Learning Standards and Lessons


We provide hands-on experiences and opportunities for students to be actively engaged in the discovery process. Students will focus on such concepts as adaptations, life cycles, food chains and seasonal change and will make their own observations of plant and wildlife habitats.

Guided School Lessons help students understand the Disciplinary Core Ideas of the New York State Science Learning Standards, particularly across the following strands: 

  • Life Science
  • Earth Space Science
  • Engineering, Technology and the Application of Science  

These hands-on, inquiry-based lessons are designed to explore Crosscutting Concepts while introducing students to Science and Engineering Practices. 


Special Needs

We can accommodate a wide range of special needs, including students with mobility impairments and/or physical challenges. Please indicate any special needs your students may have on the Lesson Request Form.


Guided School Program Lesson Offerings


Exploring the Outdoors (Pre-K- Grade 1; 90 min)

An introduction to science that encourages students to use their five senses to make their own discoveries as they explore wild habitats. Hands-on activities help the students enjoy exploring the outdoors.

Birds (Pre-K – Grade 1; 90 min) (Grades 2-3; 2 hours)

This introduction to  local birds explores how birds are adapted for their habitats. Students will use their observation skills to investigate habitats for bird activity, calls/songs, and survival essentials, such as food and shelter. Hands-on investigation of feathers, beaks, feet and nests create a better understanding of how birds are adapted for survival in their habitat.

Insects (Grades 2-4; 2 hours)

Tools including hand lenses and nets are used to study these small but fascinating creatures. Students learn basic classification skills, discuss insect life cycles, and investigate the importance of insects in the food web.

Animal Signs (Grades 2-3; 2 hour)

An introduction to New York wildlife and its habitats. Students search for clues such as tracks, holes, and nests to learn about  animals; needs and interrelationships.  Seasonal changes in wildlife behavior are also explored.

Stream Life (Grades 3-4; 2 hours)

Discover the stream habitat from its currents to its wildlife. Students wade in the stream to collect aquatic organisms, which they observe and identify, and then draw conclusions about the health of the stream and its impact on the wildlife.

World of the Pond (Grades 5-12; 2 hours)

Investigate interrelationships within pond/wetland ecosystems. Students collect, observe and identify aquatic organisms, noting adaptations to the pond habitat. Discussion also includes human interactions with the pond community.


Here Comes Winter (Pre-K – Grade 2; 90 min)

Students share ideas on animal preparations for winter using fur and feathers and themselves. Next, they’ll follow animal tracks on a make-believe snowfield before heading outside to find the real thing!

Winter Challenges & Snowshoeing (Grades 3-8; 2 hours)

The lesson begins with an indoor discussion of animal habitats and winter survival adaptations. Outdoors, the students search for animal signs and tracks. When weather permits, students wear snowshoes and learn basic snowshoeing techniques.


Marvelous Maples (Pre-K to Grade 2; 60 min) – March only

Students use all five senses to investigate sap dripping from trees, smell sap boiling in an evaporator, and taste the sweet result!

Advanced Maples (Grades 3-4; 2 hours)

Students investigate roots, leaves and sap before playing Grow A Tree to construct a better understanding of photosynthesis.  Outside in the woodlot, students taste sap flowing from a maple tree before heading to the Sugar Shack to link sap to syrup via the process of evaporation and, yes, a final taste.


56 Game Farm Rd., Delmar, NY 12054
For Educational Program Information, email:  education@FriendsofFiveRivers.org
For General Information, email:  info@FriendsofFiveRivers.org
Phone:  (518) 475-0295

Charitable Tax ID# 23-7309978