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Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 17

Length: 15 min.

Grade Levels:
3, 4, 5, 6, 7


Teacher's Guide
Web Resources



Discover the natural world and the connections that make nature work, when student host Patrice Forrester and Senior Naturalist Dave Erler of the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center explore the ways living things interact with the environment. NatureWorks is designed to align with state and national science frameworks and standards and is a great way to introduce young people to the natural sciences. Visit the web site for student objectives for each program, state and national science standards, a teacher’s guide with hand’s on activities, and other resources.

Episode Guide

1. Adaptation — Jr. Naturalist Patrice looks at how plants and animals are adapted to their environment: the unique adaptation of the opossum and beaver. A visit to the New England Aquarium’s critical care ward shows how they are treating sea turtles that have washed ashore.

2. Coloration — Coloration is a structural adaptation that helps animals and plants survive in their environment: the great horned owl and the skunk. A wildlife photographer explains how color plays a role in photography.

3. Natural Communication — Animals communicate with visual, auditory, chemical, and tactile signals: the red fox and how it communicates using scent, songbirds, and frogs at the pond.

4. Migration — Animals migrate to find food or a place to hibernate; others migrate to mate, give birth, or raise their young. this program looks at banding some birds so they can be tracked as they migrate and at three raptors, the broad winged hawk, the red-tailed hawk and the snowy owl. Sara and Davis help with an annual hawk count.

5. Habitat — This episode shows how all living things need a habitat where their needs can be met, an artificial habitat in the Nature Center’s aviary, the common loon and its habitat, and a biologist floating a loon raft.

6. Marine Communities — Patrice looks at how life in the ocean is organized in layers and life in a tide pool. A closer look at estuaries finds the Wells Reserve monitoring soft shell clams and green crab experiments.

7. Fresh Water Communities — Life in lakes, streams, and wetlands shows first a snapping turtle then a closer look at wetlands with biologist Beth Malcolm inspecting the growth of animal and plant life in the wetland environment.

8. Terrestrial Communities — This program looks at tundra, rainforest, grassland, taiga, temperate deciduous forest, and desert biomes; the Red-Tailed Hawk and how it adapts to a variety of habitats; the desert; and the diversity of plant life along a mountain trail.

9. The Wildlife Web I (producers and herbivores) — This episode explores how plants make food and at how and plants and plant eating animals depend on each other by looking the plant habitat which provide food for moose and other herbivores. Students also investigate and understand that organisms depend on other organisms and nonliving components of the environment for survival.

10. The Wildlife Web II (herbivores and carnivores) —Herbivores and carnivores depend on each other for survival using the example of an insect eating predator and the gray wolf.

11. Decomposers and Scavengers — Investigating to understand that organisms depend on other organisms and nonliving components of the environment for survival, Patrice looks at the important role decomposers and scavengers play in the natural world. Checking on the progress of the decomposition of a dead gray squirrel and a closer look at the turkey vulture help show what is recycled in the wilderness.

12. Population Dynamics—A look at porcupine and white-tailed deer populations show a variety of factors that determine population and the limiting factors that can impact it. The program demonstrates how agencies are helping to control deer numbers.

13. Niche — In segment one Patrice looks at how all organisms have it’s own role, or niche in their environment. Every organisms has its own niche in their environment from the pileated woodpecker to the coral reef as they fill in the ocean. Students learn about controlling the impact of beavers in urban areas.

14. Species Diversity —This program takes an overall look at the wide variety of life found on earth. and the important role species diversity play in maintaining a health environment from insects in a field to life on a forest floor.

15. Invasive Species —A look at the mute swan and an invasive seaweed in the waters off the Nature Center’s island demonstrate the impact invasive species can have on an environment. Students further investigate the impact milfoil has on aquatic communities.

16. Life at Risk — Factors that could endanger plant and animals species are examined by investigating the wood turtle, and the peregrine falcon. US Fish and Wildlife monitors the health of Dwarf Wedge Mussels.

17. How to Use NatureWorks in the Classroom

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