Field Study Experiences

Field Study Experiences

Cultivating young scientists through hands-on exploration in Boston’s landscape for learning

FSE Video Frame
The Arboretum offers seasonal school programs for public school students in grades Pre-K to 5. These one- to two-hour programs are designed to encourage the investigation of plant science in the meadows, ponds, and woodlands of the Arnold Arboretum. Our goal is to provide an intellectually stimulating experience in the landscape for each student. We do this by encouraging hands-on exploration of seasonal phenomena and thoughtful conversations with students about the plants they encounter here. We use a variety of tools, and we ask students to share their learning through dialogue, drawings, and presentations. We maintain small groups lead by a volunteer guide so that students can receive individual attention from a supportive and knowledgeable adult. Programs are designed to be developmentally appropriate, and on-going coordination with the teachers ensures that our content supports classroom learning goals. Our programs align with Massachusetts Science, Technology, and Engineering Standards. Pre- and post-visit materials help teachers plan a challenging learning opportunity. Volunteer to lead a school group.

  • We serve classes of 15 to 50 students.
  • We prioritize classes from the Boston Public Schools. There is no charge for BPS participation in the field studies.
  • We have limited availability for other public schools in the Metro-Boston area, defined as schools residing within the I-95/Route 128 beltway. Fee is $4.00 per child for non-Boston schools.
  • Programs take place from 10:00am to noon, on weekdays only.
  • Spring programs run from April through June; fall programs run from September through November.
  • To plan a self-guided study, contact Ana Maria Caballero, Children’s Education Fellow.
  • Please contact Nancy Sableski, Manager of Children’s Education, about making reservations for Spring 2018.

As of 2017, our offerings include the following programs:

May 224visit 023 Explorations introduces the flora and fauna of the Arboretum to preschool, kindergarten and first grade children.
May 224visit 023 Organisms complements the Boston Public School’s first grade life science study of both aquatic and terrestrial plants and animals. Program suitable for grades 1-2.
May 224visit 023 Old Plants: Learning About Plant Parts complements the Boston Public School’s second grade life science study of plant life cycles and the functions of each plant part. Program suitable for grades 1-3.
May 224visit 023 Flowers Change focuses on floral parts and functions as pollinated flower makes seeds, for grades 3-5.
May 224visit 023 Plants in Autumn: How Seeds Travel explores the diversity of seed package structures that promote seed dispersal, for grades 3-5.
May 224visit 023 Native Trees/Native Peoples compares and contrasts native evergreen and deciduous trees that were used by Eastern Woodland Indians to meet basic survival needs. Suitable for grades 3-5.
May 224visit 023 Hemlock Hill: An Evolving Ecosystem introduces Boston Public School fifth grade students to an urban forest ecosystem to learn about producers, consumers, and decomposers. Also suitable for grades 4-6.
May 224visit 023 You and your students! We can help you plan a self-guided field study at the Arnold Arboretum. Contact us for details.

2016 Massachusetts Science, Technology and Engineering standards correlations with Field Studies [pdf]