Riveredge provides all teachers with a learning packet directly related to your field trip topic.  Click the links below your topic to print or download the teacher’s guide and any other provided materials for your class.

If you have any questions, please contact the Inquiry-based Curriculum and Instruction Manager Kacey Tait, at ktait@riveredge.us or 262-375-2715.

Share this short video with your students to get them prepared and excited about their trip!

Grades: 4 & 5 Time: 2 ½ hrs Max. 60 Students
Experience the prairies or forests of Riveredge and see how plants and insects adapt to survive in their niches. With scientific tools and exploration activities, discover the importance of structural, functional and behavioral adaptations that make the natural world so interesting and diverse!


Practice observation skills through outdoor art-making activities.  Create a reflective art project that connects them with their experiences in nature.  An art component can be attached to many of our other programs by special request.

My World   Grades K-2    Time: 2 hrs    Max. 60 students
Explore an ecosystem through drawing, and create mini-environments for favorite forest and prairie animals.

Patterns   Grades 3-5   Time: 2 ½ hrs   Max. 60 students

Discover patterns in nature through observation of Riveredge collections and outdoor explorations.  Complete an abstract drawing project that contributes to a group art piece.


Grades: 4, 5, 6 & 7     Time:  2 ½ hrs      Max. 30 Students
Follow the clues on a search to discover the mysteries of Wisconsin birds! Their intriguing behavior, special adaptations and surprising survival strategies are sure to amaze students and get them hooked on birds wherever they find them.


Grades: 5, 6 & 7    Time: 3 or 5 hrs      Max. 60 Students
Diverse ecosystems that provide for the needs of countless organisms are around every corner. Dive into two vastly different communities and discover the interdependent layers of life within each. Discover similarities and differences between these communities using scientific tools and hands-on activities.


Grades: 2 & 3       Time: 2 ½ hrs       Max. 60 Students
Communities and the plants and animals that depend on them are both unique and interconnected. A variety of exploratory and sensory experiences allow students to follow their curiosity and get an up-close experience of two very different worlds.


Grades: 6 – 12        Time: 3 or 5 hrs       Max. 30 Students
Using the river as a lab, learn about water quality by conducting chemical and physical tests.  Collect aquatic invertebrates and use a biotic index to see how these organisms are indicators of water quality.  The three-hour program takes place entirely outdoors at the river.  The five- hour program includes microscopes to identify organisms in the classroom.


Grades: 5, 6, 7 & 8     Time: 3 or 5 hrs    Max. 60 Students
Almost everything on earth can be called by another name-“temporarily not soil.”  Explore the wonders of soil while participating in an inquiry to uncover soil’s role as the foundation of all life.  Unearth the secret soil ingredients that interact to give us healthy food.


Grades: 6, 7 & 8       Time: 3 hrs       Max. 60 Students
With the pond as a model, explore how energy that originates from the sun keeps changing shape and form as it moves through an aquatic ecosystem.  Collect macroinvertebrates, examine them under a microscope and discover the intricate food web of the pond.


Grades: 5, 6 & 7    Time: 3 or 5 hrs     Max. 60 Students
Spend a day “searching for systems” within the fields, forests and wetlands of Riveredge. Play a hands-on, interactive game to explore the web of natural systems in a variety of environments. Discover the concepts of energy flow, adaptations, nutrient cycles and networks—the systems upon which all life depends.  Exploring Natural Systems is a higher-level program for students with prior experience studying science in the outdoors.


Grades: Prek & K    Time: 2 hrs     Max. 30 Students
A vernal pond presents an amazing and extraordinary ecosystem teeming with life! An adventure-filled hike leads to a vernal pond brimming with aquatic organisms. From a floating boardwalk, students collect those animals and learn about the unique watery world they call home.


Grades: 4, 5, 6 & 7      Time: 2 ½ hrs      Max. 30 Students
Explore the world of the very small—it’s far more fascinating than students could ever envision using their eyes alone. Each student uses a microscope to examine non-living and living things at her or his own pace.


Grades: 1, 2 & 3      Time: 2  hrs       Max. 60 Students
Enjoy an exploration of seed dispersal strategies and the concept that fruit is a seed container.  Visit the Riveredge Children’s Organic Garden and sample what’s in season (weather permitting).  The program includes a surprise meeting with Johnny Appleseed and discovering how apple cider is made!


Grades: K – 3      Time: 2  hrs       Max. 40 Students
Dig into dirt in the Riveredge Children’s Organic Garden. Experiment with soil, water and seeds to discover how plants grow and provide food for humans.  The program concludes with harvesting and a stop in the kitchen to enjoy a fresh, seasonal snack!


Grades: preK – K      Time: 2 hours     Max. 60 students
With sweep nets and bug boxes in hand, set off to discover the many amazing insects that inhabit the Riveredge prairies in autumn. During our exploration we will get a close up look at these fascinating creatures and learn how they eat, fly, jump and enrich our world. An art activity may be added to this program upon request.


