Teacher and student programs
growing minds of all ages
Independent Study (Pre-K - College)
Arrange a self-guided visit to the Garden where you will lead your class and present lessons to match the pace of your students. Structure your visit around what your students are currently studying. Garden staff and docents meet and greet your class, introducing the Glasshouse and the plants and animals they will see. Self-guided scavenger hunts are available for your group; please request these in advance.
Plants and Me Investigation (Pre-K - 2)
Plants surround us in our daily life. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, and even the chairs we sit in come from plants. Investigate the diversity of plant-use in our lives. This investigation is available April 1 – October 31.
Classification Investigation(Pre-K - 2)
Is it alive or not alive? Is it a plant or animal? Based upon characteristics of living and non-living things, students are investigative researchers in the spiny desert and cloud forest finding the answers to these questions.
Plant Parts Investigation(Grades 2 - 4)
Plants need air, water, sunlight and nutrients to live and grow and have special structures to help them do that. We discuss these structures and locate them in the spiny desert and cloud forest. Each student constructs a terrarium to observe back at school. (Please provide one clear 20 oz. bottle for each student.)
Interactions Investigation (Grades 4 - 5)
Insects eat plants, plants grow on other plants, and some insects protect plants. Students study the many relationships between plants and animals, as well as those that occur in differing habitats.
Food Chains and Webs Investigation (Grades 5 - 8)
We’ll explore the similarities and differences between the Garden's spiny desert and cloud forest, and how that compares to right outside our door in Northeast Ohio. Then discover interactions in our two biomes where a plethora of producers and consumers are found.
Symbiotic Relationships Investigation (Grades 6 - 7)
Plants and animals interact with one another through symbiotic relationships. Some organisms have become so adapted to each other that neither could survive without the other. Students explore the Garden's two vastly different biomes, unearthing some of these “isms": mutualism, commensalism, etc.
Soil Study Investigation (Grades 6 - 8)
Is all soil the same? Compare different soil samples, discover the importance of soil in agriculture, and test soil to see what it contains.
Plant Adaptations Investigation (Grades 7 - 8)
Fuzzy leaves, small leaves, large leaves, strange leaves. You see them all as you investigate the myriad plant adaptations in the Malagasy spiny desert and Costa Rican cloud forest.
Geology and Botany Investigation (Grades 9 - 12, College)
Plants can often be identified by their habitat. This class showcases how modern botanists use techniques such as Google Earth and topographical maps to help identify plant populations. Students will learn about Ohio’s distinct geologic history, tour various gardens, and learn about plants growing in specific locations.
Patterns in Nature Investigation (Grades 9 - 12, College)
We tour and discuss the many different colors and patterns found in the plants and animals at the Garden. Students observe and document nature, utilizing shape, line and texture, as well as learning about, and looking for, Fibonacci sequences. Then students spend time drawing these life forms (basic art supplies included).
Plant Structure, Function and Classification Investigation (Grades 9 - 12, College)
Plants exist in a wide range of environments using their tissues, roots, stems and leaves to adapt accordingly. Learn the structure and function of various parts of plants, as well as practice classification into groups and subgroups. Study unique features of plants and use a dichotomous key to identify the plants in the Garden's biomes.
Evolution and Adaptation Investigation (Grades 9 - 12, College)
Students learn about a spiny desert and a cloud forest, focusing on the flora found in each. Based on leaf color, leaf size, flower color and shape, students evaluate and measure the effects of water, light and time on the plant life in the Garden's two biomes. They measure and compare the area of leaves in both biomes, drawing conclusions on the differences they see, as well as reflecting on how leaf color may be affected by the selective pressures in each biome.
The Hidden Life of Insects (College)
Experience an in-depth tour of our Glasshouse as we discuss the cool bugs we have and point out how important they are to the workings of the ecosystem. You’ll discover some of the truly bizarre insects that fascinate visitors as well as the possible adaptive value of their weird traits.
Freaky Plant Adaptations (College)
Students learn introductory information about the spiny desert and cloud forest, focusing on flora found in each. They will evaluate and measure the effects water, light, and time have on plant life in these two biomes. Students look at the color and size of flowers and hypothesize what its pollinator may be. They will measure and compare the area of leaves in both biomes, drawing conclusions on the differences they see. Finally, they reflect on how leaf color may be affected by the selection pressures of each biome.
The Mind's Eye (College)
Students participate in activities designed to enhance the understanding of the world of those who are perceptually deprived, specifically the visually impaired. Based upon “The Mind’s Eye: What The Blind See” from The New Yorker, this presentation requires students to read the article prior to class that takes place in our award-winning Restorative Garden.
Secrets of a Librarian (College)
Students have a unique opportunity to see some of the finest examples of early botanical art from our rare book collection. Join our librarian as he talks about the services and collections of a horticultural library. You’ll be presented with an overview of the history of botanical illustration, from early drawings and color plates to the revolution of photography.
Children and adults with special needs may benefit from our specially designed adaptive programming. Special populations with a variety of learning challenges can participate in plant lessons created with their unique requirements in mind. Call us to discuss your group and additional programming details 216-707-2841.
- Sensory programs in the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse
- Plants and Me Investigation
- Plant Parts Investigation