The Montshire offers different opportunities to engage teachers and students in hands-on science learning! School visits to the Museum provide exceptional opportunities to engage students in science beyond the classroom. Add the Montshire to your lesson plan today and discover how the Montshire is working to support schools, teachers and students.
Learn about fossils and more at the Science Discovery Lab
ViscoCity at the Montshire
Activities at the exhibition Discovering the Natural World
The Museum offers several popular options that allow you to customize your field trip experience to best meet your educational goals.
A School Group Visit lets you and your students explore the Museum’s many exhibits, inside and out. Students in small groups can view exhibits at their own pace and interest levels, while Museum Explainers are on hand to enrich the experience with special demonstrations.
NOTE: Currently, Science Workshops are only available for groups of 24 or fewer students. Please contact Anne Charron at 802-649-2200 x201 to learn about available dates.
Combine a visit with a hands-on workshop, developed to fit your curricular needs. Taught by the Museum’s education staff, these workshops incorporate inquiry-based teaching practices to help students gain insight into the scientific process. Science workshops are only available during the school year. Programs for preschoolers are 30 minutes, all others are 45-50 minutes unless noted.
Science Workshop Topics
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 3-6
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 3-6
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. 60 minutes
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
Rollways: Using tubes and tunnels, students will explore force and motion to create a large rollways. During the workshop, they will have many opportunities to problem solve, build and work with others to create interesting and exciting routes for their marble. K-Grade 3
Structures: Students will participate in individual and group building projects and an engineering challenge that demonstrate the strength of triangles, simple arches, and other elements of structural design. Grades 3-6
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.
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 3-4, and 5-8.
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. 60 minutes.
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 60 minutes
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
Ticks Up Close: Use microscopes to examine the museum’s tick collection as students identify key characteristics, adaptations, and different species of local ticks. We’ll use data to connect increasing tick populations in Vermont and New Hampshire to increasing tick borne diseases and see what role changing ecosystems and climate play. 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. Grades 1-9. Not offered currently due to Covid.
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
Weather and Climate: Weather and climate are shaped by complex interactions involving sunlight, oceans, the atmosphere, ice, land forms, and living things. These interactions can drive changes that occur over multiple time scales—from days, months, years, and beyond. In this workshop, students use local events and global data to begin to explore such changes. Students graph, analyze, and identify patterns in their data as they build comprehension around weather and climate. Grades 5-8.
School Day Group Rate
Science Workshop Plus Visit Package
Fall (Sept. 8-Dec. 17
$9.50/student, $6.50/adult (min. $160/group)
Winter Special (Jan. 3 - Feb. 11)
$8.00/student, $5/adult (min. $135/group)
Early Spring (Mar. 7-Apr. 8)
$10.50/student, $7.50/adult (min. $175/group)
Spring (May 2-June 17)
$11.50/student, $9.00/adult (min. $195/group)
School Vacations (Dec. 18-Jan. 2, Feb. 12-Mar. 6, April 8-30) and weekends
$15.00/student, $15.00/adult (min. $250/group)
Summer (June 20-Sept. 5)
Workshops not available in the summer
Planning a Visit
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Minimum of 10 people to receive group rate.
Currently there are no indoor eating options. Lunches and snacks must be eaten outside so please plan accordingly for the weather conditions.
School Day Group rates are not available during school break periods.
All reservation requests, including online, will be confirmed based on availability.
The Museum reserves the right to cancel or reschedule group reservations and programs due to outstanding circumstances.
For more information please call 802-649-2200 (Monday–Friday, 8:30am–5pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Montshire cannot offer free admission to members visiting with groups. Groups enjoy a deep discount on admission, along with pre-registration, orientation, and other supports.