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What Teachers Are Saying...

What Teachers Are Saying...

"Not only the kids are fascinated by the birds, but so are my fellow staff members. As I was teaching on Wednesday, every staff member who walked by came in to see the lesson. Thanks for sharing this fabulous resource!" -Colette Babson, 5th grade, Reed Elementary

What Teachers Are Saying...

What Teachers Are Saying...

“My students were much more observant and their close observation skills were much better after doing Nature in the Classroom." - Heidi Barabe, 4th/5th grade, Washington-Hoyt Elementary

Students' Stamp of Approval

Students' Stamp of Approval

"Thank you very much teaching me these wonderful things about nature!" - McKinley Elementary

Nature in the Classroom

NEW (2021) Online Lessons: Nature in the Classroom Online

Nature in the Classroom is a multidisciplinary science-based curriculum for 4th and 5th graders in the Puget Sound region. The curriculum brings the rich diversity of Puget Sound's natural history into the classroom using teaching specimens from the Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound. Students will gain an appreciation for and familiarity with the natural world as they practice observation skills and study structure, function, adaptations and interactions among species. The lessons were designed in consultation with the Tacoma School District to ensure they meet 4th and 5th grade science standards.

Nature in the Classroom consists of three lessons, each 1.5 hours in length. Each lesson utilizes a different set of specimens for students to learn about a variety of animals. In addition to the Nature in the Classroom lessons, the Slater Museum now offers Leaves of Change, a fossil-based curriculum of the same length. More information about both lessons can be found at About the Nature in the Classroom Kits and Leaves of Change: a Lesson in Paleobotany.

Nature in the Classroom and Leaves of Change lessons may be taught by Slater Museum Education and Outreach staff, or teachers can check out the Nature in the Classroom kits for a period of time to teach the lessons themselves if they are trained to do so. To request a set of lessons taught by a Slater Museum staff member, email us at with the names of all teachers participating, number of classes receiving the lessons, number of students per class, and any requested dates. To check out the kits, fill out our Nature in the Classroom Checkout Form and email it to For more information on how to become trained to check out our kits, see NIC Training for Teachers.

About the Nature in the Classroom Kits

Important Documents and Help!

Lesson 1: Wild Things Nature Journals — Naturalists-in-Training

Lesson 2: Urban Bird Diversity — Birdiversity!

Lesson 3: Tooth Sleuth — Tacoma Mammal Puzzler

Beyond the Classroom: Continued Science Learning at Home and Beyond

Washington State Science Standards Emphasized in "Nature in the Classroom"


Scientific Thinking Skills

4-5 LS 1A: Plants and animals
can be sorted according to their structures and behaviors.

4-5 LS1B: Each animal has different structures and behaviors that serve different functions.

4-5 LS1D: Plants and animals have structures and behaviors
that respond to internal needs.


4-5 INQA: Scientific investigations involve asking and answering questions and comparing the answers with evidence from the real world.

4-5 INQD: Investigations involve systematic collection and recording of relevant observations and data.

4-5 INQH: Scientists communicate the results of their investigations verbally and in writing.  They review and ask questions about the results of other scientists' work.

Next Generation Science Standards Emphasized in "Nature in the Classroom"

4-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.