Programs for Schools—The Science of Massachusetts

An inclusive, nature-based, flexible-format curriculum for K–Grade 8

Hands of students collecting dried plant samples in the field

Science of Massachusetts is a multi-week curriculum that will engage your students in exciting, hands-on, nature-based science whether they are at home, in a nearby park, or in their schoolyard with you. This is a wonderful way to help your students get outside for a healthy dose of nature, even when field trips or in-person learning are not possible.

Support is available for districts with financial challenges, and our curriculum is designed to be accessible to all learners. Professional development will also be available to support teachers implementing the curriculum for the first time.

Curriculum Overview

Tightly aligned to the Massachusetts Science Frameworks, all lessons are designed with flexibility and ease-of-use in mind and can support various class formats (remote, hybrid, in-person). Mass Audubon educators can lead these lessons, or classroom teachers may use the curriculum materials to lead them independently.

  • All lessons begin with an engaging 5-8-minute video that introduces the topic and can be viewed together or as homework.
  • Students are introduced to scientists and students from a variety of backgrounds in locations throughout Massachusetts.
  • A field journaling assignment follows, inviting students to connect with the natural environment wherever they are, even from inside if they cannot safely go outdoors.
  • Following the field journaling assignment, a synchronous lesson—either online or in-person—allows time for students to share their observations and results from the activities they did, deepen their understanding of the topic, and practice their science skills together.

We recommend nine weeks for one full series, which includes one lesson per week. Additional units will be available in coming years.


There are two ways to use the Science of Massachusetts curriculum units, and pricing depends on which option you select. 

Led by Classroom Teacher

The classroom teacher(s) can lead the lessons, either online or in-person. This is the most affordable option, and good for those who are already at ease leading outdoor lessons and standards-based environmental education. Our materials are comprehensive and include everything needed (videos, field journal assignments, detailed lesson plans, and background materials), for one price.

These materials may be shared with any teacher within the same school. In addition, FREE professional development will be available to support teachers who are using the curriculum in 2021.

  • Introductory unit (3 lessons): $50
  • Core unit (6 lessons): $100
  • Full series (9 lessons): $125

Led by Mass Audubon Educator

A Mass Audubon educator can lead the lessons, either online or in person. This is a great option for teachers just starting out with the curriculum and can be an excellent way to introduce teachers and students to the norms and expectations needed for outdoor lessons and standards-based environmental education.

Pricing is determined by the number of classrooms scheduled and the percent of low-income students in the school. Curriculum is free with three lessons or more.

  • Introductory unit (3 lessons): $292-$450
  • Core unit (6 lessons): $585-$900
  • Full series (9 lessons): $877-$1,350

More Information & Scheduling

Please reach out to us for more detailed descriptions of each lesson and/or to discuss options for implementation in your classroom, school, or district. For assistance, please email [email protected].

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Available Lessons

Grades K–2

Discover Nature in Your Neighborhood • 3 lessons

Science helps us learn about the world around us and why things work the way they do! Join Mass Audubon educators to discover how to be a scientist exploring nature around your home or school. This unit introduces fundamental science skills and language at a developmentally appropriate level for K-2 students, with an emphasis on learning outdoors. Lessons focus on using our senses to make observations, practicing sketching and writing skills in a nature journal, and fostering excitement and curiosity for safe outdoor exploration. This unit lays the foundation to prepare students for additional Science of Massachusetts units.

Rooted in Science: Trees! • 6 lessons

Trees provide much more than shade or pretty additions to city streets and neighborhood parks. This 6-lesson unit explores habitats, adaptations, and life cycles, with trees as a unifying theme. With accessibility to all learners as a priority, lessons highlight the diversity of trees across various Massachusetts habitats, including suburban, urban and rural areas.

Nature journaling assignments highlight observation and other science skills and encourage students to choose a tree near their home or school to chronicle throughout the unit. This program is offered in a hybrid format: lessons are introduced by the teacher with videos, students complete an outdoor assignment in their field journals, and then a Mass Audubon educator leads a synchronous class to make sense of the data students collected and deepen their understanding.

Grades 3–5

You as a Scientist • 3 lessons

Develop your inner scientist! Learn how to prepare to safely explore outside, practice observation skills in nature, and create scientific drawings in a nature journal that you made yourself. Meet some local scientists as we explore what evidence-based science really is and how it applies in the real world.

Energy on Earth • 6 lessons

Join Mass Audubon educators as we learn how energy from the sun powers life on Earth, both living processes and the technologies we use to power our communities. Each lesson explores one aspect of the energy cycle within biotic and abiotic systems; including photosynthesis, consumers, decomposers, renewable, and non-renewable energies.

Lessons include an outdoor field journaling assignment (with an indoor alternative for those who cannot go outside) and an opportunity for students to share and deepen their understanding of these topics through discussion and reflection. Lessons are designed to be completed over 6 weeks, but can be fit into any existing schedule.

Coming soon: Grades 6–8 

Introduction to Field Journaling & Climate Change • 3 lessons

In this introductory unit, students will build the foundation for future Science of Massachusetts units by learning to safely complete their outdoor assignments and collect data from the natural world in their field journals. The third lesson includes an engaging introduction to climate change, with a focus on taking an active role in creating solutions.

Making Waves: Solving Climate Change in your Watershed • 6 lessons

Water is essential for life, but climate change is threatening water all over the planet. Understanding how water moves through our homes, neighborhoods, state, and world can give us clues about how to solve this enormous challenge. The unit focuses on exploring our local watersheds and water within our neighborhoods, connecting those watersheds to the global movements of water, understanding how climate change is affecting the water cycle, and working towards solutions to those threats.

Videos include an introduction to local youth making change in their own communities and highlights environmental justice questions woven through these scientific issues. Lessons are designed to be completed over 6 weeks, but can be fit into any existing schedule.