The Arnold Arboretum offers field study experiences that complement life science studies in the early grades for schools in the West Zone of the Boston Public School system. Reservations are limited to the three weeks in May which correspond to spring MCAS testing. Please contact the Manager of Children’s Education to inquire about available space.
K1 and K2 (kindergarten) students discover the flora and fauna of the Arboretum in small group interactions with teachers and Arboretum guides. Guides encourage the use of expressive language to extend the vocabulary and capacity of the children to describe the natural phenomena they encounter in the landscape. Children collect an array of plant material and make an observational drawing at the conclusion of their hour of exploration.
In the science classroom, first graders investigate the organisms that live in a woodland terrarium and a freshwater aquarium. The Organisms field study enables students to discover parallel habitats in the Arboretum landscape. Students explore a woodland area and look for living things under a decaying log. Students also travel to the ponds in the Bradley Rosaceous Collection, where they observe other organisms living in and around the water.
Second grade students study new plants in their classroom, growing brassicas, bulbs, and wheat seedlings to learn about the processes of germination, flowering, and fruiting. The Old Plants field study takes students to the oldest trees growing along Meadow Road, where the biological functions of individual plant parts are reinforced through various activities. Students determine the extent of root growth, measure the circumference of tree trunks, pollinate flowers, and seek both seeds and newly germinated seedlings.