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Programs for 3rd-5th Grade groups

More than 1100 groups of area children and scouts come to the Tenafly Nature Center each year. With their boundless curiosity, they touch, observe and listen to the natural world. This year you can join our professional educators as they bring classroom concepts to life and lead your students in hands-on learning and close observations in our 380-acre living museum.

Our programs are designed to help educators meet some of the Next Generation Science Standards and the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards, and have been developed for students in 3rd-5th grades.

If a subject of interest to you does not appear below, please contact the Education Director for more information on how we can design programs to reinforce your curriculum.

You may also visit our After School Series page for information about our other offerings.

Field Trips for 3rd-5th Grade Groups

3rd-5th Grade Field Trip Pricing

   Half Day
 (1 program)
 Full Day
 (2 programs)
 Up to 20 students  $140  $240 
 Up to 25 students   $175  $300
 Up to 30 students   $210  $360
  • There is no additional charge for teachers and aides.
  • Maximum 1st-12th grade group size is 30 children per TNC educator.
  • A maximum of 120 students can be accommodated at TNC at one time. Larger groups can be divided between morning and afternoon, or scheduled over several days.
  • Programs require one teacher per class and one adult chaperone per five students who may attend for free. 
  • In order to obtain adequate staff, advance notice of additional students and adults is required. We reserve the right to limit the number of non-registered participants on the trail to the number originally registered on the confirmation form.
  • Please separate 1st-12th grade students into groups of 30 max (or one class) prior to arrival.
  • If your funds are limited, please consider applying for a scholarship (we strive to make nature accessible to everyone).

Current Field Trip Programs (All programs are 1.5-2 hours):

 Sample Schedule  Half Day
 9:15 am   Groups arrive at TNC
 9:30 am-11:00 am  Program Option #1 (ex. Animal Adaptations)
 11:00 am-11:45 am  Lunch Time in reserved space
 11:45 am  Group departs TNC
   
 Sample Schedule  Full Day
 9:15 am  Groups arrive at TNC
 9:30 am-11:00 am  Program Option #1 (ex. Animal Adaptations)
 11:00 am-11:45 am  Lunch Time in reserved space
 11:45 am-1:15 am  Program Option #2 (ex. Pond Ecology)
 1:15 pm  Group departs TNC



F
ield Trips Add-Ons

  1. Butterfly House (30 min.)
    (open Memorial Day-October)

    Come visit our new 12 x 24' butterfly house filled with native butterflies. This add-on offers visitors a total immersion experience as it introduces students to the wonders of metamorphosis.

    Fee: $1 per person

  2. Self-guided Seasonal Walk
    (all year)

    Grab a trail map and guide your students on one of our trails.

    Fee: Free
  1. Animal Adaptations
    How do animals thrive in such varied environments as deep oceans, harsh deserts, dense rain forests, and the frigid polar caps? Through skull examinations and a visit with TNC education animals, students will discover the adaptations animals depend on for their survival and success.

  2. Apple Cider Making (September-November Only)
    Students investigate simple machines and the differences in plant parts, as they use an old-fashioned screw press to make and sample fresh apple cider. In the process, they learn about the history of the cider making from colonial times to the present.

  3. Bird is the Word
    Students learn what makes a bird unlike any other animal. Through activities and games, classes will learn what attributes birds share with other animals and which adaptations set them apart from the various avian species. Students will see and touch artifacts before they go outdoors to search for our resident species and learn how to use binoculars. The program concludes with an up-close visit with a live bird.

  4. Forest Ecology
    Students explore the local forest to learn about the ecology of the plants and animals that live there. Learning to deduce the history of a woodland by “reading the landscape”, students uncover some of the differences between deciduous and coniferous forests by field-testing forest plots, studying the flora and fauna, and making field observations. Students will discover the cultural and natural history of plants, particularly trees, as we examine a tree’s life stages, following it’s growth from seed to maturity, finally, to decomposition.

  5. Geology of the Palisades
    Students will discover how the Palisades were formed, where its rocks and fossils come from, and what they can tell us. Students will learn to identify some household products that come from rocks and minerals, and will practice identifying common NJ rocks. We will discuss examples of erosion and deposition caused by the forces of nature and will reinforce concepts of glaciations, soil formation and land forms.

