Known nationally for our innovative outreach programs, the Montshire offers an array of options for your classroom or special event.
We work with you to strengthen the ecosystem of science learning through support and collaboration at any location — whether that’s in the classroom, community fairs, school open houses, festivals, and private parties.
Through our outreach programs, specifically designed to meet the needs of students and educators, the Montshire aims to engage young minds and enhance the education experience.
For more information or to book a program please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 802-649-2200 (Monday–Friday, 8:30am–5pm).
Bring the Montshire to your classroom
Workshops on Wheels
Transform your classroom into a bustling learning lab through our hands-on, inquiry-based workshops. (Also available for non-school groups.) Our educators arrive complete with an unusual conglomeration of materials in their teaching tool kit and work with one class at a time for a high-quality science experience.
Fee: $350/workshop plus travel. Price reductions are offered for groups that schedule multiple workshops on the same day: two workshops for $500; three workshops for $625; four workshops for $750; five workshops for $825 (certain scheduling restrictions may apply). Travel rates based on the standard mileage IRS rate ($.58/mile in 2021)
Montshire school workshops
Mixing Colors: Focusing on primary and secondary colors students will be engaged in hands-on activities as they explore art and science through the colors around them. Pre-K-Grade 2
Magnets: Students will predict, test and experiment with magnetism and discover what is magnetic in this introduction to forces and motion. Multiple magnets will allow for exploration of attracting and repelling forces. PreK-Grade 2
Exploring Air - Parachutes and More: Students will build and experiment with small parachutes and other paper crafts in order to discover the properties of air. Grades K-2
Mirrors, Reflection, and Symmetry: This workshop introduces principles of light and reflection as students create images with flat mirrors. Students will also engage in hands-on investigations of the geometry and patterns of symmetry. Grades K-3
Discovering Density: In this workshop students determine how to can change the density of liquids, and discover how to use this knowledge for some surprising effects. Students will see how density is a property of matter and learn about solutions and concentrations. Grades 3-5
Balancing Act: This hands-on physical science workshop lets students investigates balance, center of gravity, and mechanical advantage. Students will use their knowledge of mechanical advantage and center of gravity to create a whimsical balance toy to bring home. Grades 3-7
Batteries, Motors & Bulbs: Students use batteries, motors, and bulbs to explore electricity to develop their understanding of complete circuits. They will create different electrical circuits to learn about insulators and conductors, voltage, series circuits, and open and closed circuits. Students that are well versed in basic electricity concepts will also explore parallel circuits and amperage. Grades 3-7
Hot Air Balloons: What’s lighter than air? Hot air! Students will work in small groups building their own hot air balloons. The scientific concepts of density, heat, and other properties of air are revealed as students fly their balloons in the Museum’s main hall. Grades 4-9
Build a Better Battery: How does a battery work? Students will make real batteries with a variety of metals and simple, safe electrolytes. Using multimeters they will measure the amount of electric energy their batteries produce in both volts and amps. This investigation also allows students to further their understanding of series and parallel circuits used to power simple electrical components. Grades 5-8
Who Sank the Boat? Students will experiment with different materials to find out what sinks and what floats. Children will then use aluminum foil to construct and test their own boats. As a class they will record and represent data from observations of their experiments. A reading of Pamela Allen’s book, “Who Sank the Boat?” is included, which integrates science and children’s literature. Pre-K-Grade 2
Engineering & Structures: Students will participate in individual and group building projects that demonstrate the strength of triangles, simple arches, and other elements of structural design. Grades 3-6
Tinkering: Scribble Bots! Students will create a machine that makes modern art while learning how to wire circuits, offset a motor, problem solve, experiment with balance, deal with material constraints, and troubleshoot components. It’s a multi-disciplinary experience that students will not soon forget. Grades 4-8.
Tinkering: Wind Vehicles: In this workshop students will work in teams to design, build, and test a wind-powered vehicle. Students will utilize their engineering and problem solving skills to create a stable vehicle while optimizing their design for speed and distance. Students in grades 5-8 will collect and use timing data as they test, iterate, and improve their vehicles. For grades 2-8.