Grades: 3 & 4     Time: 2 ½ hrs     Max. 60 Students
With a treasure map and a set of wintry clues, set off to discover the relationship between animals and their habitats. By examining animal tracks and other signs,  discover the skills of observing and making inferences. By this frosty adventure’s end, the puzzle is complete and the mysteries of winter survival are solved! With sufficient snow cover, snowshoes may be worn.


Grades: preK – K      Time: 2 hours      Max. 60 students
After a tree falls in the forest, it has another life as home to a variety of creatures. Learn about the life cycle of trees and discover the many creatures that depend on forests. A variety of exploratory and sensory experiences allow students to follow their curiosity and get an up-close experience in this unique habitat.


Grades: 1 & 2      Time: 2 hours      Max. 60 students
Come explore forest and pond habitats and put your scientific skills into action! Living things change in fascinating ways throughout their lives. Collect pond animals such as dragonfly larvae and diving beetles, and discover what they look like at different stages of their life cycles. Become a scientist at Riveredge and learn how to classify things to discover more about them. Go on a hunt for forest objects, notice their different shapes, sizes, smells, and textures, and group them based on their characteristics.


Grades: 2, 3, 4 & 5     Time: 2 ½ hrs      Max. 60 Students
The sweetness of spring, the miracle of photosynthesis and the magic of Maple Sugarin’ are presented in a fast-paced visit to a sugarbush. Experience Wisconsin’s history with special emphasis placed on Native American traditions. To top it off, students tap a tree and enjoy the “fruits of their labor” on a pancake.


Grades:  4, 5 & 6      Time: 2 ½  hrs      Max. 60 Students
Discover pollination from the perspective of natural pollinators and flowers! A trip to the honeybee hive (weather permitting) and an exploration of our organic garden provide a unique opportunity to appreciate the life-giving gifts of the pollinators.


Grades: 4, 5, & 6        Time: 3 hrs        Max. 60 Students  
A pond is an ever-changing ecosystem made up of countless interactions that link living things to one another and to their surroundings. Uncover connections in the pond that are reflections of larger ecosystems. Collect macroinvertebrates, examine them under a microscope and create a pond interactions mural to take back to school.


Grades: 5, 6, 7 & 8     Time: 3 hrs     Max. 30 Students
A river beckons to be explored.  Put on a pair of hip boots and step into the river community.  Use a kick-net to collect macroinvertebrates hidden beneath the water’s surface.  Please indicate on the application which emphasis you prefer.
Biotic / Abiotic Interactions Emphasis: A river is a set of interactions between living and non-living things.  Use scientific tests to evaluate abiotic factors and discover how these components interact and influence one another within the river ecosystem. Adaptations Emphasis: Discover how aquatic macroinvertebrates are adapted to find food, breathe oxygen, protect themselves and move against the current in a river ecosystem.


Time:  2 hrs         Max. 60 Students
Natural things come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, odors, tastes and sounds. Learn about the diversity of nature through a unique variety of sensory experiences. Depending on the season, students may find themselves collecting an array of leaves in the autumn woods, taste-testing herbs and vegetables in the garden or snowshoeing through a winter wonderland!


Grades: 1-2      Time: 2 hrs     Max. 60 Students
Discover the secret world beneath your feet.  Explore the wonders of soil ecology while participating in an inquiry to uncover soil’s role as the foundation upon which all life depends.  Learn how a system designed by humans models the way nature recycles nutrients.


Grades: 3, 4 & 5      Time: 3 hrs     Max. 50 Students
A vernal pond presents an amazing and extraordinary ecosystem teeming with life. Collect organisms from a floating boardwalk and explore interrelationships that maintain life in this temporary pond.


Grades: 6, 7 & 8     Time: 3 or 5 hrs     Max. 60 Students
Discover the types of wetlands, roles and relationships of plants and animals and how to define a wetland itself.  Use physical tests such as pH, temperature, sunlight and water depth to compare natural wetlands.  Visit different types of natural wetlands as well as our Engineered Wetland Wastewater Treatment System.


Grades: 5, 6, 7 & 8     Time: 2 ½ hrs     Max. 60 Students
Discover the relationship between animals and their habitats.  Hands-on activities and experiments allow students to explore the impact of winter’s limiting factors such as animals’ heat loss, cover and food availability.  Snowshoes may be worn if there is sufficient snow cover.


Grades: 4, 5, 6 & 7    Time: 3 or 5 hrs    Max. 60 Students
In this student-led quest, travel back in time 10,000 years to when the glaciers of Wisconsin retreated. Use scientific tools such as wind meters, soil probes and thermometers to explore the clues the glaciers left behind—incredible kettle, moraine, kame and esker landforms! At each destination, visit a sandbox to enact how the landform was created. Along the way, test rocks to discover their origins and determine how human activities can be changed to impact the land more positively.