  6. Group Challenges
    Through problem-solving challenges and group work, this program will help your class recognize their strengths and practice their listening skills. Using their physical and mental abilities, students will learn how to communicate effectively with each other and cultivate cooperative skills.

  7. Have to Have a Habitat
    Students discover what animals, plants, and people need to survive and what makes a habitat a “home”. Venturing into the forest, your class will investigate wildlife homes and diets, and learn to identify signs of various species and how an assortment of factors control wildlife populations.

  8. Invertebrate Safari
    Students examine live insects in an introduction to the vast array of insect life. They will be taught where to find insects outside and how to identify them. By observing life stages and adaptations, students will learn to identify different insects in a variety of habitats.

  9. Leapin Lifecycles
    Students discover some of the amazing things that insects and amphibians do! They will learn about complete & incomplete life-cycles with a focus on the stages of metamorphosis. Meet our resident creepy-crawly friends and go for a tadpole hunt out in one of our ponds.

  10. Lenni-Lenape
    Students learn how early Native Americans utilized the natural resources in New Jersey. Your group will journey into the past, listening to a Lenape story, learning to play classic Lenape games of skill, examining wild edibles and medicines, and learning how Lenapes used the animals they hunted.

  11. Map & Compass: Compass Course
    Students learn the different parts of a compass, and how to use it to locate directions. After they learn about pacing classes will apply this knowledge outdoors on the trails on a pre-set course that runs students through different combinations of paces and degrees. 

  12. Map & Compass: Orienteering (Map Reading)
    Students are instructed in map reading and wayfinding techniques as they learn about 
    orienteering, a competitive international sport that combines racing with navigation. It is a timed race in which individual participants use a specially created, highly detailed map to select routes and navigate through diverse and often unfamiliar terrain. Classes will apply this knowledge outdoors on the trails as they use their map-reading skills to follow pre-set courses to find control points in sequence hidden outdoors.

  13. Maple Sugaring (February-March Only)
    Students learn about the history of maple sugaring in North America by observing a TNC educator tap our Sugar Maple trees. (We encourage sap tasting, if enough has been collected.) We demonstrate both Native American and colonial syrup-making techniques outdoors. We challenge students to try to distinguish between corn syrup and 100% maple syrup by taste alone.

  14. Outdoor Survival
    If your students were lost in the woods, would they know what to do? We will teach them to prepare for survival outdoors, using the “rules of three”. Students will have to cooperate and exercise group skills to construct a survival shelter. Extended programs include instruction and practice in applying map and compass skills and a demonstration of how to set and start a campfire.

  15. Pond Ecology (late April through early October)
    Using a variety of tools (dip nets, magnifiers, etc.) students will discover aquatic ecosystems and food chains participating in hands-on pond exploration. They will study diversity, adaptations and interrelationships among the organisms they find in the water, and will discuss how human activity impacts aquatic habitats.

  16. Seasonal Discovery (Fall/Winter/Spring)
    Students will explore the wonders each season brings to the forest. On a walk along the trails, your class will learn to observe and record temperature, weather, and wind direction. They will learn how each of these measurements, as well as plants and animals, respond to seasonal changes! Your students can bring this knowledge back to the classroom to make their own observations! 

  17. Sensible Senses
    Students learn techniques to improve their sensory observation skills and how animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways. After learning how our fellow animals use their senses to survive, we’ll investigate how we can apply their sensual adaptations to enrich our own lives. 

  18. Soil Ecology
    Students discover that dirt is an important part of our natural life as they “dig-in” to an in-depth study of soil. Your class will delve into the world of the earth’s top-most layer and learn to identify the components of soil. Using samples from the Nature Center, students will compare different types of dirt and discover that soil is a habitat that supports many forms of life. 

  19. Water, Water Everywhere
    Students help perform demonstrations, experiments and activities as your class is introduced to water molecules and the concepts of evaporation, condensation, precipitation, transpiration, freezing, surface tension. They will learn how plants and animals recycle water and how some animals live in and on the water. During a guided hike along the Nature Center trails students will play a game are designed to help explain how water is vital to all life forms.

  20. Weather or Not
    Students learn how the elements can be used to predict weather patterns and the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation has on our natural world. Through demonstrations and experiments, your class will learn how to use several basic instruments to measure and hypothesize future weather patterns and come up with solutions that reduce the impacts of a weather-related hazard.

