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Environmental Science Labs 


Chesapeake Bay labThe Virginia Living Museum's environmental science labs spark the excitement of scientific discovery for students in grades 6-12. They are in-depth inquiry-based sessions in which students actively participate in conducting experiments, collecting data and analyzing results. Emphasis is on a direct involvement with the natural world through activity-oriented use of specialized equipment and techniques.

Length of Session: 1.5 hours

Number of Students: 30 maximum

Fee: (includes self guided visit of exhibits)

Contract Schools: Please call for information

Non-contract schools: $11.75 per student ($275 minimum)

Classroom teacher and school staff are free. One chaperone is required for every 10 students and is admitted free. Additional chaperones are $16 each.

Follow the suggested procedures for reserving an Environmental Science Lab. For more information or to make a reservation, call the Reservations Coordinator at 757-595-9135 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. or fill out the on-line request form.

Funded in part by VuBAY FOUNDATION.


Amphibians and Reptiles  

Grades 6-12

Science SOLs LS.1  LS.4  LS.8  BIO.1  BIO.4  BIO.6

In this inquiry-based lab, students investigate structural and behavioral adaptations for feeding, locomotion and reproduction of these two major vertebrate groups by observing live reptiles and amphibians, and examining real museum specimens.

microscope labExploring with the Microscope 

Grades 6-12

Science SOLs 6.1  LS.1

Students explore a fascinating hidden micro world while practicing the fundamental skills of working with compound and dissecting microscopes. Students then apply these skills to solve puzzling micro-mysteries by searching for clues in fossil sands, pond water, insect anatomy and more.


Fossil Studies  

Grades 6-12

Science SOLs LS.4  LS.13  ES.2  ES.7  ES.9  BIO.7

Students investigate real fossil specimens of bones, tracks, teeth and more to uncover clues about animals that lived millions of years ago and their environments. By examining fossils, students draw conclusions about change over time and discover some of the challenges faced by paleontologists today.


Watershed experience labLife in the Chesapeake Bay - A "Meaningful Watershed Experience" Program  

Grades 6-12

Science SOLs LS.4  LS.6  LS.8  LS.9  BIO.4  BIO.6  BIO.8

Students discover the amazing diversity of life in the Bay by comparing and contrasting the adaptations and survival strategies of marine vertebrate and invertebrate phyla. Using live and preserved specimens in an inquiry-based format, students identify and classify organisms that make up the Bay's communities and investigate food pyramids and abiotic factors that affect Bay life.


Pond Life - A "Meaningful Watershed Experience" Program  

Grades 6-12

Science SOLs 6.1  6.5  6.7  LS.1  LS.4  LS.5  LS.6   BIO.1  BIO.4  BIO.8

With plankton nets, bottom dredges, dip nets and other specialized field equipment, students study first hand the ecology of a pond by collecting aquatic organisms in their natural habitat. Using sorting trays and field equipment, students investigate (and then release) the collected specimens, learn to identify and classify them, and create a pond food web. Recommended for early Fall or late Spring.



Grades 6-12

Science SOLs ES.1  ES.2  ES.4  ES.5

In this inquiry-based alb, students examine rock and mineral specimens from the museum's collections to learn to identify and classify common and rare minerals, identify unknown minerals using basic analytical tests and discover the importance of minerals in everyday life.


vertebrate biologyVertebrate Biology 

Grades 6-12

Science SOLs LS.1  LS.4  BIO.4  BIO.6

Biology comes to life in this comparative hands-on inquiry-based overview of the vertebrate classes. Using live animals and real museum specimens, students compare and contrast the structure and survival adaptations of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.


Virginia's Prehistoric Past  

Grades 6-12

Sicne SOLs LS.13  ES.2  ES.5  ES.7  ES.9  BIO.7

Using real rocks, mineral and fossil specimens from Virginia's physiographic regions as well as "living fossils" as clues, students discover evidence of colliding continents, ancient seas, volcanic upheavals and ice ages that were part of Virginia's prehistoric past that shaped Virginia as we see it today.


Weather Studies  

Grades 6-12

Science SOLs 6.1  6.3  6.6  ES.1  ES.2  ES.12

Equipped with anemometers, barometers and other scientific weather instruments, students investigate weather phenomena and conduct experiments to discover how temperature, air pressure, and wind circulation affect weather conditions on planet Earth.


Sign up for our monthly Teacher's Corner E-newsletter here:

In each issue you'll discover inexpensive science activities to share with your students, links to outstanding natural science websites, information about specific SOL-correlated, grade-level-targeted VLM programs, and professional development opportunities.
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