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Pollinator Matching Activity | 2nd grade

Bee carrying deposits of pollen as it visits a new flower

As we enjoy the blooms of spring, we have many creatures to thank. Show us what you already know about pollinators by playing a matching game! Then go on a scavenger hunt to continue learning about pollinators around your home.

Preparation: 

  • Print out Pollinator and Flower Sheets. Cut out cards. Fold each card at the middle line so one side shows the image and the other side shows the information. (you can tape, glue or staple so that it stays together). 
  • Print out Pollinator Scavenger Hunt Data Sheet to use after the matching game

Matching Game:
Show off what you know and match the picture of a pollinator with the picture of a flower you think they would be most attracted to. Check your answers using the information on the back of each image.

  • Go on a pollinator scavenger hunt! Look out your window or go outside into your backyard or neighborhood. Use your data sheet to record what you find. 
  • There are many more pollinators in the world than are included in the pollinator matching game. What new pollinators do you notice? Take the time to look inside flowers and smell them too!
  •  Choose one of the new pollinators you saw to learn more about. Then make your own pollinator card to add to the game!
    • You can use the pollinator and flower cards as a guide to make your own card. 
    • Cut a piece of paper to match the size of the cards. Draw a picture of the pollinator one one side and then flip over to write facts from the links below on the opposite side.

Questions to think about:
Have you heard of a pollinator? What do they do?
What are some pollinators that you have seen before?

More Information 
Click here to learn more about pollination and pollinators
Click here to learn how to help protect pollinators 

Explore more resources about pollinators in our Online Museum Store.

Post by Elise

Food Web Activity | 3-5 grade

Dissection of an owl pellet
Owl Pellet Dissection

Do you know what an owl eats? Today we are going to find out by dissecting an owl pellet! This will help us learn about the food web that an owl is a part of and how this web is important for keeping plants and animals alive. 

In this 30-45 minute activity students will learn how to identify an owl pellet and will explore the contents of an owl pellet virtually through a video. Based on their learning, students will construct a food web including a great horned owl with producers, consumers, and decomposers. (This activity was created for 3rd-5th graders.) 


Materials/ Resources:


Optional: Instead of virtually exploring an owl pellet you can click here if you wish to purchase an owl pellet to dissect at home for this activity. 

Post by: Elise

Great Horned Owl Activity | 3-5 grade

When the sun goes down and we head to bed, a different world is waking up! We may be able to hear some of these creatures of the night “hoo-hoo-”ing to each other as they wake up and we turn inside. How do they live? What special features help them thrive in the dark? Take a closer look at the great horned owl and practice your naturalist skills of making observations and matching form to function.

In this 45-60 minute activity students will learn about the ways in which the great horned owl is able to survive in its habitat using its adaptations. Explore the resources below:


Great horned owl
Great Horned Owl
Bubo virginianus

Teacher’s Guide
This guide helps to lead opening and follow-up discussions, and outlines NGSS connections.


Great Horned Owl Adaptations
This powerpoint includes thought provoking questions, facts, visuals, and videos to make the experience engaging and informative.


Owl Adaptation Worksheet
Students may use this worksheet to take notes on what they learn. A post-discussion helps students understand how adaptations can work in tandem with each other, and the differences between behavioral and structural adaptations. This activity was created for 3rd-5th graders.


Optional: Consider pairing this lesson with our Food Web Activity.

Learn more about birds with the resources in our Online Museum Store.

Post by Ellen and Elise

Observing Clouds Activity

Learn about different types of clouds, recording daily observations of clouds on your cloud chart, making weather predictions, and an experiment to make your own cloud at home!

What are clouds?

Clouds are made up of water droplets or ice crystals that float in the sky. We can learn a lot about the weather by looking at clouds.

Types of Clouds 

Types of clouds, including contrails, cumulus, cumulonimbus, cirrocumulus, nimbostratus, altostratus, cirrostratus, stratocumulus, fog, cirrus, altocumulus, and stratus clouds

Go outside and observe the clouds. Based on the diagram above, which clouds do you see today? If there are no clouds in the sky think about why that might be. Identify your clouds using this NASA Cloud Chart (Guía de las Nubes en español), and learn more about each type of cloud here

Each day go outside and observe the clouds for one week and record your observations in this downloadable cloud chart. Make weather predictions based on what you have learned about different types of clouds. At the end of the week you can look back on your weather predictions and reflect on if they were correct or not. Use your data to see which clouds were most common during that week. 


Download and print this worksheet to aid in your observations — or make your own!

Guiding Questions for Cloud Observations

  • Are they high, middle, or low clouds?
  • What do they remind you of? Do you notice any familiar shapes in the clouds today?
  • Are the clouds blocking the sun or moon?

Optional: Pair this with our Weather Observation Activity

Try This: Make a Cloud in a Jar! 

Materials: a jar, water, lid, and hairspray. 
Kid-friendly instructions for making your own cloud: https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2015/03/make-cloud-jar-kitchen-science.html

Post by: Elise

A Collection of Resources

4 blackbird eggs

We’ve compiled some of our favorite online resources for digging-deeper into natural history. From virtual tours of other natural history collections to digital field guides that can supplement your outdoor adventures, explore what our community (both local and global) has to offer!

Digital Field Guides

  • Animal Tracks: Nature Tracking compiles animal tracking resources in order to “make learning to identify animal tracks as easy and fun as possible.” We also have our own animal tracking activity, here.
  • Feathers: The Feather Atlas is an image database dedicated to the identification and study of the flight feathers of North American birds.
  • Amphibians: Get to know our slithery and slimy friends through AmphibiaWeb, an online field guide and database of amphibians.
  • Birds: Identify your backyard birds, keep track of what you observe, and get to know the many birds that you encounter any given day through the definitive resource for birds and bird watching in North America — the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and their Merlin Bird ID app.
  • Marine Animals: The Marine Species Identification Portal offers information on thousands of different species in the world’s oceans and seas.

Digital Databases, Virtual Tours, and More

  • Biodiversity Heritage Library: An open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives. BHL’s global consortium of natural history, botanical, and research libraries cooperate to digitize and make their collections accessible as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.”
  • Cloud Appreciation Society: Get a little poetic about nature and explore the Cloud Appreciation Society who urge you to “Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and always remember to live life with your head in the clouds!”
  • National Parks: Maybe your vacation was postponed, but you can still explore our National Parks through these virtual tours.
  • Duke University: A database of 3D images of specimens for “Educators Organizing Online Courses Using Biological Specimens.”
  • The American Museum of Natural History: AMNH hosts a long list of activities, articles, videos and more, for educators, families, students, and anyone interested in teaching or learning about science.
  • Brains On: An award-winning science podcast for kids and curious adults from American Public Media.
  • NASA: A vast collection of images, videos, and articles all about space.
  • Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: Virtual tours of the museum and its collections.

Local Resources

Post by: Marisa