  21. Web of Life
    Students will discover how energy flows from the sun through the food web. They will search for living examples of producers, consumers and decomposers in a variety of habitats. Your class will discuss the concept of food chains, population dynamics, adaptation and change. Activities include a comparison of herbivores, carnivores and omnivores by examining skullsgames to highlight predator and prey relationships and an interpretive hike.

Accessibility at TNC

Many of the programs Tenafly Nature Center offers can be altered to accommodate participants with special needs. We ask that you disclose pertinent information with a minimum of two weeks notice about any students that have any special needs (particular educational requirements resulting from learning difficulties, physical disability, or emotional and behavioral difficulties). This information enables us to make the necessary accommodations needed to meet the needs of your group.

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TNC to Go for 3rd-5th Grade Groups

TNC to Go programs are designed to be taught at your location, however you can also schedule a field trip to Tenafly Nature Center to participate in these same experiences.

TNC to Go Pricing

 60-Minute Individual Class

 (<30 students)

 90-Minute Individual Class

 (<30 students)

  60-Minute Assembly

 (>30 students)

 1st Program (NJ & NY)  $200  $225  $350
 1st Program (NYC boroughs)  $325*  $350*  $475*
 Consecutive Programs  $125  $150  $300
  • There is no additional charge for teachers and aides.
  • *Additional fee is included to the First program fee for all New York City boroughs visits to cover NYC permit requirements.
  • A mileage charge of the current IRS rate per mile round trip is added to the program fee if the location is outside of Tenafly.
  • One parking space must be provided near the entrance of your location (if no parking is available at your site then a fee will be added to cover any associated garage fees).
  • Consecutive programs are programs held one right after another, for different classes, in the same school with no more than a 60 minute break between two of the programs.
  • Classes with more than 30 students will be charged the assembly fees. An assembly program is one program, held for multiple classes, in one location, and at one time.
  • If your funds are limited, please consider applying for a scholarship (we strive to make nature accessible to everyone).

    Current TNC To Go Programs (All programs are 60-90 minutes):

    1. Animal Adaptations (90 minutes required)
      How do animals thrive in such varied environments as deep oceans, harsh deserts, dense rain forests, and the frigid polar caps? Through skull examinations and a visit with TNC education animals, students will discover the adaptations animals depend on for their survival and success.

    2. Creatures of the Night
      Do you know if you are nocturnal, diurnal, or crepuscular? Join educators from the Tenafly Nature Center and find out! Through live animal demonstrations, learn about local species that inhabit the dark. From owls to opossums, learn about the amazing adaptations creatures posses to roam the nighttime landscape.

    3. Endangered NJ
      Learn about the major factors that threaten animals with endangerment and extinction worldwide. Through use of artifacts and live animals, participants will learn the status of select native New Jersey fauna. Activities are designed to raise awareness of New Jersey’s over 60 endangered species, and inspire participants to practice how they can help prevent threats to local wildlife.

    4. Heavenly Herps
      “Herps” (reptiles and amphibians) are among the most under-appreciated and misunderstood species of the animal world. This program will introduce students to live snakes, frogs, salamanders and turtles and highlight the characteristics which distinguish between reptiles and amphibians.

    5. Incredible Invertebrates
      Students meet several live specimens as they learn what makes an insect different from other invertebrates By observing life stages and adaptations, students will learn how unique each creature is and why they are important to the environment and people alike.

    6. Oogling Owls
      Students learn how these nocturnal raptors have adapted to night flight, as they observe our live resident owl. Your class will learn about NJ’s owls’ status by discussing the pros and cons of human interactions with these powerful and efficient predators.

    7. Rapp’n with Raptors

      Students will observe several live raptors up close and learn about their behavior, physiology, adaptations, ecological importance and natural history. Hands-on artifacts and demonstrations will capture the imagination of young and old.

    8. Web of Life (90 minutes required)
      Students will discover how energy flows from the sun through the food web. They will search for living examples of producers, consumers and decomposers in a variety of habitats. Your class will discuss the concept of food chains, population dynamics, adaptation and change.

    9. The World Beneath Our Feet
      A hole in the ground is always mysterious as it invites curiosity and wonder. Learn about the creatures that live underground as we shed some light on the mysteries under our feet. Discover what other unseen organisms might share this world and how they affect our lives from below.
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