Lessons for Pre-K to Grade 3 School Groups

The Strong offers a wide range of educational programs for students in pre-K through grade 3 amid dynamic, hands-on exhibits and world-renowned collections. The museum also offers Theme Days and programs for homeschool families.

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View School Lessons by Selecting Grade, Subject, or Learning Standard


  • Bear Bucks: Beginning Economics

    The Berenstain Bears: Down a Sunny Dirt Road exhibit provides a bustling environment with Mama Bear’s Quilt Shop, Papa Bear’s Woodworking Shop, the Bear Family Restaurant, Farmer Ben’s Farm, and Dr. Bearson’s Dentist Office. Using Bear Bucks withdrawn from the bank, students role-play the parts of business owners and consumers. This is a fun way for students to apply basic math skills of adding, subtracting, beginning multiplication and recognition of dollar denominations.

    1 hour
    K.CC2, 1.OA.1, 1.OA.2, 1.OA.5, 2.OA.1, 2.OA.2, CDOS.2
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  • Butterfly Life Cycle Exploration

    Students build knowledge about the butterfly life cycle by observing chrysalises and butterflies in Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Students use informational text and science talk (a discussion protocol designed to promote student questioning and speaking scientifically). Working in small groups, students demonstrate what they have learned by illustrating and acting out the butterfly life cycle.

    1 1/2 hours
    ST1, ST4, Arts 1, RI1.7, RI2.3, RI2.7, RI3.3, RI3.7, SL1.1, SL2.1, SL3.1
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  • Life Science Theme Day

    Explore the wonders of life science through engaging hands-on activities throughout the museum. Observe plants and animals and develop questions and theories about living things. Using non-fiction texts as inspiration, learn how to record observations with drawings and labels. Stroll through the museum’s outdoor Discovery Garden or add a Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden tour. (Butterfly garden tours are additional per person.)

    Arts 1, ST 1, ST 4, RI.K.1, RI.1.1, RI.2.1, RI.3.1

    May 22–25, 2018

  • Predators and Protection

    With a keen eye for design, color, and a splash of curiosity, students enter the fabulous Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden and learning lab. Students become lepidopterists as they visit the garden to observe live butterflies and spend time in the lab closely observing preserved specimens. After playing an interactive game about predators and prey, they make valuable discoveries about butterfly predators and how butterflies protect themselves.

    1 1/2 hours
    SL.1.1, SL.2.1, Arts 1, ST 1, ST 4
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  • Very Hungry Butterflies

    What do butterflies do when they are hungry? Students explore this and other questions as they observe real butterflies in Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden. Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is the springboard for this imaginative experience. Children focus on the stages of a butterfly's life cycle through a magical music and movement activity.

    1 hour
    RI.PK.2, RI.K.2, RI.1.2, ST 4, Arts 1
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Language Arts

  • ELA Skill Building Theme Day

    Students talk, laugh, listen, write, and play with ELA skills while exploring museum exhibits for inspiration. Mini-lessons are facilitated by museum educators throughout the exhibits and focus on the following 6+1 Traits of Writing: sentence fluency, ideas, word choice, and voice. Students receive personalized ELA skills books to take with them.

    CCR.3.11, RL.3.11, CCL.3.3, CCL.3.4, CCL.3.5, L.3.3

    November 14, 2017

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  • Ernie's Alphabet

    Ernie has lost the letter vests he made for his friends, Grover and Cookie Monster. Students help Ernie to find the missing vests by hunting in the Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street exhibit. While searching, they practice letter identification and letter-sound recognition. This lesson can be expanded to include word building and word-play.

    1 hour
    RF.PK.1, RF.K.3
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  • Fairy-Tale Fantasy Theme Day

    Literature comes alive and students get the royal treatment as they make fairy-tale costumes and crafts for the Royal Ball! Students meet the Queen of Play, dance in the banquet hall with lords and ladies from the Queen’s court, play knights and dragons, and practice bow and arrow skills in Sherwood Forest. Students leave the museum happily ever after.

