Workshops

Get the most out of your school visit by including an inquiry-based science workshop led by a member of the Museum's professional education staff.

Check suggested grade levels for workshops.

Montshire programs meet science curriculum standards for Vermont and New Hampshire.

VisitPlus Workshops

Choose from the following 45- to 60-minute workshops on a wide range of topics including ecology, biology, and the physical and earth sciences.

Animal Tracks & Signs

Students will learn about the behavior of local animals through the signs they leave behind. This program will introduce your students to the tracks of New England's familiar mammals. An indoor inquiry includes an up-close encounter with mounted specimens from the Museum's collection. Grades 1-3

Aquatic Explorations: Investigating Pond and Stream Life

Using microscopes and hand lenses, students will investigate micro- and macro-invertebrates that are found in our local ponds and marshes. Direct observations may include dragonfly, mayfly, and caddisfly larvae, as well as other invertebrates. This will help students better understand these animals' complex life cycles and the important role they play in an aquatic system's food web. Offered in the fall and spring. Grades 4-8

Balancing Act

This hands-on physical science workshop lets students investigates balance, center of gravity, and mechanical advantage. Students will use their knowledge of mechanical advantage and center of gravity to create a whimsical balance toy to bring home. Grades 3-7

Batteries, Motors & Bulbs

Students use batteries, motors, and bulbs to explore electricity to develop their understanding of complete circuits. They will create different electrical circuits to learn about insulators and conductors, voltage, series circuits, and open and closed circuits. Students that are well versed in basic electricity concepts will also explore parallel circuits and amperage. Grades 3-7

Blood & Guts

This human anatomy workshop focuses on the digestive, respiratory, and circulation systems. Students build a full-scale model of their body and see what makes them tick and gurgle. Grades 1-4

Build a Better Battery

How does a battery work? Students will make real batteries with a variety of metals and simple, safe electrolytes. Using multimeters they will measure the amount of electric energy their batteries produce in both volts and amps. This investigation also allows students to further their understanding of series and parallel circuits used to power simple electrical components. Grades 5-8

Cells!

Cells are the basic building blocks of life. In this workshop students will use compound microscopes to observe the differences and similarities between animal and plant cells. They will practice staining techniques to more easily observe specific structures in cells including the cell nucleus and cell wall. Grades 5-8

Clouds and Condensation

Students will experiment with moisture and temperature to create miniature atmospheric models in this workshop developed with support from NASA. We’ll create clouds and frost and discuss the interactions that produce familiar weather phenomena. Grades 3-6

Curved Mirrors and Focusing Light

Students will investigate how curved mirrors can focus light in often surprising ways. This effect will be further investigated as we integrate art and science in our work with anamorphic (stretched out) images. Grades 4-8

Daytime Astronomy

Through this exploration students will learn how the Earth's rotation determines the sun's apparent motion in the sky. Students will collect and record their observations as they track changes in the sun's position and shadows cast. If weather allows, students will view the sun with our solar telescope. This program culminates with students making a sundial in order to continue their observations at home. Grades 3-7

Deep Time: A History of Life on Earth

The earth is really, really, really, really old. This program will give students a sense of just how long 4 billion years is and how the Earth and life have changed over time. Through the use of images, along with rocks, minerals and fossils from the Museum's collection, students will lay out a timeline to visualize what scientists call "deep time." Grades 5-8

Discovering Density

In this workshop students determine how to can change the density of liquids, and discover how to use this knowledge for some surprising effects. Students will see how density is a property of matter and learn about solutions and concentrations. Grades 3-5

Engineering & Structures

Students will participate in individual and group building projects that demonstrate the strength of triangles, simple arches, and other elements of structural design. Grades 3-6

Exploring Air: Parachutes and More

Students will build and experiment with small parachutes and other paper crafts in order to discover the properties of air. Grades K-2

Go Fly a Kite

Students will learn about the properties of air. This program culminates with each student will building and decorating a kite made out of strong, tear-resistant material to take home. Grades 3-6

Hot Air Balloons

What's lighter than air? Hot air! Students will work in small groups building their own hot air balloons. The scientific concepts of density, heat, and other properties of air are revealed as students fly their balloons in the Museum's main hall. Grades 4-9

Insects

In this workshop, students will use microscopes, the Montshire's insect collection, and live animals to look closely at the creatures that really rule the world! We'll focus on the incredible diversity and fascinating structures of insects and other arthropods. Grades K-4

Investigating Earth's Energy Balance

Knowledge of how earth reflects and absorbs energy from the sun is crucial to understanding climate and how it is changing. Using handheld computers and other digital tools, students will measure the temperature and the “reflectivity” of different colored materials. Students will plot the data, reach conclusions about how materials respond to solar radiation, and discuss the implications for earth’s polar regions and the earth as a whole. Grades 5-8

Investigating Fossils: Tracks of the Past

Students get to handle real fossils from the Museum's collection while learning about plants and animals from long ago. Using plaster of Paris, students will make a "fossil" to take home. Grades K-4

