Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
School Programs
Credits for images in the composite, clockwise from top left: Courtesy of Katie Derloshon; Smithsonian; Maggy Benson, Smithsonian; Gale Robertson, Smithsonian.
Note to Educators
Q?rius and Q?rius jr.: a Discovery Room school programs will remain in a digital format for the start of the 2021-22 school year. Registration is open for programs from October 4-December 17, 2021. Decisions about programming formats for January through June will be made at a later date.
Digital School Programs
Live, online video programs virtually led by museum educators
Aligned with standards
Options for Grades Kindergarten through 12th 
Designed to keep students on task for:
 45 minutes for Grades K-5
 60 minutes for Grades 6-12
Programming and support materials are designed for grades K-12, with self-guided and live museum-educator-led options available.
Homeschool Days available the first Monday of the month, October 4, November 1, and December 6.
Free, but registration is required. Registration slots close two weeks before the program date.
Hours
Registered programs, 10:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. ET from October 4, 2021, to December 17, 2021. DCPS teachers please contact us if classes need to be scheduled at alternate times. 
Program Descriptions
Grades K-2
Animal Adaptations
During this staff-led program, students will compare and contrast animal specimens from our virtual collections to discover how different adaptations help animals survive in their habitat. Students will explore the different kinds of adaptations for animals who live on land, water, and in the air. 
Budding Botanists
During this museum-educator-led program, students will practice science skills by identifying patterns to help them classify and group plants like the museum’s botanists. Through the use of real digital collections, including specimens from the National Herbarium, students will explore why it is important to collect and study plants.
Discovering Dinosaurs
During this museum-educator-led program, students will make observations of dinosaur characteristics, discover how paleontologists learn about ancient animals by studying fossils, and practice some of the same scientific skills used by museum scientists!  
Grades 3-5
Insect Survival
During this museum-educator-led program, students virtually explore what makes an insect an insect, and why they are so successful (insects have more species and live in more places than any other animal!). Students will investigate and identify the survival techniques of the Carolina Sphinx Moth and the Tobacco Hornworm, exploring their adaptations using the scientific skills of observation and sketching.
Rocks and Minerals
During this museum-educator-led program, students will gain a better understanding of rocks and minerals, their uses, and how they are formed. Join us for an immersive exploration of some of Earth’s treasures in the Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals while using problem-solving skills to unlock the mysteries of these unique museum specimens.
Urban Habitats
During this museum-educator-led program, students will become sidewalk naturalists and meet both iconic and underappreciated plant and animal residents of the nation’s capital. We will discover how organisms survive and thrive in urban environments, while we practice field ecology skills and reflect on the ways in which our cities are part of the natural world.
Grades 6-12
Hot Potato: Climate Change, Food Systems, and You
During this museum educator-led program, students will investigate the connections between their lives and climate change through the lens of food! This interactive virtual program offers an opportunity to explore agricultural systems, review data, and learn about the relationship between climate change and potatoes. Together we will examine how scientists study food as a natural resource, and explore some innovative solutions that can have a positive impact on long-term food sustainability.
Human Origins: What does it mean to be human?
During this museum-educator-led program, students will explore what it means to be human through an investigation of Turkana Boy, a 1.6-million-year-old fossil hominin from Kenya. By examining virtual museum collections, students will gain a better understanding of paleoanthropology, human evolution, and how scientists reconstruct human prehistory.
Reefs Unleashed
During this staff-led program, students will explore biodiversity on a coral reef using the same methods as Smithsonian scientists. Students will practice science skills of observing, classifying, and quantifying organisms living on coral reefs using real data collected by field scientists with Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS). They will use their observations to understand how biodiversity is related to ecosystem resilience, and how humans are impacting these vital ocean habitats.
Formats
Zoom Webinar: Designed to accommodate classes, grades, or groups with 15-1,000 students. Students will not be visible to the museum educator or other students, but they will be able to submit questions in writing through the Q&A, and interact through polls. 
Zoom Meeting: Designed to accommodate classes of 15 - 35 students. Students will be visible to the museum educator and their classmates, and will have the ability to raise their hand to ask questions. In order to participate in this format, those registering will need to provide proof of parental permissions to participate in onscreen programs. If you would like to register for more than 35 students you will need to book a second slot.
Homeschool Day Zoom Webinar: Designed to accommodate individual students or small groups with less than 15 students. Students will not be visible to the museum educator or other students, but they will be able to submit questions in writing through the Q&A, and interact through polls. Homeschool Days available the first Monday of the month, October 4, November 1, and December 6.
How to Register
Registration is now open for all classes, groups, and homeschool participants from October 4-December 17, 2021. Register for Digital School Programs
Questions?
Contact School Programs at NMNHschoolprograms@si.edu​.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Email powered by BlackBaud (Privacy Policy, Terms of Use)
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
DONATE
1000 Madison Drive NW
Washington, D.C. 20560
Free admission. Open Wednesday through Sunday
10 AM to 5:30 PM, except Dec. 25
Smithsonian Institution
Terms of Use
Privacy Policy
Home
Press
Contact Us
Host an Event
Blog
VISITEXHIBITSRESEARCHEDUCATIONEVENTSABOUTJOIN USDONATE
EducationFestivals and Event SeriesLive Video ProgramsSchool ProgramsAnimal Adaptations (Grades K-2)Budding Botanists (Grades K-2)Discovering Dinosaurs (Grades K-2)Insect Survival (Grades 3-5)Rocks and Minerals (Grades 3-5)Urban Habitats (Grades 3-5)Hot Potato: Climate Change, Food Systems, and You (Grades 6-12)Human Origins: What does it mean to be human? (Grades 6-12)Reefs Unleashed (Grades 6-12)Programs for School Groups CalendarDistance LearningTeaching ResourcesYouth ProgramsFamily ProgramsProgramas en español para familiasAdult ProgramsProfessional DevelopmentWork Opportunities
HomeEducation