    Arts 1, Arts 2, RL.PK.2, RL.PK.3, RL.PK.4, RI.K.10, RL.K.11, RL.1.11, RL.2.11, SL.K.1, SL.K.6, SL.1.1, SL.1.6, SL.2.1, SL.2.6

    February 12 and 13, 2018

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  • Once Upon a Time…

    Students transform into a character from one of five stories in the dramatic fairy-tale section in Reading Adventureland: Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Rising Hood, or Three Billy Goats Gruff. Students become the cast as they select a setting, retell, and reenact one of the above classic tales.

    1 hour
    RL.PK.1, RL.PK.2, RL.K.1, RL.K.2, RL.1.1, RL.1.2, RL.2.1, RL.2.2, Arts 1
  • Playing with Setting: Literacy Foundations

    Working in small groups, students analyze the importance of setting by developing the plot of a short story. All groups will deal with the same main character, conflict and theme, but each group will be assigned a different setting in Reading Adventureland. Groups share their story outlines and discuss how setting can have a major impact on a story, before leaving with new inspiration to continue writing back at school.  

    1 hour
    R.3.3, R.3.5, R.3.11, W.3.11, Arts 1
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  • Sleuth School

    Students attend the Mystery Mansion School of Artful Sleuthing in Reading Adventureland to learn and practice the skills detectives use to solve mysteries. After exploring the Mansion in small groups to discover what makes a great detective, these groups create their own detective and begin work on a possible mystery that could occur in their own school. Each group shares its ideas, after which all students graduate from Sleuth School with honors!

    1 hour
    ST 1, ST 7, R.3.11
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  • Who Dunnit?

    A mystery at the Mystery Mansion needs to be solved and your students are the detectives! Through deductive reasoning, prediction, mapping skills, and collaboration, detectives use their clues to crack the code of “Who Dunnit?” in the captivating mystery section of Reading Adventureland.

    1 hour
    RL.K.1, RL.K.3, RL.1.1, RL.1.3, RL.2.1, RL.2.3
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Health, Family and Consumer Science

  • Health Nuts

    What foods do we need every day to be healthy? Meet Francine, a life-size puppet who can’t keep up with the kids at recess and falls asleep during school. What can she do to have more energy? Students take on the challenge of helping Francine become healthy. Using the USDA's “MyPlate” food guide, students shop in Wegmans Super Kids Market and have fun packing a healthy lunch for Francine. Together, Francine and her new friends learn a “Fit as a Fiddle” cheer to help them remember what it takes to be healthy.

    1 hour
    Health 1, Arts 1
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  • Healthy Beginnings

    Students use dramatic play, movement, and math skills to determine what foods keep people healthy and strong. Dressing in the colors of the symbols from the USDA’s “MyPlate” food guide, students discover what each color on the plate reveals about healthy eating. Acting as "Super Shoppers," students visit Wegmans Super Kids Market to select foods that promote healthy eating. After shopping, students create healthy and balanced snacks by playing an interactive game.

    1 hour
    Health 1, PK.MD.2, K.MD.2
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Social Studies

  • Playthings and Pastimes from Long Ago

    What did children play with before the era of plastics, batteries, computers, and videos? Students visit One History Place to learn about early 20th century America. Through examination and discussion of toys from today and long ago, students draw conclusions about how they are alike and how they are different. They continue the experience by playing in and exploring the exhibit.

    1 hour
    SS 1, Arts 1
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  • X Marks the Spot

    Ahoy! Drop anchor in Reading Adventureland to work on mapping skills and have an adventure. Students work in small groups to create and follow maps, explore Reading Adventureland, and play a treasure hunt game. Using mapping techniques, students find hidden puzzle pieces to complete a map that will help them solve a mystery.

    1 hour
    SS 2
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All lessons are informed by the Reggio Emilia approach and the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. For alignment with New York State Learning Standards and Common Core Learning Standards, see individual lesson descriptions. 

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