Mirrors, Reflection, and Symmetry

This workshop introduces principles of light and reflection as students create images with flat mirrors. Students will also engage in hands-on investigations of the geometry and patterns of symmetry. Grades K-3

Mixing Colors

Focusing on primary and secondary colors students will be engaged in hands-on activities as they explore art and science through the colors around them. Pre-K-Grade 2

Outdoor Sleuths

Explore the Montshire's forests and fields in this outdoor investigation. Students will develop "sleuthing" skills as they use their senses of touch, smell, sight, and sound to discover the plants and animals that share these habitats. While practicing techniques needed to explore our landscape they will also learn to be good stewards of our environment. Students and teachers should be dressed for time in the field. (Please choose an alternate program in case of extreme weather conditions.) 75-minute outdoor program offered in the fall and spring only. K-Grade 2

Reinventing the Wheel

Students experience an engineering and design challenge as they use simple materials to "invent" a wheel-and-axle system. This fun, open-ended workshop is the perfect way to present the simple machines unit. Grades 4-6

River Formation

Roll up your sleeves for this hands-on workshop. Students will use stream tables to investigate how the force of water moves sediment, shapes rivers, and forms deltas. They will then zoom out and view satellite imagery of New England streams and rivers for a different perspective. Grades 4-8

The Rock Cycle

Students will handle and observe rock samples with microscopes as they investigate how and where New England’s rocks have formed, moved, and changed. They will learn about the volcanic origins of igneous rocks like granite, the layered formation of shale, and the dynamic processes that have acted to produce the most ubiquitous rocks in our region, the metamorphic rocks. Grades 3-6

StarLab

The StarLab portable planetarium program brings the night sky to life using a carefully designed program for elementary and middle school students. For younger elementary students, special focus is made on understanding how the Earth’s movement affects day and night. Middle elementary students begin to explore how the Earth’s orbit affects seasonal variations in visible constellations. For upper elementary and middle school students we might explore more advanced topics such as moon phases or the location of planets, depending on teacher expectations. Inside the dome, the program focuses on the current night sky with emphasis on learning how to locate key stars, constellations, visible planets and the moon. Grades 1-9

StarLab is sponsored this year by the Roesch Family.

Who Sank the Boat?

Students will experiment with different materials to find out what sinks and what floats. Children will then use aluminum foil to construct and test their own boats. As a class they will record and represent data from observations of their experiments. A reading of Pamela Allen's book, "Who Sank the Boat?" is included, which integrates science and children's literature. Pre-K-Grade 2

 

Montshire Presents! Programs

These 30-45 minute programs combine a staff-led multimedia presentation with artifacts from the Museum's collection. From natural history to the earth and space sciences, Montshire Presents! provides students with rich science content.

Plate Tectonics and Mountain Building

This earth science program will introduce students to plate tectonics and cover the last 600 million years of Earth history. Through the use of a variety of animations and current space-based imagery, students will discover how the movement of the Earth's plates during that time has given rise to the world's major mountain chains and ocean basins. They will also see where current earthquakes and volcanoes are occurring and how they relate to the movement of the Earth's tectonic plates. Grades 5-9

Rocky, the Puppet Show 

Who knew that rocks could tell their own story? This energetic theater presentation introduces students to the rock cycle in a fun, engaging manner. Rocky will talk about how rocks form and change over a long, long time. The program concludes with an opportunity to handle the rock specimens that were included in the story. Pre-K-Grade 3

Tour of the Solar System

Incredible images from recent NASA missions will send students on a journey through time and space, focusing on how objects in the solar system are organized and how planets are observed from Earth and spacecraft. Participants will gain a new appreciation of our cosmic neighborhood and how scientists explore far away worlds. Grades 4-9

Weather Patterns

This program will begin in the Museum's theater with an introduction to what causes weather and a lesson about how to analyze weather maps and satellite imagery. The program then will use the Museum's Dynamic Globe exhibit to further show recent weather patterns on a 30" video globe. Students will also learn to identify cold fronts, high-pressure areas, and storm systems using real weather data collected over the last six weeks. Grades 5-9

 

VisitPlus! Program Fees (2013/2014 School Year)    
  Student Adult
September 1–December 20 $8.25 $5.00
Winter Special: January 6–February 14  $6.00 $2.00
March 3–April 11 $8.25 $5.00
May 5–June 30 $9.00 $7.00

Notes: Admission to Museum is included in workshop fee.
Minimum fee: $125/class ($75/class minimum fee during January Winter Special).
Adult Montshire members will be admitted free with card (no discount or free admission for children of members participating in the program). Younger siblings accompanying the group will be admitted at the student rate.

 

Montshire Presents Fees (2013/2014 School Year)    
  Student Adult
September 1–December 20 $7.50 $5.00
Winter Special: January 6–February 14 $5.00 $2.00
March 3–April 11 $7.50  $5.00
May 5–June 30 $8.00 $7.00

Notes: Admission to Museum is included in workshop fee.
Minimum fee: $105/class ($60/class minimum fee during January Winter Special).
Adult Montshire members will be admitted free with card (no discount or free admission for students of members participating in the program). Younger siblings accompanying the group will be admitted at the student rate.