Bartlett Through the Eyes of a Second Grader this Fall

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Thousands of Stamford’s bright second graders visit the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens twice per year, eager and ready to learn about the plants around them. While some have already begun learning about plants in the classroom and others have no prior background knowledge, the Bartlett Arboretum offers several fun and interactive activities to enrich their understanding of the environment.

The day starts at 9:30 a.m., where 15-30 excited and energetic second graders file into the Silver Educational Center. They are met with one of Bartlett’s educators, who are trained in teaching and experts in all things horticulture. The second graders will spend the first hour of their Bartlett experience in the classroom, where they’ll watch an interactive video explaining how seeds travel—through air, water, Velcro, and animal “tummy” travel. For the duration of their time in the classrooms, the children will work in teams to build a plant lifecycle puzzle, inspect different seeds through microscopes, and match seeds from the Bartlett campus with their respective travel type. By the time their hour in the classroom is finished, they are now experts at identifying how seeds travel.

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The next hour of learning puts their new knowledge to the test by allowing them to apply what they've learned outside on the Bartlett campus. An educator will guide the kids outside and teach them about various trees and plants throughout the arboretum, including maple trees, oak trees, ferns, and more! The second graders will get the opportunity to find the seeds they learned about in the classroom outside and identify how they travel to produce new plants. The students love getting to explore the beautiful Bartlett campus, forage for seeds, learn about new plants, and spend time outside. In the spring, they will come back to learn about flowering plants and pollination.

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This is just one example of how the Bartlett Arboretum partners with local schools to give back to the Stamford Community. The education program provides hands-on developmentally appropriate, nature-based programs to all age groups, public and private schools, after-school programs, Scouts, and home-schoolers. The curriculum is aligned with both Connecticut State Science Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. The offerings extend beyond just the second grade program—If you are interested in scheduling a school trip to the Bartlett or an offsite program, please contact our Education Director Mike Belletzkie at 203.883.4035 or mbelletzkie@bartlettarboretum.org for more information.