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Kids in forest with a magnifying glass

To help students actively engage with environmental science topics, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System developed Environmental Exploration. This free five-part series covers topics including natural resources, wildlife, energy, and water. Lessons are developed from Project Learning Tree curriculum and Garden STEM curriculum. These lessons conform to state standards for grades 3 through 5. In this series, students will become environmental explorers. They will be energy sleuths as they pinpoint sources of energy loss in homes, tour Alabama to discover different methods of seed dispersal, and take journeys with a water molecule to learn about the water cycle. Join the Alabama Extension team live via Zoom, and become an environmental explorer today!

Tune in Wednesday Mornings or Afternoons

When: Wednesdays, October 20 through November 17. The morning sessions is from 9 until 10 a.m. and the afternoon session is from 1 until 2 p.m. CT

Where: The webinars are presented through Zoom, an online video presentation format.

Zoom Registration

Registration is required to attend this webinar series. The Zoom meeting number and link will be provided upon completion of the online registration. Visit the links to register.

Morning Session 9 a.m.:  https://www.aces.edu/go/explore
Afternoon Session 1 p.m.: – http://www.aces.edu/go/ExploreAfternoon

Schedule and Topics

  • October 20 – Backyard Safari – Learn about wildlife by adventuring into your own backyard and discovering the organisms that live there.
  • October 27 – Water Wonders – Join a water molecule on its journey through the water cycle to return home to a cloud.
  • November 3 – Exploration Energy – Become an energy sleuth by walking through a home and identifying sources of energy waste.
  • November 10 – Peek at Packaging – Find out how people use natural resources by designing your own packaging.
  • November 17 – Seeds with Speed – Learn different seed dispersal methods by traveling across Alabama and seeing plants in action.

Any student that completes all sessions will receive a certificate of completion to celebrate their achievement of becoming an environmental explorer. Interactive activities, like word searches and crosswords, will be sent out each session. These activities reinforce vocabulary and concepts covered in each lesson.

State Standards

The following is a list of state standards for grades 3 though 5 in Alabama that the series will cover in each session of Environmental Exploration:

Backyard Safari, October 20

  • LS4.D: Biodiversity and humans
  • Performance Expectation 2-LS4-1: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.
  • ESS3.A: Natural Resources
  • Performance Expectation K-ESS3-1: Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals (including humans) and the places they live.

Seeds with Speed, October 27

  • 4.L.5B2: Construct explanations for how structural adaptations such as seed dispersal allow plants to survive and reproduce

Peek at Packaging, November 3

  • ETS1.A: Defining and delimiting engineering problems
  • Performance expectation 3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or want.
  • ESS3.C: Human impacts on Earth systems
  • Performance expectation: 5-ESS3-1. Obtain information about how communities use science to protect Earth’s resources.

Water Wonders, November 10

  • ESS2.A: Earth materials and systems
  • Performance Expectation 4-ESS2-1: Make observations or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
  • ESS2.A: Earth materials and systems
  • Performance Expectation 5-ESS2-1: Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere interact.

Exploration Energy, November 17

  • ESS3.C: Human impacts on Earth systems
  • Performance expectation MS-ESS3-4: Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.

Take the Survey

Did you join us for an Environmental Exploration session? We want to hear from you! Take just a minute or two, fill out the short survey below, and tell us what you think. These surveys not only help better our programs but also help determine federal and state funding. This funding allows us to continue providing affordable, research-based education to you and your family.

Take the Operation Environmental Exploration: A Project Learning Tree Curriculum survey.

More Information

Contact Mary Dixon, Karnita GarnerKerry Steedley, Tyler Mason, or Rudy Pacumbaba for more information about this series or to learn about other environmental programs offered throughout the state.

UESEP: Urban Environmental Science Education Program provides adults and youth with natural resource conservation strategies to improve environmental awareness and stewardship.

Stem in the Garden: The stem in the garden program increases awareness of science in agriculture to elementary and high school students by inspiring, motivating, and educating science teachers.

This work is supported by Renewable Resources Extension Act grant no. ALAX-ACES-4816/project accession no. 101297 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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