School Programs

2020/2021
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. While programming will look different this school year, in our dedication to school-aged children, their teachers and caregivers, we are introducing school-based and home-based versions of some of our most popular regular programming. 

PLEASE NOTE: as of Fall 2020, the Hildene Education Department is offering alternate programs with COVID- best practice protocols in mind. These are some of our most popular lessons, but delivered with consideration for student, caregiver and educator safety. Find them listed under "Alternate Programs 20/21". These options temporarily replace our regular programming, many of which remain below for reference (each marked with the sub-head "Program On Hold"). Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Social Studies State Standards are incorporated into all new 2020/21 alternate offerings.

SPRING 2021 OPTIONS: Due to COVID-19 concerns, all programs are held entirely outdoors. We are offering two options: 1) we will bring the natural science programs listed under "Alternate Programs" to you and your students, to engage in on your school grounds and in surrounding natural areas, or 2) programs are available to you and your learners to undergo on the Hildene campus, with Hildene educator. In either case, the emphasis is on observation and inquiry skills as well as hands-on learning, with a love and respect for the natural world at the heart of each offering. Our programs have been configured to meet COVID protocols, and we are flexible in meeting your learners' and/or institution's specific needs.

 

Alternate Programs 20/21

damselfly_naiad
Pond Critters

Grades: 1-2 & 3-4 • Length: 1 1/2 hours  

OFFERED SPRING 2021

Pond dwelling critters are remarkable for their diversity of size, shape and adaptations for finding food, moving and breathing.  Students explore the pond critters in Hildene's pond (home school families) or examine their own pond critter brought by Hildene educators to their schools, to make observations and to identify how they are adapted to live in a watery world. Students also become familiar with the differences between the young and adult forms of their critters and build a pond food web. BIG IDEAS: Diversity; Interdependence; and Structure & Function. NGSS

bumble bee
Bumble Bee Basics

Grades: 2 & 3-4 Length: 1 1/2 hours

OFFERED SPRING 2021

Gentle and fuzzy, everyone has watched a bumble bee buzzing between flowers in summer; but what about the rest of the year? How do bumble bees overwinter? Where do they raise brood in the spring? How do they fly in the fall when it is chilly or raining? Students discover the answers to these and other questions during this program. They examine the differences in color patterns between species, learn how to enhance pollinator habitat, observe workers foraging and may spot queens in search of nest sites. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; Structure and Function. NGSS

 

goat
Curious About Curious Goats

Grades: K-2 & 3-4 • Length: 1 1/2 hours 

OFFERED SPRING 2021

Students interact with the does and kids at our goat dairy, while exploring the life cycle, adaptations and behavior of goats. Students also learn about the process of milking, feed the goats and help with other chores, as well as identify goat products. BIG IDEAS: Cycles; and Structure and Function. NGSS

 

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

Nov-Apr • Grades: 5-12 • Length: 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM OFFERED: FALL through SPRING, 2020/21

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 IDEA Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity & Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

 

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

Winter • Grades: 6-8 • Length: 1 - 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM OFFERED: WINTER, 2020/21 (launch: January 11, 2021)

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. SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS.

Black Capped Chickadee, Winter education
Winter Adaptations: Coping with the Cold

Winter • Grades: 2-5 • Length: 1 - 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM OFFERED: WINTER, 2020/21

Colder temperatures and shorter days bring about many changes in the world around us. Students explore forest life through observation and exploration to discover the ways plants and trees adapt to winter’s challenges. They also examine the familiar black-capped chickadee to discover its remarkable survival strategies and complex language of calls. Weather permitting, students take a close look at the unique designs of snowflakes and examine the processes that form them. BIG IDEAS: Structure and Function; Cycles; and InterdependenceNGSS STANDARDS

Under and Over the Snow, education program
Under and Over the Snow

Winter • Grades: 1-3 & 4-5 • Length: 1 - 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM OFFERED: WINTER, 2020/21

How do animals adapt to Vermont’s long cold winter? Through outdoor activities, students examine the survival strategies of animals in winter and learn basic track identification skills. They investigate prints and track patterns, learn to move like the mammals do, and practice their tracking skills in the woods nearby. BIG IDEAS: Structure and Function; and Place. NGSS STANDARDS

Natural Science

wetlands
Wetlands are Working Lands

Fall • Grades: 3-5 • Length: 2 hours

PROGRAM ON HOLD

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 IDEA: Interdependence; Systems; Diversity; and Structure and Function. NGSS