Tinkering: Chain Reactions: See what can happens as you work against the clock to build an oversized, collaborative Chain Reaction Machine inspired by Rube Goldberg’s designs. Working in teams, students will engineer and construct a machine that will be linked in a giant group chain reaction. This program offers plenty of opportunity for students to engage in problem solving and creative thinking while working with concepts of friction, gravity, forces, and motion. For grades 5-8.
Wind Turbines: Students will work in teams to design and build a model wind turbine and test (and re-test) to see how much electricity their turbine can produce. This workshop focuses on the engineering process including design, testing, and iteration. We’ll also discuss how generators work and touch on sustainable energy production. For grades 5-8.
Life Sciences (Including Biology and Ecology)
Exploring the Outdoors: Young students will immerse themselves in the study of nature in this outdoor workshop on the Montshire’s 100 acres. We’ll start off by doing a silent walk to sharpen our senses, then use microscopes and other tools to collect and examine insects, plants, and soils found in the meadow and forest. 75-minute outdoor program offered in the fall and spring only. Grades K-2
Insects: In this workshop, students will use microscopes, the Montshire’s insect collection, and live animals to look closely at the creatures that really rule the world! We’ll focus on the incredible diversity and fascinating structures of insects and other arthropods. Grades K-4
Seedy Science: Use the museum’s seed collection to explore plant adaptations and diversity! Students will sort and classify seeds, practice identification, and examine seeds and sprouts with hand lenses and microscopes. Grades K-3
Animal Tracks & Signs: Students will learn about the behavior of local animals through the signs they leave behind. This program will introduce your students to the tracks of New England’s familiar mammals. An indoor inquiry includes an up-close encounter with mounted specimens from the Museum’s collection. Grades 1-3
Human Body Systems: Students use real tools like stethoscopes and x-rays to explore the circulation, respiratory, and digestive systems. The workshop cumulates with the chance to assemble anatomy models as they learn more about how their own body works. Grades 1-4
Aquatic Explorations: Investigating Pond and Stream Life: Using microscopes and hand lenses, students will investigate micro- and macro-invertebrates that are found in our local ponds and marshes. Direct observations may include dragonfly, mayfly, and caddisfly larvae, as well as other invertebrates. This will help students better understand these animals’ complex life cycles and the important role they play in an aquatic system’s food web. Offered in the fall and spring. Grades 4-8
Cells! Cells are the basic building blocks of life. In this workshop students will use compound microscopes to observe the differences and similarities between animal and plant cells. They will practice staining techniques to more easily observe specific structures in cells including the cell nucleus and cell wall. Grades 5-8
Investigating Fossils: Tracks of the Past: Students get to handle real fossils from the Museum’s collection while learning about plants and animals from long ago. Using plaster of Paris, students will make a “fossil” to take home. Grades K-4
StarLab: The StarLab portable planetarium program brings the night sky to life using a carefully designed program for elementary and middle school students. For younger elementary students, special focus is made on understanding how the Earth’s movement affects day and night. Middle elementary students begin to explore how the Earth’s orbit affects seasonal variations in visible constellations. For upper elementary and middle school students we might explore more advanced topics such as moon phases or the location of planets, depending on teacher expectations. Inside the dome, the program focuses on the current night sky with emphasis on learning how to locate key stars, constellations, visible planets and the moon. StarLab fits in gyms, cafeterias, or any other large room with an 11-foot ceiling. Grades k-9 (StarLab is sponsored this year by the Roesch Family.)
Clouds and Condensation: Students will experiment with moisture and temperature to create miniature atmospheric models in this workshop developed with support from NASA. We’ll create clouds and frost and discuss the interactions that produce familiar weather phenomena. Grades 2-5
The Rock Cycle: Students will handle and observe rock samples with microscopes as they investigate how and where New England’s rocks have formed, moved, and changed. They will learn about the volcanic origins of igneous rocks like granite, the layered formation of shale, and the dynamic processes that have acted to produce the most ubiquitous rocks in our region, the metamorphic rocks. Grades 2-6
River Formations: Roll up your sleeves for this hands-on workshop. Students will use stream tables to investigate how the force of water moves sediment, shapes rivers, and forms deltas. They will then zoom out and view satellite imagery of New England streams and rivers for a different perspective. Grades 3-8
Evolution and Fossils: A History of Life on Earth: Students will examine the museum’s fossil collection as they learn how paleontologists use fossils to track evolutionary change over the Earth’s 4.5 billion year geologic timeline. Grades 5-8
Animals Up Close - Virtual Encounter
Meet one of the Montshire’s live animals or fossils up close, learn about each animal’s unique features, ask questions and share stories in these live virtual programs facilitated by one of the Museum’s Science Educators. For pre-k through grade 8. Programs are conducted using Zoom.
