Next Generation Science Standards
(NGSS) Programming



Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust in Woodbury offers an exceptional collection of field trip experiences to complement the Next Generation Science Standards.  Each focuses on the disciplinary core ideas and specific NGSS performance expectations best supported by Flanders resources.  Each allows students to engage in the practices of inquiry and collaboration in a classroom of nature’s design.

NGSS programming is offered through district or school contracts, with the aim of providing whole grade levels the opportunity to share a common learning experience.  Differences in curriculum sequencing are recognized in “Appropriate for…” statements in summaries below.  For further inquiries and contact information, scroll to the bottom of this summary sheet.


Animals and Where They Live
Targets Gr. K Standards
Students meet a variety of farm animals, learn what their needs are, and why they live where they live.  Students then go to a woodland habitat, and learn that wild animals have similar needs and live where those needs are met.  They record observational data, identify patterns and recognize relationships between what animals need and where they live.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  K-LS1-1, KESS2-2, K-ESS3-1 (2 Hours)

Beavers Change Their Environment
Targets Gr. K Standards, Appropriate for Grades K-3
Students gain an understanding of beavers, their survival needs, and how where they live and alterations they make to the environment allow them to meet those needs. Students visit a beaver habitat and identify evidence of beaver activity.  They argue, based upon evidence, that beavers change their surroundings to meet their survival needs.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  K-LS1-1, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS3-1 (2 Hours)

Grade 1
Animals and Their Parts
Targets Gr. 1 Standards, Appropriate for Grades 1-3
Students meet live farm animals, identify their external parts, and consider how they use their external parts to meet their survival and growth needs. They relate the structure of animal body parts to their function, and consider how humans might mimic these parts in designing a solution to a problem. Students apply these same concepts to wild animals in an observational discussion of several taxidermy mounts.  Students record observational data, identify patterns and recognize relationships between animal structures and their functions, and how these structures help in survival.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  1-LS1-1, K-2-ETS1-2 (2 Hours)

Nest Nurseries
Targets Gr. 1 Standards, Appropriate for Grades 1-3
Through discussion, and a scavenger hunt nature walk in a woodland ecosystem, students learn how in different species, nest building is one way that parents help offspring survive.  Working in collaborative groups, students then design and build a nest, using available materials, then compare the strengths and weaknesses of their designs. Students record data, identify patterns, recognize relationships between nest structure and function, and design a solution to a problem. Best experienced late fall and early spring.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  1-LS1-2, 1-LS3-1, K-2-ETS1-2, K-2-ETS1-3 (2 Hours)

Grade 2
Pollination: Animals and Plants Depending Upon Each Other
Targets Gr. 2 Standards, Appropriate for Grades 2, 3
Students learn the conditions needed for plants to grow, and how plants are dependent upon animals, such as bees, to reproduce. They visit a pollinator habitat, collect data on the diversity and abundance of pollinators, then organize and discuss their data as a group. They then plant sunflower seeds and use these for further investigation in the classroom. Best experienced in late spring or early fall.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  2-LS2-2, 2-LS2-1, 2-LS4-1 (2 Hours)

Habitat Comparisons
Targets Gr. 2 Standards, Appropriate for Grades 2-5
Students visit two different habitats, a forest and a pond. In each, they observe and record the diversity of plant and animal life. They  communicate their findings, organize the class data into a graphic model, then participate in an analysis discussion. They will also make conclusions about how the two habitats are different, and how they are the same.
NGSS Performance Expectation: 2-LS4-1 (2 Hours)

Follow the Water! Making Maps from Pond to Stream to Wetland
Targets Gr. 2 Standards, Appropriate for Grades 2, 3
Maps can show where land forms and bodies of water are in an area and how they relate to each other.  Students develop their spatial thinking by producing their own maps, showing the route that water takes on the Van Vleck property and the spatial relationship of three bodies of water.  They observe, describe, map, and then discuss, these three connected aquatic habitats.  The maps will represent the shapes of the bodies of water and their points of connection. In the process, students visit and observe three different aquatic habitats, a pond, a stream, and a wetland.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  2-ESS2-2, 2-ESS2-3 (2 Hours)

Grade 3
A Tree to Be, Life Cycles and Inheritance
Targets Gr. 3 Standards, Appropriate for Grades 3-5
Students learn that like humans, trees have life cycles that include birth, growth, reproduction and death.  They learn that trees inherit traits, and have similarities and differences compared to ‘parent and sibling’ trees.  After an introduction to the life cycle and stages of growth in common tree species, students find evidence of inheritance and variation by comparing mature and sapling leaves, then visit a forest ecosystem and observe and measure several trees in various stages of growth, leading to conclusions about forest health and factors that can influence tree survival in nature.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  3-LS1-1, 3LS3-1 (2 Hours)

Grade 4
Watch That Slope!  Stream Bank Erosion
Targets Gr. 4 Standards, Appropriate for Grades 4,5
Through simulation, demonstration, and on-site observation and measurement, students learn about soil erosion, factors that affect it, and possible effects of erosion on water quality of a stream. An engaging role-play is followed by a brief explanation of erosion, then a demonstration using models. At a nearby stream, students observe and describe the features of different stream bank sites, measure % slope of each, and draw conclusions about erosion vulnerability.
NGSS Performance Expectations: 4-ESS2-1, 3-5-ETS1-3 (2 Hours)

Grade 5
Wetlands, A System of Interconnected Spheres
Targets Gr. 5 Standards
Wetlands are vital ecosystems that illustrate well the tight connections among Earth’s hydrosphere, biosphere, geosphere and atmosphere.   Students learn why wetlands are important, then visit wetlands and document their biological, chemical and physical characteristics.  They conduct a series of water parameter tests, learn about some plant and animal species found in wetlands, and make conclusions about the food web and energy flow.  The data students collect will become part of an ongoing monitoring project at Flanders.
NGSS Performance Expectations:  5-ESS2-1, 5-LS2-1 (2 Hours)

The cost for each 2 hour program in this summary is $375.00 per visit for a class of 25 students (or $15.00 per student).  A  $300.00 minimum applies. 

For questions regarding curriculum: please contact Eileen Reed, NGSS Program Coordinator at 203-233-9745 or

To register for a program: call Amber McDonald, Educator/Administrator, at 203-263-3711, Ext. 12

Any other questions: should be directed to Vincent LaFontan, Executive Director, at 203-263-3711, Ext. 13 or