Natural Connections

Strand Highlights for 4th - 6th Grade, Saturday, March 29, 2014


Interdisciplinary Strategies for Teaching and Learning

Saturday, March 29, 2014: 4th - 6th Grade

8:00am to 3:30pm

Got Energy

Elizabeth Edmondson, Ph.D.
Director, VISTA at Virginia Commonwealth University

Supporting Institution: Dominion Power

Investigate cycles of energy and matter, alternative energy sources, and how to conserve energy to reduce impact on your school.


  • Use the Garden grounds, a camera, and a scientific notebook to collect data to solve this scenario: What alternative forms of energy could be used at the Garden and how will they reduce our impact on the environment?
  • Rotate through hands-on investigations exploring these topics:
    • Clean energy
    • Renewable & non-renewable energy sources
    • Alternative energy sources currently in use in Virginia
    • Solar energy
    • Water energy
    • Wind energy
    • Biomass energy


Cathy Surowka
Science Teacher Consultant, Chesterfield County Public School

Laurie Saurles
Social Studies Teacher Consultant, Chesterfield County Public School

Supporting Institution: Agriculture in the Classroom

Discover unique qualities of Virginia through literature, Google Earth, and the Flora of Virginia.

  • Use Google Earth to discover unique qualities of Virginia.
  • Engage in activities using the “Flora of Virginia” a comprehensive state-of-the-art manual for Virginia's nearly 3200 native and naturalized plant species.
  • Discover the “hands-on, minds-on” fun of Agriculture in the Classroom.
  • “Jump Start Your School Garden” with new ways to teach students about the Earth’s most precious resources – soil and water.
  • Explore the multitude of ways that people, plants, and animals rely on these natural resources.

Time Travel

Adrienne Sawyer

Supervisor of Elementary Science, Chesapeake Public Schools

Supporting Institution: Museum of the Confederacy

Join an archeological dig revealing clues to discover hidden treasures and piece together the history of Virginia.


  • During an archaeological dig, infer what life was like in early Virginia as you use mapping skills to discover hidden artifacts.
  • Use Freedom Quilt clues to navigate trails throughout the Garden.
  • Make a batch of sun tea and discuss the movement of molecules as heat is added to a substance.
  • Use symmetry concepts to design and construct a Revolutionary War lantern.
  • Encourage exploration of sound and pitch with a double sided drum made from reused materials.
  • Make a periscope used in the trenches during the Revolutionary War that connects to light concepts.
  • Enjoy some hardtack as you create a Morse code device using electrical circuits.

Earth and Space

Crystal Clark

K-5 Math & Science Coordinator, Math Science Innovation Center

Supporting Institution: NASA and the Science Museum of Virginia

Journey through Earth and space while integrating literature, math, and science. Discover engaging ways to explore plate tectonics, erosion, and the rock cycle. 

  • Experience interactive visualizations of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and the other seven planets while viewing the Magic Planet’s sphere in high resolution imagery.
  • Construct solar system models using simple materials that relate the size ratio and relative distances of the planets.
  • Participate in an engineering challenge using NASA resources.
  • Capture nature using digital technology to display mathematical patterns on the Earth’s surface.
  • “Rotate and Revolve” through grade-specific centers that incorporate concepts of:
    • Erosion and weathering
    • Weather
    • The rock cycle
    • Plate tectonics
    • Revolution and rotation
    • Google Earth images


Saturday, March 29 ~ Online Registration