School & Group Programs

EXPAND THE WALLS OF YOUR CLASSROOM ON A VISIT TO DUKE GARDENS!

We offer guided field trips that extend and enhance school curriculums through observation-based walks with multi-sensory experiences. Small groups are led by Garden Guides, who are skilled at connecting specific age-appropriate content to students’ interests as they explore different garden areas. Apply learning in a new context! Move your body while you learn! Practice observation skills! Pursue curiosity! Make exciting discoveries and find interesting connections as you make your way through the garden.

Guided programs for Durham Public Schools are now free, thanks to the generosity of donors to the Duke Gardens annual fund!

We also welcome self-guided groups. Though self -guided visits are free of charge, we require advance registration to assure that there are adequate space and resources for your group. Self-guided visit resources are available for your visit.

To request a guided program or self-guided visit, please complete our ONLINE REQUEST FORM.

If you are looking for college/university programs, please see our University Programs page here.

If you have questions, please contact us at 919-668-1707 or gardenseducation@duke.edu.

 

CHOOSE FROM THESE GUIDED PROGRAMS OR MAKE A SPECIAL REQUEST

3rd & up: Haiku Trail

Develop literacy skills and practice creative expression on a walk through the gardens. Learn about haiku structure and the poet Basho, then collect words that describe your sensory observations to assemble your own haiku. (meets standards 3.C.1)

All grades: Math in the Gardens

Measure, multiply and map your way through the garden. Learn about the different kinds of math our garden staff use to create and maintain our beautiful garden, and solve your own garden math problems. Program content is adjusted to match appropriate grade-level standards.

All grades: Garden Walk

Observe seasonal highlights on a guided walk that introduces students to the biodiversity of Duke Gardens.

PreK & K: Birds and Butterflies

Look up to discover the amazing world of winged wildlife in the gardens. Through song and movement, learn about the lives of birds and butterflies. (meets standards K.L.1.1, K.L.1.2)

PreK, K, 1st: Dirt and Worms

Take a close look at life underground and learn how wiggling worms help the Gardens grow. What is a worm’s life cycle? How do they move? What do they eat? Learn this and more. (meets standards K.MD.1, 1.E.2.2

1st: Habitat Hunters

What do plants and animals need to survive? Go on a search for animal homes in the gardens and learn how diverse living things get what they need. (meets standards 1.L.1, 1.L.2)

2nd: Bug's Life

What are insects? Where do they live? Learn about garden insects, including their lifecycles, by studying them in their natural habitat. (meets standard 2.L.1.2)

2nd: Double Exposure

Connecting Science and Art at Duke Gardens and the Nasher Museum of Art

Students will sharpen observational skills, practice collecting data, discover connections between science and art, and engage in hands-on discovery as they visit both Duke Gardens and Nasher Museum in a single day. This program includes 80 minutes of guided tours at each venue with a 50-minute lunch break. Students/schools bring their own lunch. Free for DPS second-grade students; for all other groups, standard fee applies. To register, contact the Nasher’s education office at elizabeth.a.peters@duke.edu or 919-684-1169. (meets standards 2.E.1, 2.L.1.2)

3rd: Soil City

Explore the world of ants, earthworms, pillbugs and other soil dwellers. Students examine basic soil properties throughout the garden and discover how soil supports the growth and survival of living things. (meets standard 3.L.2.4)

3rd: Plant Power

Take a trip through the life cycle of a plant. Learn about the different parts of plants and how they work to help plants thrive in our “museum of plants.” (meets standard 3.L.2)

4th: Amazing Adaptations

What do desert succulents, tropical water lilies and our local squirrels have in common? Take a walk and see how plants and animals survive using amazing adaptations to their environments. (meets standard 4.L.1.2)

5th: Beyond the Pond

Explore a pond ecosystem and evaluate the water quality by surveying some of the pond’s smaller inhabitants. Learn about connections between plants and animals and how human activities affect aquatic life. Limited to 40 students. (meets standard 5.L.2.1)

5th: Garden Food Web

Producers, consumers and decomposers in the Gardens are connected in a web of life. Observe ecosystems to learn the importance of interconnections in living communities. (meets standards 5.L.2)

5th: Tree Detectives

Learn the fundamentals of plant identification by examining detailed characteristics such as leaf arrangement and structure. Work in a scientific team to meet a tree, observe details and record your data. (meets standard 5.L.2)

Middle School: The Forest and the Farm

Learn about the diverse ways humans have used plants and animals for food throughout history. Visit the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants to discover the complex communities of the southeastern U.S. and the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden to learn about domesticated fruits and vegetables. (meets standards 6.H.2.3, AIS.G.2.3)

Middle & High School: Go With the Flow

Follow the flow of water through Duke Gardens to explore the hydrologic cycle. Observe water management infrastructure, perform hands-on experiments to determine properties of this urban watershed, and map your data. (meets standards 8.E.1.1, 8.E.1.3, 8.E.1.4)

 

Guided School Programs: AVAILABLE

Our guided school programs are designed to support Common Core as well as the North Carolina Standard and Extended Course of Study.

