Program Descriptions

  • Group

    These programs will be 
    adapted to accommodate the particular age and abilities of your group. These programs focus on the benchmarks of the following strands: Life Science, Physical Science, Earth and Space Science, and Nature of Science and Engineering.



    Discovery Lab 

    Students are introduced to the wonders of nature.  We will use our senses to explore the pond, stream, forest, and prairie. What is happening on this day? What are the plants and animals that call Minnesota their home? How are things alike? How are they different? Are there patterns that we can identify? Can we find something that we have never experienced before? What tools will we use to help us examine our world?         (All Seasons ~ All Ages)




    Fall Lab 

    What is changing at Belwin when the temperature begins to fall?  Discover why Minnesota has different seasons.  Learn about photosynthesis and changing leaf colors.  Watch as animals ready themselves to hibernate or migrate for the winter.  Maybe you will see a hawk riding the thermals. (Fall ~ All Ages)






    Sled Winter Lab Snow Angel

    What happens at Belwin when the temperature falls below freezing? Explore the frozen

    world looking for tracks of animals that tell a story. Learn about the three states of
    matter and how snow is made. See evidence of how evergreens are adapted for winter. Try out kicksledding, skiing, or snowshoeing while looking at the beauty of winter around you.  

    (Winter ~ All Ages)


    Dragonfly Spring Lab 

    Did you hear the call of a bluebird returning to Belwin? Discover how frogs and turtles emerge from the wetlands. Explore the buds on trees and look for animal homes. Learn how to tap a maple tree to catch some sap. Walk the prairie edge and look for greening of the valley. Hike a muddy trail looking for the first trillium flowers.
    (Spring~ All Ages)



    Explore the world of hawks, eagles, and owls learning about their habitat, flight patterns, adaptations, structure and function. Use binoculars to track red-tailed hawks.  Dissect an owl pellet and sort the bones found inside. (Fall and Winter ~ Grades 6-12)                                                                            Owl

    Forest BiomeTrees

    What trees are deciduous and what are coniferous? Take a hike through forest areas to find what trees and animals live there. Learn how trees grow and mature.   Collaborate with friends to identify leaf shapes and tree types. Count the rings on a stump to find the age of a tree. Do leaf or bark rubbings. Try a forest art project.

    (Fall and Spring ~ All Grades)




    Minnesota Plant Hikeprairie


    Can a root really reach 15 feet deep in the soil? Learn the parts of a plant and what plants need to survive. Take a hike through oak savannas, tall grass prairie, and deciduous forests to find evidence of how different plants are adapted to their biomes.

    (Fall and Spring ~ All Grades)


    Seven Bats of Minnesota

    Scary or awesome? Learn how bats are part of the Minnesota landscape. Find out characteristics of bats; wingspan, weight, and coloring. Play an echolocation game with your friends. Hunt for insects and return to your bat cave. Explore bat habitats and learn three things bats need in order to live. Design your own bat.

    (Any season ~ Grades K-5)


    Orienteering Class

    What is your true north? Learn about cardinal directions and how to use a compass. Find a bearing and count your paces. Go on a scavenger hunt with friends to find clues about a Belwin animal or plant. Use two-way radios to communicate to base as you are navigating the course.

    (All Seasons ~ Grades 6-12)





    Can you catch a water scorpion or a tadpole? Go dipping in a wetland to find out about aquatic species and their watery habitat. Use the turtle trap to touch a painted turtle.  Learn about the water cycle, food chains, and the quality of the wetland. Students will collect data and record their findings to measure indicators of water quality.

    (Spring and Fall ~ All Grades)



    Back in TimePond

    Students will be introduced to the people and animals of the Ice Age in Minnesota. Giant Beaver, Ground Sloths, Mammoths and Saber Tooth Cats, that once roamed our neighborhoods. What happened that caused these animals to now be extinct? What were the people like that coexisted with these animals? Students will participate in uncovering and identifying artifacts.
    (Spring and Fall ~ Grades K-5)



    Incredible Journey 

    Can you drink dinosaur tears? Learn about the water cycle and how water is being constantly recycled on our planet. Become a water molecule and pass through the water cycle from groundwater to a cloud to a plant. Explore the three states of matter: liquid, solid, gas. Learn ways to protect our precious water at home and school.
    (Fall and Spring ~ All Ages)



    Stories in Stones

    Students will explore the trails for pebbles, stones, and boulders that will tell us something of the history of our area. What types of rock were here before the dinosaurs? Learn to identify the three types of rock and their part in the rock cycle.  (Spring and Fall ~ Grades 6-12) 






    What is that buzzing by your head? Learn about insect body parts and how they are adapted to life in each of Minnesota’s biomes. Use nets to capture terrestrial and aquatic insects to scrutinize up close under a microscope. Learn about insect metamorphosis and life cycle. Make your own insect to take home.
    (Fall and Spring ~ All Grades)


    Belwin Archeology

    What was life like 100 years ago? Were there televisions? phones? computers? Hike to the old Souther Farm to explore the archeological remains. Measure the foundation dimensions and look for clues about what life was like a century ago.  How has nature changed the farm over time?  

    (Spring and Fall ~ Grades 4-12, Hike to farm is 2 miles, unpaved path)


    Calling All Birds

    Spend the day observing birds as they stake out their territory, build nests, search for food, attract a mate, or simply pass through our area. We will learn the anatomy of birds and how birds have adapted to survive here in Minnesota. We will learn to identify a number of birds by sight and sound.

    (All Seasons ~ All Ages)




    Prairie Lab

    What makes a prairie? Discover the plants and animals that call this ecosystem home. Learn about how prairies were important to our Minnesota history. Explore the Kettlecamp Prairie looking for insects, grasses, flowers, birds, and animals. Record soil types, temperature, and wind speed.

    (Spring and Fall ~ All Grades)





    Field Study

    Do an in-depth study of a specific animal that lives at Belwin (owl, turtle, deer, otter, monarch butterfly, wild turkey, or squirrel). Use a variety of techniques to discover where the animal lives and how it is adapted to Minnesota.

    (All Seasons ~ All Ages)




    hat Nature Photography 

    What do you see when you hike the trails at Belwin? Use a digital camera to capture a close-up of a mullein plant or the view from the tower. Take photos on the trails to document your day at Belwin. Choose your best and print a photo to write about. Upload some of your other photos to the Belwin Outdoor Science website to view again back at your school.
    (All Seasons ~ Grades 6-12)

    Contact Cathy Smith, Special Education Coordinator for more information:
    651-744-7968 or