School Programs

Environmental Volunteers offers in-person, hands-on science programs for all grades K-6 in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. These programs consist of standards-based learning stations, focused on a specific subject area appropriate to your grade level (see below). Each grade has at least one program available that directly supports NGSS, and each program can be adapted to best support your students wherever they may be with the topic. Off-site field trips and neighborhood nature walks are also available.

We also continue to offer a limited selection of distance-learning programs available for grades K-5, both as a live/interactive program for synchronous learning, and either pre-recorded lessons or lesson packets for asynchronous learning. These are open to all teachers in any location, and teachers can select from both single/stand-alone programs or a full program series.

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Program Overview

Environmental Volunteers’ School Programs are designed to support the science standards for each grade. If you are interested in scheduling a school program with us, please read the Programs By Grade Level section below to learn more about the subject areas and activities available for your grade. If you have questions about a specific program, please contact our School Programs Manager, at schoolprograms@environmentalvolunteers.org or 650-493-8000 ext 3.

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Jump to Programs By Grade Level >

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In-Person Classroom Programs

Each class gets an individual program, which runs for 90 minutes, with a volunteer to student ratio of 1:8 or better.  The program begins with a brief introduction. Students then rotate between 3-4 stations for 15-20 minutes each, and then engage in a 10-15 minute wrap-up. We have over 100 learning stations with interactive activities such as games, experiments, demonstrations, and encounters with animal specimens.

Important: Each classroom program should be scheduled individually as one contiguous block of 90 minutes and should not be interrupted by recess or other breaks

In-Person Off-Site Field Trips

Our standard, full-class field trips are 2 hours long and have a volunteer-to-student ratio of 1:8 or better. Our trained volunteers guide your students on a nature hike to explore the plant communities of the area, look for evidence of animals passing by, and discover the stories told through the local geology. Field trips are generally scheduled between 9:30am-11:30am, although there is some flexibility as needed, and can accommodate up to two full classes. The school is responsible for arranging appropriate transportation, and must provide 1 adult chaperone for each group of students.

Continuing in 2022/2023: Off-site field trips can be scheduled as a stand-alone program, and do not need to be accompanied by a classroom program. Let’s get students outside!

Please note: specific timing for the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve standard field trips are determined by the tides, and can range from 8:30am-2:30pm depending on the specific date.

In-Person “Nature in Your Neighborhood” Field Trips

Environmental Volunteers now offers the “Nature in Your Neighborhood” Field Trip program, designed to help students get to know their local city parks and open space areas. Small groups of students (6-8) will be guided by a trained volunteer during a 1.5-2 hour exploration of a local park. The small groups will be introduced to fun nature-based activities, and a chance to learn more about the plants and animals all around us. These field trips are designed to connect with any of the K-5 ecology-based classroom (or virtual) programs offered by the Environmental Volunteers, but can be scheduled as a stand-alone program. Schools will be asked to provide a field trip chaperone who can accompany each of the small groups. “Nature in Your Neighborhood” field trips can be scheduled anytime during the school day, though mornings are strongly recommended, and will repeat as often as necessary to accommodate all students in the grade. Each class should schedule their own field trip slot.

Virtual Synchronous Programs

Teachers in grades K-5 are invited to choose from a selection of live, interactive virtual science programs designed to support NGSS topics. There is at least one subject area available for every grade. Each program consists of a series of short (20-30 minute) interactive activities, led by trained and experienced volunteers. Teachers can either select one (or more) of these activities as a stand-alone program, or the entire 3-5 activity series. Please note that each class will need to schedule their programs individually (i.e. we can’t run concurrent programs), but each grade team should select the same program options. A limited number of Virtual Program slots are available for any school in any location, on a first-come-first-served basis. Preference is given to schools outside of San Mateo and Santa Clara county or schools for whom in-person programs aren’t possible.

Asynchronous Programs

Teachers in grades K-5 are invited to choose from a selection of pre-recorded science lessons from our Sprout Up Explores program or take-home activities designed to support NGSS topics. There is at least one subject area available for every grade consisting of packets of science activities that students can do from home. Teachers can insert them into their weekly curriculum however works best for their class’s schedule.

Common Core and Science Standards

Each of our programs support the Common Core and either the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS PROGRAM) or the California State Education Science Standards (EV CLASSIC). Several programs have the option of going on a field trip to a local nature preserve as a pre-or-post-classroom activity.

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Programs By Grade Level

More subject areas are being added all the time – check back soon!

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Kindergarten Programs 

In-Person: Investigation w/Snoop
In-Person: All About Birds*

Synchronous: Investigation
Asynchronous: Investigation w/Snoop

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1st Grade Programs 

In-Person: Structure and Function**

In-Person: Bird Traits*

Synchronous: Structure and Function*
Asynchronous: Structure and Function*

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2nd Grade Programs

In-Person: Biodiversity**
In-Person: Water on the Move**

Synchronous: Water on the Move*
Asynchronous: Water on the Move*

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3rd Grade Programs 

In-Person: Adaptations (select either a Baylands, Foothills or Marine habitat theme)**
In-Person: Weather and Climate

Synchronous: Adaptations (Baylands)*

Asynchronous: Adaptations (Baylands)*

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4th Grade Programs 

In-Person: Power Generation
In-Person: Earthquake Geology**

Synchronous: Power Generation
Asynchronous: Power Generation
Asynchronous: Earthquake Geology Field Trip

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5th Grade Programs

In-Person: Human Impacts*
In-Person: Marine Ecology**

Synchronous: Human Impacts

Asynchronous: Human Impacts

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6th Grade Programs

In-Person: Earthquake Geology**
In-Person: Marine Ecology**

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*Programs marked with an asterisk have a specific “Nature in Your Neighborhood” field trip option available (but all programs can add this component)
**Programs marked with a double asterisk have a standard off-site field trip option available