Guided school programs are available Tuesday through Friday. Each program is 60-90 minutes, or can be combined with a second topic for a 2 hour program. Fee of $4 per student or $6 for combined topics; $40 minimum. Programs are free for Durham Public Schools.

Important information for guided trips:

Accessibility: We welcome all students and are happy to work with you to plan appropriate accommodations for your students in our guided programs. Please let us know in advance if there are any limitations with mobility, such as students using wheelchairs, or other accessibility needs.

Chaperones: Adult chaperones are required for all youth groups. We recommend a ratio of 1 chaperone per 15 students. We cannot accommodate siblings.

Weather: We do take groups out in the rain unless there is threatening weather that includes lightning; in that case we will reschedule.

Emergency Preparedness: Remember to bring any medications students might need for bee stings and bug bites, asthma attacks, etc.

Cancellation Policy: You may cancel your enrollment and receive a refund of your fee up to a week before the date of your program. Any program canceled by Duke Gardens will result in a complete refund. To request a guided school program, please complete our online request form.

To request a guided school program, please complete our online request form.

Guided Programs for Homeschool Groups: AVAILABLE

Homeschool groups are welcome to choose from our list of guided school programs or request a topic of your choice.

Guided homeschool programs are available Tuesday through Friday. Each program is 60-90 minutes, or can be combined with a second topic for a 2 hour program. Fee of $6 per student per program or $9 for combined topics; $60 minimum.

Important information for guided trips:

Accessibility: We welcome all students and are happy to work with you to plan appropriate accommodations for your students in our guided programs. Please let us know in advance if there are any limitations with mobility, such as students using wheelchairs, or other accessibility needs.

Chaperones: Adult chaperones are required for all youth groups. We recommend a ratio of 3 chaperones per 15 students. We cannot accommodate siblings.

Weather: We do take groups out in the rain unless there is threatening weather that includes lightning; in that case we will reschedule.

Emergency Preparedness: Remember to bring any medications students might need for bee stings and bug bites, asthma attacks, etc.

Cancellation Policy: You may cancel your enrollment and receive a refund of your fee up to a week before the date of your program. Any program canceled by Duke Gardens will result in a complete refund.

To request a guided homeschool program, please complete our online request form.

 

Self-Guided Groups: AVAILABLE

Advance registration is required so that we may coordinate your visit with other schedules. We will accommodate your visit on a first-come, first-served basis. Once we reach capacity, those groups without pre-registration may be asked to reschedule their visit.

Registered self-guided visits are free.

Use any of our self-guided visit resources during your visit.

To request a self-guided visit, please complete our online request form.

 

VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES

Can’t come to Duke Gardens? Watch any of the videos in your own time, or schedule an interactice meeting with Duke Gardens educators. 

Request virtual programs by emailing gardenseducation@duke.edu with your school, grade level, number of classes & students, and at least 3 date options.

DOUBLE EXPOSURE: CONNECTING SCIENCE AND ART WITH DUKE GARDENS AND THE NASHER MUSEUM

Especially for 2nd grade. Guides from both Duke Gardens and the Nasher Museum of Art lead students through a 30-minute, interactive virtual session. Students will sharpen observational skills; practice collecting data and discover connections between science and art. Teachers receive follow-up activities to reinforce the concepts introduced. Available Tues-Thurs mornings.

DESIGN A PLANT

Especially for 3rd grade, 30 min Review the functions of basic plant parts on a virtual tour of a selection of plants that grow in Duke Gardens. Apply your understanding to design your own plant with adaptations for a Duke Gardens habitat. 

ASK THE GARDEN! INTERACTIVE SESSIONS

What can you learn from a garden? Create a list of questions as a class, email it to Duke Gardens educators, and schedule a time to meet virtually with us. We’ll respond to your questions, combine our knowledge with yours, and make discoveries together! 

GARDEN VIDEOS, VIRTUAL TOURS AND OTHER RESOURCES

Tour of the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants

Join Duke Gardens’ youth educators to explore the Blomquist Garden of Native Plants.  What is a native plant? What do living things need to survive and how can they find these needs in a garden? Can a plant be a predator? Which line of latitude goes through Duke Gardens? What does a bullfrog sound like? Learn the answers to these questions and more in these materials.

Information for Teachers

Video Tour part 1  |  Video Tour part 2

Self-Paced Interactive Map Tour

Pre-Tour Quiz  |  Post-Tour Quiz

Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt

Extension Activities

Field Trip Friday: Buzzing About Duke Gardens

Thanks to the Museum of Life and Science for including Duke Gardens in the Field Trip Fridays series for Durham Public Schools! We are super excited to share some of the amazing stories of ecological interdependence happening every day in the Gardens. Plants, animals and many other organisms depend on one another to live and thrive in this urban ecosystem right here in the heart of our city!

Video

Duke Gardens YouTube Channel

View more Duke Gardens videos here!

Collaborative Science Projects listed by grade level: SciStarter

Browse SciStarter's large collection of collaborative science (also called citizen science) projects organized by grade level.

 

 

WE ALSO OFFER PROGRAMS FOR TEACHERS!

Email GardensEducation@duke.edu to inquire about teacher professional development opportunities.