Classroom Programs

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* New programs Available for Middle School (6th – 9th grades): Biodiversity and Water. Quality Programs feature a 4-day in the class program and Field Trip to Oso Flaco Lake. 

We currently offer five programs at your classroom for students K-8th grades.

  • Mammals – Pelage, Skulls, Tracks, and Scat
  1. Birds – Our Feathered Friends
  2. Sand Secrets – Microhabitats for Invertebrates
  3. Observations and Deductions (formerly “Private Eye”)
  4. Remote Sensing and Biodiversity Monitoring
  5. Understanding Water Quality

Mammals—Pelage, Skulls, Tracks, and Scat

Approximate Length: 1 hour
Grades: K-8th
Cost: $90 per classroom (up to 35 students)
Note: 10% discount if you schedule more than 1 module per day.

The objective of this lesson is to familiarize students with local mammals, their diet, field markings, and ecological roles. The instructor accomplishes this through four activities:

  1. Facilitating a discussion to introduce the term “mammal” and discussing characteristics that make them unique to the animal kingdom.
  2. Providing a hands-on activity that introduces the students to “study skins” and the adaptive benefits of pelage coloration, from warning colorations to camouflage.
  3. Providing a hands-on activity that introduces students to “study skulls”. The skull exercise focuses on skull morphology (eye location, dentition) and the implications for influencing predator-prey relationships and diet.
  4. Introducing students to tracking mammals in the field by learning the animal’s characteristics.

Birds—Our Feathered Friends

Approximate Length: 1 hour
Grades: K-8th
Cost: $90 per classroom (up to 35 students)
Note: 10% discount if you schedule more than 1 module per day.

The objective of this lesson is to familiarize students with local birds, their diet, unique field marks, and ecological roles. The instructor accomplishes this through three activities:

  1. Facilitating a discussion to introduce the characteristics that make “Birds” unique to the animal kingdom.
  2. Providing a hands-on activity that introduces the students to “study skulls” and the unique role beak shape plays in their behavior and diet.
  3. Providing a hands-on activity that introduces students to the unique digestion process of owls through an owl pellet dissection lab activity.

Sand Secrets—Microhabitats for Invertebrates

Approximate Length: 1 hour
Grades: K-8th
Cost: $90 per classroom (up to 35 students)
Note: 10% discount if you schedule more than 1 module per day.

The objective of this lesson is to familiarize students with the origin and components that make up our sand in our dunes and local beaches. The lesson introduces the sand’s unique geology and the microhabitat it provides invertebrates. The instructor accomplishes this through three activities:

  1. Introducing the origin of our dune sand using our self produced DVD “Exploring the Geology of the Dunes.”
  2. Providing a hands-on activity where students analyze a sample of sand and learn about the component minerals.
  3. Providing a hands-on activity where students learn the basic characteristics of invertebrates then isolate the microscopic invertebrates that reside in an interstitial sample of sand from our local beaches.

Observations and Deductions

Approximate Length: 1 hour
Grades: 3-8th
Cost: $90 per classroom (up to 35 students)
Note: 10% discount if you schedule more than 1 module per day.

The objective of this lesson is to familiarize students with the components of the scientific method, specifically the development of hypotheses and the role of data collection through various methods of observation.

The instructor accomplishes this through an interactive process that includes introducing students to the concepts of developing a hypothesis and data collection through observations. This exercise includes a “guessing game” that challenges the students to make deductions about sample objects based upon their data collection.

Remote Sensing and Biodiversity Monitoring

Approximate Length: 4 hours
Grades: 6th-12th
Cost: 6th – 12th Cost: $165 per classroom (up to 65 students)

The purpose of The Dunes Center Remote Sensing and Biodiversity Monitoring Unit is to teach students the methods of biodiversity monitoring while at the same time challenge students to use these skills in the field to help them understand how important species diversity is to a healthy habitat and ecosystem.

Remote Sensing and Biodiversity Monitoring (Expanded Program)

Approximate Length: 5 hours (1 hour class periods and one 4 hour field study at Oso Flaco Lake)
Grades: 6th-12th Cost: $255 per classroom (up to 35 students)
Note: 10% discount if you schedule more than 1 module per day.

In the classroom, we will discover different biodiversity monitoring field methods and how scientists decide if an ecosystems is biodiverse. We  use these new skills to complete a biodiversity field study on our fiedl trip to Oso Flaco Lake.

To learn more about our classroom programs, please contact us at 805.343.2455 or email us at admin@dunescenter.org.