Your Learning Connection

We’re here for you! Even though our doors are closed, we’re still here to connect you to the inspirational powers of nature and engage you in learning. 

Each week, we’ll add new lessons, activities, and resources to support at-home learning, empower children to investigate nature, and help families find respite from today’s challenges. Look for your favorite themes and follow the links below!
 
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Backyard BioBlitz!

Join us in a Backyard BioBlitz challenge to geolocate as many signs of spring as we can! What is a BioBlitz, you ask? Watch this video to find out:

You can help us populate our BioBlitz ArcGIS Storymap by uploading photos of your discoveries straight from your smartphone. It’s easy. Just follow the story map link, then hit the “add a photo” button.

Title your picture and define your location, or you can let the map geolocate it for you. Your description can be brief and can include observations such as behaviors, coloration, unique characteristics, or something fun, like how you found it or time of day. Having trouble identifying it? Don’t worry, the name is less important than the details: What color is the bark? What shape is the tree? Are there any seeds or flowers present or underneath? What else do you notice?

Get outside and show us your finds (plant or animal), evidence (nests, scat, bones, tracks), and action shots (collecting, netting, trapping, exploring). Your images will be geolocated onto our ArcGIS story map along with other BioBlitzers’. 

On a smartphone? Use this link to our story map.

Curiosity is the key, friends. Slow down, look closely, and remember to LEAVE NO TRACE.  Have fun, and share your local signs of Spring!

Where Covid-19 is spiking, it may not be possible to get out at all, so pay close attention to guidelines in your community before heading outside. If you cannot get out you can use the BioBlitz storymap to explore virtually. If you can explore outdoors, remember to keep physical distance and stay at least six-feet away from anyone you aren’t living with. You can check out this link for more details and tips on getting outside during Covid-19.

Mark your calendars for September 26, 2020 and join us for our next our dawn to dusk BioBlitz in Odiorne Point State Park!

 
 

Seahorse Spotlight

Seahorses are one of the most strangely shaped fish and slowest swimmers in the ocean. You’ll often find them just hanging out, using their prehensile tail to grab onto things so they don’t drift away from their habitat. In the video below, SSC’s Henry Burke shares a closeup view and more fun facts about this amazing creature.

After watching the video, learn more with this fun seahorse shape activity.

Click on the links below for all of the materials you’ll need:

Seahorse Activity Sheet
Seahorse Tangram
Seahorse Diagram

Special thanks to SSC Volunteer Laurie, who offers you this reading of Mister Seahorse, written and illustrated by Eric Carle, and published by Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group.

  

  

  

Seaweed on the Seashore

Sometimes seaweed gets a bad rap! It can be slippery, slimy, and even smelly! But algae is awesome! It is able to thrive along the dynamic rocky shore and is a crucial part of the intertidal ecosystem. Seaweed grows all along the New Hampshire coast, providing food and hiding spots for many rocky shore animals. 

In this video, SSC Naturalist Daryn challenges you to find three different species of seaweeds. (Please note: NH beaches are currently closed to help support social distancing. Please check town and state regulations before heading to the beach.) 

In the meantime, we challenge you to check out these local species, and to make some sketches or biological illustrations of your favorites. Try labeling or coloring and send your favorites in to [email protected] if you would like us to post them on social media!

Want to find out the names of more seaweed species? Check out our Seaweed Word Search and What is a Seaweed pages for more fun facts. 

Challenge: Do you think you can find items in your household that contain seaweed? Hint: check out What is a Seaweed to find out what carrageenan is, what it is used for, and which items may contain it. 

 

 

Shapes in Nature Scavenger Hunt

There are tons of shapes to be found in nature, some of which can even be described in perfect mathematical terms, such as the Fibonacci number that describes the spirals found in snail shells, hurricanes, and our own hands. See how artist John Edmark is tapping into the underlying geometry called the Golden Property that determines the spatial arrangement of flower petals and pinecone scales..

It’s time to head outside and have a nature adventure! What patterns and shapes can you find as you explore? Can you check off all of the items in our Shapes in Nature Scavenger Hunt? What other shapes did you find? The examples in our scavenger hunt are starting points.  If you get stuck, cut out an example of each shape and hold it up as you hunt. What was the easiest shape to find? The most difficult?

 

Signs of Spring: Earthworms!

SSC Naturalist Daryn is on a mission to search for signs on spring in her backyard. After taking a moment to listen and look, she decides to observe earthworms and offers tips on how to find them and conduct your own earthworm discovery challenge.

 

 

Go on an Owl Prowl!

“Whoo Cooks for You, Whoo Cooks for You All!” Turn the volume way up for the beginning of this Nature Time Activity video, presented by SSC Naturalist and Big Fish Little Fish leader Emily. She went out to chat with some barred owls recently and got inspired to send you off an on owl prowl! Learn the calls of some NH native owls, scratch the surface of owl ecology, and then go out and prowl!  

Learn more about exploring nature New England from Mary Holland’s Naturally Curious Blog.

 

 

Virtual Tide Pool Exploration

Can’t make it to the rocky shore, but looking to for something new to explore? This Prezi-style presentation allows you to peek under rocks in order to learn more about your favorite tide pool creatures, such as where to find them, their unique adaptations, and how to observe them safely. The presentation can be viewed from beginning to end by clicking the arrows at the bottom of the screen, or you can bounce around to learn about your favorite creatures by clicking on the rocks and blurbs.

After exploring:

  • Compete against family members, classmates, or yourself to test your knowledge of the tide pools by creating a Kahoot-style game show!
  • Play hide and seek! Can you find the tortoiseshell limpet in the Virtual Tide Pool? How about the razor clam? 
  • Find creatures that look similar to each other. Which ones look different?
  • Think about which creature you think has the best camouflage. Can you draw a picture of an animal that is blending in with its surroundings?

Virtual Tide Pool Exploration 

 
 

Water Drop Challenge

Water can be found everywhere! It’s inside all plants and animals, up in the sky, deep in the ground, and in ponds, lakes and – of course – the ocean! Water is always cycling, or moving, around the earth and the atmosphere through processes like precipitation, evaporation, and condensation.

You can find more information on the water cycle on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Water Cycle page.

Water Drop Challenge

 

 

 

Let’s Go Exploring!

Heading outside and using our powers of observation is a great way to start the week!  When we slow down and take a closer look we may find some surprises. Can you go on an adventure to slow down and discover colors in surprising places? Check out this fun Colors in Nature Scavenger Hunt, or try out this First Signs of Spring Scavenger Hunt challenge. Be sure to bring an adult with you!