Here are a few of our favorite resources right now:
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate is an incredible read for ecology and social science, told from the point of view of an old red oak! Check out the book trailer to see if it speaks to you (yes! They have a book trailer!) Now you can join Leigh Hayes from the Greater Lovell Land Trust for a read aloud with bonus activities. For more info, here is a teaching guide and activities to the story. It is a special story from the heart. Not to be missed!
Here is a picture leaf guide created by 5th graders at Sebago Elementary! And resources for families from Project Budburst about the leafing out of plants and the changing of seasons- seriously, check this one out!
With LEA original tree match up coloring page, kids of all ages can color, match and go outside and find the leaf buds, seeds and the leaves! Download and go! And a Leaves in the forest for younger elementary students learning about fall.
Here is a brief guide to Nature Journaling with tips and prompts and more resources to click through will get you and your kiddos started with a few simple tools: journal, paper, colored pencils/ watercolors and time! To the right is a beautiful and inspiring example by Kristin Meuser- believe me this takes some serious practice, and all we can do is start somewhere!
Scientific Writing for Middle School
Check out the “Findings from the Field” journal from our friends at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. Students from around the state contribute articles from their ecology investigations, go through a peer-reviewed process, and are published in the journal. Visit their site here to see the journal and learn how you can contribute!
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute has recently (late fall 2020) shared resources for teachers and home-school families, both stand-alone activities and longer ecosystem investigations. Check it out here!
In the spring time amphibians like wood frogs and yellow spotted salamanders are moving to vernal pools to breed and lay eggs! Of Pools and People is an incredible online resource with videos and tutorials about what vernal pools are and how to identify different egg masses by species (for older kiddos) and a kids page with a vernal pool comic, song and coloring book for younger students.
The Secret Pool read aloud video – a children’s story about vernal pools.
Frog and Salamander Egg Mass Identification Video for kids! And a longer video from Greater Lovell Land Trust for older kids and adults!
Weather: So cool!!
Mount Washington Observatory has LIVE facebook classes with worksheets and activities exploring various aspects of weather, very cool, and all the previously recorded videos are linked on theirwebsite! Brilliant!
General Nature Activities:
Maine Math and Science Alliance has a new blog post updated weekly for parents with kids at home: activities for indoor, outdoor and online STEM connections!
Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has some great printables if you have access to a printer!
More ideas for teachers and families from the Maine Environmental Education Association!
Resources from the National Park Service on connecting to nature while stuck inside, and a virtual tour of Denali National Park.
Struggling with setting a schedule through our days of being at home? Check out Chewonki for tips, curriculum and SO MUCH MORE! Like their travelling history program facebook live presentations coming right to your living room!
Virtual visits with the Boston Aquarium… from baby sea otters to turtle rescue. WHAT? SO COOL!!
And from Captain Planet (remember? Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart!?) So many resources and neat activities!
Do It Yourself Lake Science from Lawrence Hall of Science- yup, there’s an app for that. But, there are also activity printouts if you’d rather just play in the water (um, yes please) and easy experiments to explore runoff, adding nutrients, clear and murky water, life in the water, all sorts of things. Seriously, check this page out.
Crafts, snacks and activities for younger kiddos to get them outside (or keep hands busy inside on those rainy days)
Do you homeschool? With some middle school age-ish friends? Here is a citizen science opportunity that we regularly use with students: a forest inventory growth plot. We work with our district forester to designate a plot, and work to measure and upload trees to a state-wide database. We have a FIG plot set up at the Science Center so you don’t have to create your own! And we have materials you can borrow to measure and identify trees! Contact email@example.com for more information.
If you are keen on the citizen science aspect, Nature’s Notebook and Signs of the Seasons from the University of Maine are great ways to get kids (and adults) engaged in Phenology, and iMap Invasives is helping us across Maine to document the spread of invasive species across Maine and the rest of the United States.
As always, we are here for you as a resource, please reach out to us at LEA to access nature books, materials like microscopes, as well as curriculum and ideas for having a good time outside!