Science Through Nature is divided into quests, with each quest focusing on a different topic or concept. The quests are organized into four main parts.
- The Prequest Prep is written to the parent and highlights what will be covered in the quest itself.
- The Note to Nature Explorers is where new ideas will be presented. Each Note is written to the child either by Kate, a naturalist, or Nate, a wildlife biologist. Kate and Nate are fictional characters who run a fictional preserve called Hawk Valley Nature Preserve. While writing about their adventures at the preserve, Kate and Nate gently introduce important concepts about science and nature.
- The Nature Explorer Notes include all the information needed to teach your child. Outside sources are not necessary. We do highly recommend investing in a few nature guides, which can be found for free online or at your local library. (An extensive selection of suggested books are included, but are optional.)
- Colorful, engaging photos are spread throughout the Nature Explorer Notes. The photos expand upon the Note’s topics, introduce your child to new plants and animals, and highlight children exploring science and nature.
- The Nature Explorer Notes are meant to be read and enjoyed by parents and children together, although older children can easily read them on their own.
- Because the Nature Explorer Notes are living stories that contain all necessary information, they are best read over a couple days. Suggested stopping points are included for your convenience.
- A discussion section with questions is included alongside the Nature Explorer Notes. We recommend going through these questions with your child after reading. There are also suggested side notes to expand on what is covered in the note. For example, when Kate explains how Hawk Valley got its name, a side note suggests looking up red-tailed hawks in your nature guide to see if they live in your area.
3) The Adventures consists of exciting, hands-on activities that explore the concepts introduced in the Note to Nature Explorers.
- The adventures are written to the child, but are meant to be enjoyed by the parent and child together.
- Since the purpose of the program is to connect children with their world, the majority of adventures take place outdoors in natural areas. These natural areas can be local parks, National Forests, Seashores and Lakeshores, wildlife preserves, or even your own backyard. The adventures are designed so that no matter where you live you and your child can explore nature.
- Some adventures can be done indoors. These are perfect for days when outside is not an option.
- We have made it a point to include many different types of activities to satisfy all children’s natural inclinations. The child who loves getting her hands dirty, the child who loves creating works of art, and the child who loves experimenting will all find activities to suit their interests.
- The adventures are designed to be flexible, so that, no matter your child’s ability level, he can participate. Likewise, they are easily tweaked for a family of varying ages.
4) The Extensions are designed to expand upon the theme or topic of the quest. Extensions consist of one of the following:
- Meet a Naturalist introduces children to a well-known naturalist and his or her work. Often times this is paired with a corresponding activity. For example, in the extension on Henry David Thoreau, children are given the opportunity to conduct a water depth experiment similar to the ones Thoreau did.
- Nature Art includes creative, nature inspired art or craft projects. Sometimes these projects might involve exploring popular nature art, such as Andy Goldsworthy’s world famous land art. Other times they might be projects meant to help children use natural objects, such as a name collage.
- Get Involved are extensions centered around helping wildlife in one way or another. In the quest, The Power of Plants, children have the opportunity to create a milkweed garden for monarch caterpillars.