Fee: $100 for a 30 minute program.
Virtual Workshop Topics
Leaf Cutter Ants
Learn about the amazing world of social insects through a virtual visit with one of the Montshire’s favorite exhibits, the leaf cutter ant colony. Get an up close look at soldier ants and workers cutting leaves, and a chance to see into their fungus garden.
Frogs and Toads
Get ready for some fun as we feed the frogs and toads right in front of your eyes. Meet the museum’s amphibians, learn how to tell them apart, and see who’s got the fastest tongue this side of the Connecticut River.
Meet the museum’s giant Madagascar hissing cockroaches as they crawl all over us and try to hide up our sleeves. You’ll have a chance to see their extra-long antennae, spiky legs, and hidden heads way up close.
Come out of your shell and say hi to the Montshire resident reptiles – the turtles! We’ll look at our painted turtles up close, examine the bones of a giant snapping turtle, and explore the shells of other common turtles found in New England.
Meet the most secretive resident of our large fish tanks. Get an up close look at our crayfish — both in the water and out — as we count claws, look for gills, and discover it’s interesting life cycle no matter whether you call it a mudbug, crawdad or crayfish!
Explore a blast from the past by observing the Montshire’s fossil collection up-close! Students will be guided through observing fossils of plants, sea creatures, and dinosaurs as we look for clues related to the history of life.
Pop-Up Science travels to community fairs, school open houses, festivals, and private parties. You provide the space; we provide the tools for learning. We will customize the programming to fit your needs and audience. Multiple programs may be offered during an event to keep things fresh and fun. We bring everything!
Fee: $500 for 2 hours \\ $600 for 3 hours \\ $750 for 5 hours \\ plus travel
Travel rates based on the standard mileage IRS rate ($.58/mile in 2021)
Pop-Up Science Activities
Using simple materials like batteries and motors, families make whimsical art-producing contraptions. Challenging and super fun! Best for ages 8+.
We bring our one-of-a-kind vertical wind tube, you bring the ideas. The challenge: to float a flying contraption at just the right height in the tube using our diverse assemblage of reuseable materials. Requires access to an electric outlet.
Anatomy models can be assembled and disassembled to discover how our body is organized. Use real tools like stethoscopes and x-rays to learn about our bodies.
Batteries and Motors
Explore circuits through experimenting with batteries, motors, bulbs and switches.
Check out the world of the very small! Depending on the season we can provide different items to look at including insects, seeds, pond water or just a cool assortment of natural and human made objects.
Design, build and test a wind vehicle as you practice engineering skills.
(not currently being offered due to COVID safety precautions)
The StarLab portable planetarium brings the night sky to life using a carefully designed program for students, with the help of a Montshire astronomer-in-residence.
For younger elementary students: special focus is made on understanding how the Earth’s movement affects day and night.
For middle elementary students: explore how the Earth’s orbit affects seasonal variations in visible constellations.
For upper elementary and middle school students: dive into more advanced topics such as moon phases or the location of planets.
Inside the dome, the program focuses on the current night sky with emphasis on learning how to locate key stars, constellations, visible planets and the moon.
With only one class under the dome at a time, students become engaged in learning about the night sky. Your astronomer-in-residence will spend 45-60 minutes with each class (up to five classes per day). StarLab fits in gyms, cafeterias, or any other large room with an 11-foot ceiling. StarLab is sponsored this year by the Roesch Family.
Grades: K–8 Fee: $350/workshop plus travel. Price reductions are offered for groups that schedule multiple workshops on the same day: two workshops for $500; three workshops for $625; four workshops for $750; five workshops for $825.
For more information or to book a program please call 802-649-2200 (Monday–Friday, 8:30am–5pm) or email email@example.com