Investigation Nature

Investigation Nature is ALT’s youth programming for students in grades 3rd-8th with expansion capabilities up through 12th grade on some programs. All our programs are written with STEM and the PA Education Standards in mind and are designed to run 45-60 minutes.  These programs are a great for community groups, after school programs and classroom visits.

Contact Julie to learn more about this programming.

Grades 3 – 6:

  • Animal Athletes: Who can hold their breath longer, you or a turtle? Students will compare their skills to some Pennsylvania animals to see how they stack up!
  • Apex Animals: What does it take to be on top? Students will explore some animals that reside on the top of their food chains and learn why they’re so important.
  • Butter: How did we make butter a hundred years ago? In this lesson, students will help to hand churn butter and compare it to a store-bought variety.**
  • Can You Plant a Pizza?: How does a pizza come from a plant? Students will explore the origins of pizza ingredients before making and enjoying “pizza on a stick”! They will even plant their own pizza garden!**
  • Cold Concoctions: Students will explore the origins of ice and a few different ice types before using science to create homemade ice cream in a bag!**
  • Footprint Forensics: What creatures have been bounding or waddling when we’re not around? Students will learn the different gaits and strides of Pennsylvania animals, as well as learn some basic track identification skills.
  • Geocaching 101: Geocaching is an outdoor “treasure hunt” that has become a very popular hobby! Exactly what is it and how do you start? Learn the basics of geocaching and even use a GPS unit to find your first caches!*
  • Lollipop Lab: Are there plants in lollipops? Students will learn how the ingredients used in making lollipops are harvested from plants! Students will then become “flavorologists” and create a brand-new lollipop flavor!**
  • Nature Games: How can games teach us about important processes and systems in nature? Find out in this activity and game based lesson.
  • Orienteering: Where are we going and how do we get there? Students will explore how to read maps and compasses and complete an orienteering course!
  • Organic Fiesta: What does it mean to be organic? In this lesson, students will help to create organic salsa and compare it to a store-bought variety.**
  • Owl Pellet Lab: An owl pellet can tell a story about a day in the life of an owl! What creatures did the owl have for dinner? Students will dissect owl pellets and identify the bones and fur left behind to determine what creature the owl devoured!
  • Solar Snacks: How can we harness the power of the sun to cook a snack? Students will learn how solar cooking can be useful in a survival situation and they will even create their own solar oven from a pizza box!**
  • Starry Skies: What stories do the stars tell us? Students will learn the folklore behind some commonly seen constellations and have the chance to create their own constellation and folklore behind it!
  • Sticky Science: How does a bee make honey? Is all honey the same? Students will learn how honey is created by bees and processed by humans. Then they will enjoy taste testing processed verses raw honey.**
  • Traditional Native American Games: What games did Native American children enjoy long ago? Students will participate in traditional games played by Native American children. Some of the games are still enjoyed today!
* Denotes the need for a PowerPoint projection space
** Denotes lesson that is part of the Snack Science series

Grades 6-12:

  • GPS Technology and Geocaching in the Field: Nearly everyone has a smartphone these days and by tapping into the need to be connected to our technology this lesson uses a popular international game called Geocaching to introduce students to the idea of GPS technology and its applications in research, citizen science and conservation. Students will learn the basic principles of triangulation in relation to GPS technology and how that can in turn be utilized to accurately pinpoint things such as collection sites, habitat boundaries and even individuals of a particular species.  Using the game parameters of Geocaching students will locate a variety of objects and boundaries on their school grounds simulating actual data collection techniques of field scientists.
  • Model My Nest: During this two-visit program, students will be presented with a set of problems various local bird species must overcome to fledge a brood of young. Each student will then come up with their own version of a nest based on the materials available in each species’ habitat.  During the second visit, natural materials such as sticks, twigs, moss, lichen, grass and seed down will be brought in by ALT staff and the budding engineers will create their nests utilizing a small wire nest frame as a base.  Nests will then be tested for size, strength, durability and structural integrity after which students will have the opportunity to redesign their nest based on their initial data.  This program can be run as young as 2nd grade!
  • Riverton: A Watershed Redevelopment Project: Incorporating the technology based scavenger hunt model of Geocaching, students will be given the opportunity to redevelop their dying river port town by making seemingly small choices first as small groups and then defending their choices to a town council. Each decision has an impact on their local watershed and will be depicted visually in a watershed puzzle.  Upon coming to an agreement on their small decisions students will determine if their decisions, although small, had a positive, negative or null impact on their watershed as a whole, and locally at their port site.  A group discussion on their choices and impacts will help students realize their influence on the environment through everyday decisions.  Best for students grades 4 and up.