School Programs, Grades 6 to 12
We offer in-person programs designed for Grades 6 to 12. All programs are free, but registration is required.
Please note that the minimum number of students needed in attendance to run an on-site Grades 6 to 12 program is 15 and the maximum is 35. If your class size is over 35 students you will need to sign up for a second program slot. If you have less than 15 students, please register for a Q?rius Homeschool Day.
Bird Strike In-Person Program
During takeoff from Reagan National Airport, a plane collided with a flock of birds and was forced to make an emergency landing. During this staff-led program, students will follow in the footsteps of Smithsonian scientists to determine the species of bird that brought down the airplane.
Collections Challenge In-Person Program
The Q?rius Collections Zone includes 6,000 natural history objects, all accessible for student exploration in this staff-led program. Working in teams, students will create a strategy to curate and interpret a collection of their own while engaging in the scientific method.
Deep Time Paleobiology In-Person Program
Have you ever wondered what the world looked like when the dinosaurs were alive? We invite students to join our paleontologists here at the National Museum of Natural History in reconstructing past ecosystems by studying and working with real 66-million-year-old microfossils.
Dig Deep In-Person Program
How do geologists know what lies beneath the Earth’s surface? During this staff-led program, students will collaborate and compete with their classmates to identify the most efficient way to find iron ore by learning to read the stories of rocks.
Exploded Cellphone – Pilot Program In-Person Program
If you could look inside your cellphone, what would you find? In this brand-new, museum educator-led program, students will take on the role of anthropologists and think critically about the materials, makers, and processes that make up these everyday devices. Students will make connections to geology, chemistry, technology, culture, and more as they work in groups to take apart a phone.
Reefs Unleashed In-Person Program
During this museum educator-led program, students explore how Smithsonian scientists measure the biodiversity of coral reefs using nondestructive methods. They will model the same scientific processes used by our scientists by observing and analyzing images of plates with the actual organisms that live in the Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS) to better understand human impact on coral reefs.
Online Programs with Supplemental Resources
Online school programs are on hold for fall 2023. Please check back periodically for updates regarding the return of the programs in 2024. While programs are on hold, please explore our supplemental teachings resources on the pages listed below for associated content.
Hot Potato: Climate Change, Food Systems, and You Online Program
During this museum educator-led program, students will investigate the connections between their lives and climate change through the lens of food! This interactive virtual program offers an opportunity to explore agricultural systems, review data, and learn about the relationship between climate change and potatoes.
Human Origins: What does it mean to be human? Online Program
During this museum-educator-led program, students will explore what it means to be human through an investigation of Turkana Boy, a 1.6-million-year-old fossil hominin from Kenya. By examining virtual museum collections, students will gain a better understanding of paleoanthropology, human evolution, and how scientists reconstruct human prehistory.
Reefs Unleashed Online Program
During this museum educator-led program, students will explore biodiversity on a coral reef using the same methods as Smithsonian scientists. Students will practice science skills of observing, classifying, and quantifying organisms living on coral reefs using real data collected by field scientists with Autonomous Reef Monitoring Structures (ARMS). They will use their observations to understand how biodiversity is related to ecosystem resilience, and how humans are impacting these vital ocean habitats.
Other Online Programs
Online Self-Guided Tour: Sant Ocean Hall
This activity will guide students through a virtual exploration of the Sant Ocean Hall. By navigating through a variety of ocean exhibits, students will investigate some of our most fascinating specimens. At each of the eight tour stops, students will make observations and respond to questions in order to explore the themes of a global ocean, marine biodiversity, and human impacts on the natural world.
Featuring hundreds of options, our Teaching Resources collection includes activities, videos, and science literacy resources for Grades 6 to 12.
Contact the School Programs Team by emailing NMNHSchoolPrograms@si.edu or calling 202-633-4039.