Discovery Field Trips
Bring your students to experience hands-on learning and connect with nature through our free Discovery Field Trips at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. All field trips extend the life science concepts that you teach in your classroom. Curriculum based, they correlate with the Alabama State Course of Study and Alabama College and Career Ready Standards and are aligned with the National Science Education Standards. For Kindergarten-8th grades Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. Each field trip is one hour and is designed for approximately 25 students. You may bring two classes, or up to 50 students. Each half will spend one hour on a field trip and one hour exploring The Gardens with materials provided.
The Secret Life of Trees (September-November & January-May)
- Kindergarten - 1st Grade
- Discover the life cycle of a tree and earn a tree detective badge.
- Count annual growth rings on "tree cookies".
- Compare tree bark and leaf shapes.
- Investigate a fallen log.
Alabama Woodlands (October-November & March-May)
- 1st - 6th grades
- Discover how animals need plants as well as ways woodland plants depend on animals: interdependence!
- Search the Barber Alabama Woodlands and find evidence of all kinds of creatures who live there.
- Birmingham Audubon Society is proud to offer a bird identification Bird Walk as an option to your free time during Alabama Woodlands! Teachers and students learn to identify common bird that live in The Gardens, as well as how to properly use binoculars. Field guides, binoculars and other resources will be available. Teachers, please request upon scheduling.
Native American (October-November & March-May)
- 1st - 6th grades
- Identify varieties of plants used by Native Americans for food, medicine, ceremonies, travel and shelters.
- Desribe the role of corn, beans and squash in the Three Sisters Garden while understanding the symbiotic relationship of this native American planting method.
- Connect the important of Native Americans to the Native American culture.
- Photograph your students in an Indian dugout canoe.
Dr. George Washington Carver (September-November)
- 1st - 6th grades
- Examine Dr. Carver's life and his unique contributions to science.
- Simulate the nitrogen cycle through an interactive game.
- Harvest peanuts, sweet potatoes and cotton in The Gardens to take back to class.
- Identify edible plants.
New! George Washington Carver- An Exploration of Photographs & Historic Artifacts
As a highlight to your field trip experience, The Librarys' Archives at The Gardens invites you to gain a closer look of George Washington Carver’s life and accomplishments through exploration of photographs made possible through the Archives at Tuskegee University in addition to our collection of historic artifacts here at The Gardens including a 1945 Carver poster, a 1931 handwritten letter from Carver, sweet potato bulletins from Tuskegee Institute and more! Classes may choose to visit The Garden Center to explore the collection during their self-guided hour instead of the traditional outdoor Garden Treasure Map Activity. A student and teacher guide will be provided upon scheduling.
Garden Gates Workshop (January-February)
- Enhances the science curriculum for 3rd-5th grade students.
- Identify basic parts of a plant and the function of each: roots, stems, leaves and flowers.
- Identify basic parts of a flower and the function of each: petal, stamen (anther, filament, pollen) and pistol (stigme, style, ovary).
- Discover how bees pollinate flowers.
- Propagate plants using three different methods of propagation: seeds, cuttings and division and take plants back to class.
- Descibe the benefits of plants in our daily lives (food, shelter, medicine, clothing and oxygen producer).
- Every teacher plants a paper white bulb for the class to grow.
Tropical Rain Forest (March-May)
- 1st - 6th grades
- Explore our Conservatory and discover plants from which we get chocolate, coffee, lemons and bananas to name a few!
- Find and describe six different plant adaptations for survival in a tropical rain forest.
Plants: Inside Out! (September - November, March - May)
- 7th - 8th grades
- Students create their own slide from leaves outside in our living collection to discover stomata (Greek for mouth) using tools to investigate this micro world of plants.
- Visit the Conservatory as we explore a world of plants and their amazing adaptations including tropical plants and those that grow in a desert.
- Explore The Gardens and identify a variety of trees on our Big Tree Trail!
- Students will visually discover pigments in a leaf through chromatography while understanding the role of chlorophyll in absorbing sunlight for photosynthesis (instructions provided for a follow-up lab in the classroom).
Learn more about how Discovery Field Trips connect to the Alabama State Course of Study!
Pollination Observation (September-November, March-May)
- Kindergarten-6th grades
- Discover pollinators through children’s literature at Botanical Gardens Library
- Explore various plant habitats in The Gardens to observe pollinators, collect data and communicate results.
- Students will be able to identify the parts of a plant important for pollination, describe how pollinators need plants, how plants need pollinators, and how we can help!
Reserve your Discovery Field Trip at least TWO WEEKS in advance.
Contact 205.414.3950, ext. 106, to schedule your field trip. Or, click here to request a field trip.
This is only a request; you will be contacted by our staff to confirm your field trip.
The Junior League of Birmingham will fund bus transportation for Birmingham City Schools attending Kindergarten - 6th grade field trips.
Free transportation for Plants: Inside Out! is provided for schools attending 7th-8th grade field trips.
What teachers are saying about our Discovery Field Trips
100% of responding teachers say they would recommend our field trips to others!
"Hands-on, very interactive, students involved, children were interested in all activities."
"Relates to Alabama Course of Study."
"Subject matter matched class work."
"Excellent to teach science objectives."
"Aligns with our curriculum."
"Excellent: right on grade level, great outdoor science lesson."
"Docents excellent, exciting and motivating to children."
"Every child should have this experience."