School Programs

2022/2023
STANDARDS BASED PROGRAMS

"Children are our legacy" - that was the lens through which President Emeritus, Seth Bongartz, fostered Hildene's school programs. Today, and into the future, youth education at Hildene is at the very heart of our mission.

Our programs are designed to provide experiential and inquiry-based learning opportunities. Students explore big ideas, i.e., understandings that endure long after the details are forgotten. Programs span across our 412 acres which encompasses wetlands, streams, meadows, forests, ponds and vernal pools. Students practice skills such as asking relevant questions, making careful observations, communicating outcomes, and constructing evidence-based explanations. Next Generation Science Standards and Social Studies Standards are incorporated into all offerings.

COVID-19: Educators will follow protocols issued by schools.

 

Natural Science

sheep at Hildene Farm in the dene
Sheep Sense

Grades: K-1 & 2-4 Length 1.5 hours
OFFERED FALL 2022
Students interact with the sheep at the dene animal barn while exploring their life cycle, anatomy, and behavior. In helping with chores, students gain an appreciation for the care that goes into these animals. The special characteristics of the sheep’s fiber is also investigated, and a fiber item is created by the students to take home. BIG IDEAS: Cycles; and Structure and Function. NGSS

apple tree
Apple Trees: From Flowers to Fruit to Cider

Grades: K-1 & 2-3 • 10am - 12:00pm
Offered only September 27-30 & October 4-7
The crisp days of fall are time for cider making. Using apples we have picked from Hildene’s trees, students wash and press the fruit into sweet cider. After it has been pasteurized, students sample the delicious juice. To appreciate the development of apple fruit, students explore the essential role of pollinators and dissect a simple flower to discover how its parts contribute to the process of pollination. Through investigation and pantomime, the life cycle of the apple tree, the functions of its parts and how it changes through the seasons will also be examined. BIG IDEAS: Structure and Function; Interdependence; and Cycles. NGSS

spider web hildene youth education program
Splendid Spiders

Grades: K-3 • 1pm - 2pm
OFFERED FALL 2022
In our gardens, forests, fields and homes, spiders can be found, quietly focused on their important ecological role - capturing and eating insects. Students observe live spiders and build model spiders from their observations, discover the process of spiders capturing prey in a web, and go on a guided hunt to observe spiders, webs and record observations. We also examine the life cycle of these terrestrial predators. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; and Structure and Function. NGSS

wetlands HILDENE FARM in the dene
Wetlands are Working Lands

Grades: 3-5 • Length: 2 hours
OFFERED FALL 2022
Students investigate Hildene’s wetland to discover the indispensable properties and functions of these unique habitats. From a floating boardwalk that extends 600’ through the marsh, students assess the water quality based on the macroinvertebrate population, discover the characteristics of wetland soils, and examine the adaptations of wetland plants to further their understanding of the ecological importance of these ecosystems. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Systems; Diversity; and Structure and Function. NGSS

honey bee in the dene at Hildene Farm with youth educators
Bee Friends: Know Your Pollinators

Grades: 3-4 • Length: 1.5 hours
Designed to inspire curiosity and care for pollinators of all kinds, this program introduces students to who the native pollinators are, the vital role that pollinators play in agriculture and natural communities, and the steps we can take to promote and protect pollinator habitat in our schoolyards and backyards. Students record pollinator and plant interactions in the field, examine the characteristics of pollinators, dissect and identify parts of flowers, visit our observation hive, and learn how to incorporate pollinator friendly features into gardens and landscapes. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; and Structure and Function. NGSS

Secrets of Seeds_Hildene Educational Programming
Secrets of Seeds

Grades: 1-2 & 3-4 • Length: 1.5 hours
OFFERED FALL 2022
How are animals, catapulting, and the forces of wind, water and gravity linked to seeds?  Students explore this and other questions during our investigations of seeds. Students examine how seeds are formed, identify the parts of a seed that grow into a new plant, and inspect selected seed bearing structures to look for evidence of how the seeds travel. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; Reproduction; and Structure and Function. NGSS

turkeys in vermont hildene youth education programming
Wild & Wary: Vermont's Turkeys

