Ecology/Conservation
Protecting the Earth for future generations takes first learning about our planet, the environment, and how the ecosystem works. Get ecology teaching tips, project ideas, and more.
Things to See & Do in Michigan
Belle Isle Aquarium
The Belle Isle Aquarium is North America's oldest, continuously operating public aquarium. It is located on Belle Isle in Royal Oak, the Detroit River's beautiful 1,000-acre park. The Aquarium currently displays 60 exhibits with a total capacity of 32,000 gallons of water. In total, the Aquarium is home to over 5,000 individual animals of 239 species. Of these species, 31 are officially listed as endangered, threatened, or already extinct in the wild.
Potter Park Zoological Gardens
The Potter Park Zoo in Lansing offers animal exhibits, educational programs, and special exhibits.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Comprised of 125 acres of natural wetlands, woodlands, meadows and botanical gardens, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a year round experience with indoor tropical, arid, Carnivorous, Victorian and seasonal gardens, world class changing sculpture gallery with shows by international artists, and outdoor acreage featuring a world-class sculpture park, children's garden, historic Michigan's farm garden, amphitheater for summer concert events, nature trails and board walks. It is located in Grand Rapids.
Detroit Zoological Park
The Detroit Zoological Park consists of 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits. The Detroit Zoo is a natural habitat for more than 3,000 animals and 700 varieties of trees, shrubbery and flowering plants. Of the 340 species at the Zoo, 64 are officially listed as endangered or threatened and two are extinct in the wild. Major exhibits include the Arctic Ring of Life, the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery, Great Apes of Harambee, Penguinarium, free-flight aviary, Holden Museum of Living Reptiles, the National Amphibian Conservation Center, giraffes, Siberian tigers, African lions, Asian elephants, Grevy's zebras, Bactrian camels, snow monkeys and the prairie dog exhibit, just to name a few.
Binder Park Zoo
Binder Park Zoo is located in a lush forest which exhibits the animals in natural surroundings. Wild Africa, a 50-acre immersion experience, features a 17-acre savanna where one of the nation's largest herd of giraffe roam with gazelle, ostrich, zebra, and more.
John Ball Zoological Garden
The John Ball Zoo is located on the hillside of a beautiful 140 acre park on the west side of Grand Rapids. Currently the animal collection at the Zoo includes 237 species and 1,183 individuals.
North Country National Scenic Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail links scenic, natural, historic, and cultural areas in seven northern states. The approximately four thousand mile long trail incudes a variety of hikes from easy walking to challenging treks. When completed, through the efforts of many people, the trail will become the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States. From the Missouri River in North Dakota to the shores of Lake Champlain in New York, the trail allows hikers to experience a variety of features, from clear-flowing streams, to thick Northern woods, from vast prairies to clean lakes.
Isle Royale National Park
Wolves and moose, the wild North Woods forest, everchanging weather and a cool climate, and the crystal clear waters and rugged shoreline of Lake Superior characterize Isle Royale National Park. This wilderness archipelago is 45 miles long and nine miles wide at its widest point. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extends four and a half miles out into Lake Superior. The archipelago is composed of many parallel ridges resulting from ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated. Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Multicolored sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, wildlife and the forest of the Lake Superior shoreline beckon visitors to explore this 73,000+ acre park. Attractions include a lighthouse and former Coast Guard life-saving stations along with old farmsteads and former logging trails. The park is a four season recreational destination where hiking, camping, hunting, nature study, and winter activities abound. At its widest point the Lakeshore is only five miles and hugs the Superior shoreline for more than 40 miles.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses a 60 km (35 mi.) stretch of Lake Michigan's eastern coastline, as well as North and South Manitou Islands. The park was established primarily for its outstanding natural features, including forests, beaches, dune formations, and ancient glacial phenomena. The Lakeshore also contains many cultural features including a 1871 lighthouse, three former Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard Stations and an extensive rural historic farm district.
Activities & Experiments
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
ExploraVision
ExploraVision is a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a school in the U.S., Canada, U.S. Territory or a Department of Defense school. Homeschooled students are eligible to enter. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future. Teams of students select a technology, research how it works and why it was invented, and then project how that technology may change in the future. They must then identify what breakthroughs are required for their vision to become a reality and describe the positive and negative consequences of their technology on society. Winning ideas have focused on things as simple as ballpoint pens and as complex as satellite communications. The student teams write a paper and draw a series of Web page graphics to describe their idea. Regional winners make a Web site and a prototype of their future vision.
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
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Featured Resources

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Homeschooling: The Early Years: Your Complete Guide to Successfully Homeschooling the 3- to 8- Year-Old Child
Nothing beats seeking the voice of experience if you want to join the estimated 1 to 3 million parents who teach their children at home. Here's a guide that comes direct from the experts: a mother of two homeschooled, now-grown children and 83 homeschooling families she surveyed. Their stories make reading this starter kit on teaching ages 3 to 7 worthwhile. For those ready to take on what author Linda Dobson calls "a natural extension of being a good parent," the manual provides at-a-glance box...
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
In this brilliant, lively, and eye-opening investigation, Tom Vanderbilt examines the perceptual limits and cognitive underpinnings that make us worse drivers than we think we are. He demonstrates why plans to protect pedestrians from cars often lead to more accidents. He uncovers who is more likely to honk at whom, and why. He explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our quest for safety, and even identifies the most common mistake drivers make in parking lots. Tr...
The Outdoor Life of Children: The Importance of Nature Study and Outside Activities (Charlotte Mason Topics - Volume 2
The methods of Charlotte Mason are popular among homeschoolers. She includes nature study as a crucial element. This work explores the idea of the outdoors as a classroom for children, and gives tips on ways of teaching the sciences, history, literature, music, and art through the use of outdoor space. 
Elementary Geography
Elementary Geography is a reprint of the original work by Charlotte Mason. It includes her ideas about teaching children about their world, with poetry selections throughout the book. Explores ideas of place from space to our earth, seasons, map making, and topography. Written in a pleasing conversational style, it is useful for understanding teaching methods, memorization, and copy work. 
Progeny Press Study Guides for Literature
Progeny Press study guides include vocabulary exercises, comprehension, analysis, and application questions, introduction of literary terms, background information, discussion of related Biblical themes, suggestions for activities related to the reading, a complete answer key, and more. These are some of the titles available (grade range is in parentheses): The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (9-12) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (6-8) Amos Fortune, Free Man (5-7) Anne of Green Gables (5-8) ...