 

vernal_pool
Vernal Pools: Unique Amphibian Nurseries

Spring • Grades: 3-5 • Length: 2 hours

PROGRAM ON HOLD

With slides, investigation and observation of live animals, students discover the critical support vernal pools provide to certain amphibians. They examine the energy and nutrient source of these temporary pools, become familiar with some of the “obligate” vernal pool species and learn why these pools are called the “hatchery of the forest.” BIG IDEA: Interdependence; and Systems.NGSS

 

snow
Under and Over the Snow

Winter • Grades: 1-3 & 4-5 • Length: 2 hours

PROGRAM ON HOLD

How do animals adapt to Vermont’s long cold winter? Through indoor and outdoor activities, students examine the survival strategies of animals in winter and learn basic track identification skills. They examine prints and track patterns, make their own tracking guides, learn to move like the mammals do, and practice their tracking skills in the woods nearby. BIG IDEA: Structure and Function; and Place. NGSS

 

History

hat
Lincoln's Hat

Spring • Grades 2-3 • Length: 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM ON HOLD

Students learn who President Lincoln was, where he came from and some of the beliefs and values of this famous president. Against the background of the book Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner, they discover the attributes Lincoln possessed and how they helped him become a great leader. During the program, students roleplay, share their own experiences and match Lincoln's life experiences to those needed to be a great president. Students also visit our Lincoln exhibit to view one of the president's iconic stovepipe hats. CCSS

 

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

Fall, Winter & Spring • Grades: 5-6 & 7-8 • Length: 2 1/2hours 

PROGRAM ON HOLD

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; a slice of history that spans 100 years beginning with the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Students role-play what it was like to travel and work on a Pullman car, use primary sources that relate to the era, examine a timeline of milestones in African American civil rights, and visit the mansion where Robert Lincoln conducted Pullman business when he was in Vermont. BIG IDEA Historical Connections; Traditional and Social Histories; Human Rights; Forces of Unity and Disunity; Impact of Economic Systems; and Nature of Conflict. CCSS

 

hollow school
The Hollow School

Fall, Early Winter & Spring • Grades: 1-2 & 3-4 • Length: 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM ON HOLD

Our fully restored one-room schoolhouse provides the setting for students to experience the lessons and tasks of children in early Vermont schools. Our “school day” commences when the bell is rung. Role-playing 19th century scholars, students use reproduction texts, slates and quill pens for their lessons, which include memorization and recitation. They also play old time games during the recess break. BIG IDEA Historical Connections.CCSS

 

crafts
Historic Crafts

Fall, Winter & Spring • Grades: 1-3 & 4-6 • Length: 1 - 2 hours 

PROGRAM ON HOLD

In early America making crafts was an essential part of everyday life. Students make everyday household items like dipped candles or baskets. Increasing students’ appreciation of the early settler’s self-sufficiency, this program introduces each craft in an historical context. Choose from the list below the craft(s) you would like to do: 

  • Dipped Candles 1 1/2 hours (1st-5th)
  • Pierced-Tin Candle Shades 1 hour (1st-5th)
  • Cornhusk Dolls 1 1/2 hours (3rd-6th)
  • Basket Weaving 2 hours (5th-6th)

BIG IDEA Historical Connections; Movements and Settlements; Impact of Economic Systems. CCSS

 

dellwood_soldiers
A Vermont Story: The Equinox Guards & Civil War Camp Life

Spring • Grades: 5-6 • Length: 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM ON HOLD

This program tells the story of the 87 young men from the Manchester area, the North Shire, who served in the Civil War. Our story, based primarily on soldiers’ letters and newspaper accounts, follows these men from their enlistment and training in 1861, to the Battle at Savage’s Station in 1862, where many of them were killed, to the reunions held years later. Students role-play actual members of the Equinox Guards. They practice roll call, drills, marches and other activities including letter writing, singing, food sampling and sewing. By making connections between family, community, Vermont history, and United States history, this program is a resource to augment Vermont history or Civil War curricula. BIG IDEA Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity; and Nature of Conflict. CCSS

 

lincoln
Lincoln and the Telegraph: The Innovator with the Innovation

Fall, Winter & Spring • Grades 5-6 • Length: 1 1/2 hours

PROGRAM ON HOLD

An innovator at heart, President Lincoln revolutionized the use of the telegraph during the Civil War. Lincoln used this new communications tool to gather information and assert his leadership to the front. 

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 IDEA Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity; and Nature of Conflict. CCSS