Grades: K-2 & 3-4; Length: 1.5 hrs
OFFERED FALL 2022
Unlike earlier times, the turkey we enjoy today isn’t a wild bird, but rather farm-raised. While tasty, the domestic turkey is not nearly as fascinating in behavior or development as its wild cousin. With interactive activities, students explore the history, habitat, life cycle and behavior of Vermont’s wild turkeys. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; and Change Over Time. NGSS

honey_bees
The Buzz on Honey Bees

Grades: K-2 &3-4 • Length: 1.5 hours
OFFERED FALL 2022
Who’s who in the hive? How is honey made and how are flowers pollinated? Students will explore the world of honey bees with investigation, pantomime, and inspection of the bees in our observation hive. They also examine the bee’s design, life cycle, social structure and important role as a pollinator. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; and Function. NGSS

mighty monarchs: educational programming at Hildene
Mighty Monarchs

Grades: K-3 • Length: 1.5 hours
OFFERED FALL 2022
Monarchs are the only butterflies to migrate north and south each year, yet no single insect completes the round-trip journey.  Students explore the conservation of this butterfly, while learning about its habitat, life cycle and migration, including tagging and releasing a monarch. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; and Structure & Function. NGSS

History

Pullman Porters, Hildene education
Pullman Porters: Unsung Heroes, Former Slaves, Labor Organizers, Middle Class Citizens & Civil Rights Activists

Grades: 5-6 • Length: 2 hours
OFFERED NOVEMBER - APRIL 2022/2023
Our restored 1903 wooden Pullman car, Sunbeam, provides the setting for students to discover the critical role that Pullman porters played in giving rise to America’s black middle class, the formation of the black labor movement, and the momentum for the civil rights movement. This slice of history spans 100 years beginning with the Emancipation Proclamation. Students role-play what it was like to travel and work on a Pullman car, visit the mansion where Robert Lincoln conducted Pullman business when he was in Vermont, and participate in discussions about the porters’ enduring fight for social change and justice in America. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Human Rights; Impact of Economic Systems; and Nature of Conflict. NGSS

Pullman Porters Hildene Youth Education Programming
VIRTUAL: Pullman Porters: Unsung Heroes, Former Slaves, Labor Organizers, Middle Class Citizens & Civil Rights Activists

Grades: 6-8 • Length: 1.5 hours
OFFERED NOV - APRIL 2022/2023
During this live virtual program, students discover the critical role that Pullman porters played in giving rise to America’s Black middle class, the formation of the black labor movement, and the momentum for the civil rights movement. This slice of history spans 100 years, beginning with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Students engage in activities relating to what it was like to travel and work on a Pullman car and actively participate in discussion about the porters’ enduring fight for social change and justice in America. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Human Rights; Impact of Economic Systems; and Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

Hildene, Robert & Mary's home
Windows To The Past

Grades: 5-12 • Length: 1.5 hours
PROGRAM OFFERED NOVEMBER - APRIL 2022/2023
Students take a tour of Hildene, built by presidential son Robert Lincoln and his wife Mary in 1905, to learn about the family and their lives at the turn of the century. Students also visit the exhibit The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural, which includes one of Lincoln’s stovepipe hats of which there are only three in existence. 

Robert Lincoln, a captain of industry, served as president of the Pullman Company from 1901 to 1911. Students learn about his Pullman career through a visit to our fully restored 1903 Pullman car, Sunbeam. The interpretive exhibit “Many Voices” focuses on the Pullman Company that built the cars; the privileged families and executives who travelled in them, and the Pullman porters who worked in them. The fourth voice is of those who visit the car and the conclusions they draw from the experience. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity & Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

iconic photo of president abraham lincoln
Lincoln and the Telegraph: The Innovator with the Innovation

Grades 5-6 • Length: 1.5 hours
OFFERED NOVEMBER - APRIL, 2022/23
An innovator at heart, President Lincoln revolutionized the use of the telegraph during the Civil War. He used this new communications tool to gather information and assert his leadership to the front. Prior to Lincoln, rapid exchanges between the Commander-in-Chief and the generals in the field didn’t occur. Students learn about the critical role of the telegraph in the Civil War, use telegraphs to send and receive messages that are combined to reveal one of Lincoln’s most important decisions and then view related artifacts in our exhibit, The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity and Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS