities related to the electromagnetic spectrum, spectroscopy and telescope optics will demonstrate how we currently study the Sun and other stars. Students will visit our observatory and its research-grade telescope. Weather permitting, we will also safely view the Sun.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.2, 5.4

NGSS: MS-PS3-3, MS-PS4-2


Biodiversity: Birds as Barometers

Grades: 9-12

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Students with a basic understanding of biodiversity will enjoy this program where they will learn how to conduct a biodiversity survey here in DeKortePark in order to estimate the “health” of the salt marsh habitat. We will also demonstrate through a hands-on activity how the disruption of different trophic levels affects the entire ecosystem. Concepts such as food chains, food webs, trophic levels and keystone species will be discussed.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: HS-LS2-3, HS-LS2-4


Fish Murder Mystery

Full Day Program – By Request Only

Grades: 9-12

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

In this challenging program, students are charged with solving an environmental scenario. We will introduce various water quality parameters and go outside to collect and test water samples from the park. Back in the lab, students will combine water testing, current events, and map resources to gather and present evidence to support a hypothesis for what caused a massive fish kill.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: HS-LS2-1, HS-LS2-2, HS-LS2-6


Urban Estuary Ecology *

Grades: 9-12

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program is not offered December through March.

Explore the interactions of the local tidal community. Through field collections, water chemistry and other observations, students will be exposed to the food web of an estuary and examine how humans have impacted the Meadowlands. There will also be a special lab focusing on the osmotic challenge of living in such a dynamic ecosystem.

NJCCCS 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4

NGSS: HS-LS1-2, HS-LS2-3


Heavy Metals: Up Berry’s Creek Without a Paddle

Grades: 9-12

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

This program will introduce some of the toxic metals of concern in the Meadowlands.  Students will conduct a bioassay lab, getting a first-hand look at the impacts of these substances on living organisms, as well as how scientists attempt to quantify toxicity.  Self-guided activity stations also address the properties of metals and bioaccumulation.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3

NGSS: MS-PS1-4


Power Trip: Exploring Renewable Energy

Grades: 9-12

9:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Take a real-world look at sustainability in the human environment, using our science building as a working model of green design principles. Hands-on activities will have students gathering data to analyze the factors that affect photovoltaic performance. Self-guided activity stations also allow students to experiment with wind turbine models in a challenge to engineer the best blades.

NJCCCS: 5.1, 5.3

NGSS: HS-PS3-3
 


* Note:  All marsh/ estuary program selections include a “Marsh Mission Scavenger Hunt” during which students will learn about the Meadowlands environment in an area of the park generally not visited during a typical guided program.  Your class will take part in a competition, a ONE HOUR TIMED EVENT, where you will be exploring the environment in special zones of the park with the help of an “Adventure Bag” complete with a park map/aerial photo map, with control points marked, a reference binder, a clipboard with answer sheet and check list, and a digital camera.  Each of the teams in your class scores points by locating as many markers as possible; answering questions; and providing Proof of Visit (POV).  The team’s check points will be verified by a judge at the conclusion.  In addition to a limited number of cameras provided during the scavenger hunt, students are encouraged to use their cell phone to take pictures as they complete this part of their program.

During the winter months or in severe weather, this portion of programming will be primarily indoors with alternate activities.

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