Natural Connections

Strand Highlights for Pre-K - 3rd Grade, Friday, March 28, 2014


Interdisciplinary Strategies for Teaching and Learning

Friday, March 28, 2014: Pre-K - 3rd Grade

8:00am to 3:30pm

Got Energy

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

Supporting Institution: Dominion Power

Explore energy flow throughout the Garden, discover the interdependence of plants and animals, and uncover new ways to recycle, reuse, and reduce.


  • Participate in a Problem Based Lesson (PBL) in the Garden while using cameras and scientific notebooks to collect data to solve this scenario: How does energy move within the Garden and how can we conserve it?
  • Become a “citizen scientist” as you observe the interdependence of the natural world while identifying birds and plants.
  • Discover ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle while:
    • making a bird feeder
    • planting a square foot garden
    • creating a paper holder for seeds


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

Take a virtual tour of areas around the globe. Then navigate the Garden grounds using a magnetic compass to develop mapping skills.


  • Take a virtual tour of areas around the globe while using Google Maps to participate in “Me on the Map”. 
  • Participate in mapping activities and nature writing in the Garden.
  • Discover the “hands-on, minds-on” fun of Agriculture in the Classroom.
  • Explore the Garden from within the classroom to reveal the multitude of ways that people, plants, and animals rely on natural resources.

Time Travel

Adrienne Sawyer

Supervisor of Elementary Science, Chesapeake Public School

Supporting Institution: Henricus State Park

Traverse the Garden while geocaching through exciting civilizations and enjoy engaging activities along the way.


  • Geocache throughout the Garden as you unearth clues to a hidden past in Ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt.
  • Complete a STEM challenge as you create your own chariot in the Garden.
  • Construct your own pottery artifacts that reveal clues to the first Olympics.
  • Make a literature connection with Those Darn Squirrels! by Adam Rubin while creating simple machines.
  • Learn about Native American culture as you construct your own corn husk doll, start a “Three Sisters Garden”, and make models of Indian homes.

Earth and Space

Crystal Clark

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

Supporting Institution: NASA and the Science Museum of Virginia

Experience the night sky in a portable planetarium and take a virtual trip through space. Explore toys in space, light, shadows, moon phases, and more.


  • Experience interactive visualizations of the Sun, Moon, Earth, and the other 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.
  • “Rotate and revolve” through literature-based and grade specific centers that incorporate concepts of: light and shadow, reason for seasons, day and night, and moon phases.
  • Participate in an engineering challenge using NASA resources.
  • Capture nature using digital technology to display mathematical patterns on the Earth’s surface.


Friday, March 28 ~ Online Registration