Programs for Schools—Science of Massachusetts

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

Mass Audubon educator leading a school program in a classroom

This multi-week curriculum 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.

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.

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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.

Available Lessons

K–Grade 8 • Introduction to Science of Massachusetts & Field Journaling

3 lessons

Available for K–Grade 2, Grades 3–5, and Grades 6–8, these short, introductory units prepare students for the content-based units to follow. Students meet the educators who will guide them through the units, then make field journals from recycled materials and learn how to use them to make scientific observations, note their questions, and record data. Lessons can be completed within one week or completed at a one lesson per week schedule.

Grades K–2 • Rooted in Science: Trees!

6 lessons

Trees provide much more than shade or pretty additions to city streets and neighborhood parks. This 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 science skills such as observation and asking questions, and encourage students to choose a tree near their home or school to chronicle throughout the unit. Lessons are designed to be completed over 6 weeks, but can be fit into any existing schedule.

Grades 3–5 • Energy on Earth

6 lessons

Learn how energy from the sun powers life on Earth, within living processes and through the technologies we use to power our communities. Each lesson explores one aspect of the energy cycle within biotic and abiotic systems, including an exploration of photosynthesis, energy cycling in ecosystems, and both 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.

Grades 6–8 • 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.

This 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 together 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.