In the Walking Field Trip program, one to three classes from local schools walk to the Greenfield Community Science Workshop each day to take advantage of the rich learning environment there. Students, teachers, and accompanying parents get a chance to interact with the hands-on exhibits, view tiny scenes through microscopes, handle and ponder our enormous bone and natural artifact collection, and build a project or do an elaborate experiment. Students from kindergarten to eighth grade visit, and each visit focuses on STEM topics from the Next Generation Science Standards. Teachers can then continue work on this topic upon returning to their classroom.
Curriculum for the 2018-2019 school year includes:
- Kindergarten: Students learn temperature and heat by using thermometers to measure hot and cold objects, and then making simple thermometers out of small water bottles.
- First grade: Students learn about sound and waves by making three simple instruments – a guitar, a horn and a maraca.
- Second grade: Students learn about the three states of matter by mixing oil, water, food coloring, salt, beads, wood, ice and alka-seltzer tablets in a cup and carefully observing the interactions. Then they create clouds in water bottles and find out how clouds and fog are formed.
- Third grade: Students learn about force and motion as they build adjustable gravity powered marble rolls, and try to understand what predicts the landing position of the marbles.
- Fourth grade: Students learn wave properties through building a rotating string wave device using a hobby motor and battery.
- Fifth grade: Students learn the fundamentals of science experiment design by building a dual planter, in which one variable is changed between the two sides. They continue this experiment for weeks to come in their classrooms.
- Sixth grade: Students learn how lightning is formed by creating their own miniature lightning when they charge a balloon with wool. They also get to experiment with the Workshop’s large Van de Graaff generator, which can make sparks of up to 18 inches through the air.