School Group Guided Workshops

School Group Guided Workshops

Explore the Garden and learn about nature from Garden instructors in these hands-on, guided programs for students in pre-K through 8th grade. Teachers may select an on-site or virtual workshop.

On-Site Workshops

Exploration Workshops are 90-minute, on-site, BBG instructor–led programs in small groups. Each student will pot up a plant to take with them. Fee: $150 per class. Ask about our discount for Title I schools and special needs groups. See Science Standards below.

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Sensory Exploration (Grades Pre-K–2 )

Making sense of the world around us starts with sensory observations. How do young scientists make sense of the world? In any season, BBG is a perfect place to engage young scientists’ keen powers of observation using sight, smell, hearing, and touch. Students will tour some of our favorite gardens-within-the-Garden and participate in activities designed to hone in on specific senses, elicit descriptive language, and discover patterns and connections that raise questions about the natural world.

Exploring Trees in the Garden (Pre-K–8)

How are trees different from other plants? How are they the same? Trees are growing in our city—as the seasons change, they blossom, provide shade, spread their seeds, present bright autumn colors, and catch the snow on their branches when winter comes. Students will compare the diversity of bark, leaves, overall shape, fruits, and seeds, and learn how all these parts function to help the plant grow, survive, and reproduce. We will also explore the many ways trees benefit people and animals.

Investigating Life in Water (Grades 2–8) October–November & April–June

The water all around us is filled with life! Students will dive into the fascinating world of the water environments around them. How do plants’ features help them survive in their aquatic environments? Can we find other living things tangled in our algae? Why do carnivorous plants digest flies? Students will investigate these questions in our on-site workshop.

Ecological Exploration (Grades 2–8)

What does a plant need to grow? How do plants survive the challenges presented by environments as diverse as deserts, rainforests, marshes, or bogs? Comparing and contrasting various biome collections at BBG will inspire young plant ecologists to find answers to these questions.

Exploring Plants in Our Lives (Pre-K–8)

What are the important plants in your life? What parts of those plants provide us with food, medicine or practical use? In this on-site workshop, students will be inspired to think about the many ways people depend on plants and get a chance to learn about some culturally important plants from our Education Greenhouse collection.

Investigating Flowers (Grades 2–8) March–May

Flowers are beautiful, but do their colors, fragrance, and patterns have a purpose? We all appreciate flowers for their special beauty, but a flower’s real and very important function is for reproduction of the plant. On a tour of the Garden’s plants in bloom, students will learn about pollination and fruit formation.

Virtual Workshops

Our Virtual Workshops are BBG instructor–led programs consisting of prerecorded video tours and an interactive lesson. Teachers will set up the Virtual Workshop using the platform of their choice. Teachers will be mailed a kit including plants and potting-up materials for the class. Access to online materials and a potting-up video tutorial for teachers included. Fee: $75 per class. Ask about our discount for Title I schools and special needs groups. See Science Standards below.

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Tropical Adventures (Pre-K & K)

What’s it like in the tropical desert? Two BBG educators will guide students on a 45-minute sensory adventure through the tropics (courtesy of BBG’s plant collections!) exploring plant parts and the weather.

Tropical and Desert Plant Explorations (Grades K–8)

What’s it like for a plant living in a tropical rainforest or in a desert environment? BBG educators will take students on a 60-minute whirlwind world tour (courtesy of BBG’s plant collections!) and explore some of the adaptations tropical and desert plants have that allow them to survive and thrive in their environment.

Self-Guided Group Visit Information and Registration

Preregistered school and camp groups of up to 90 children may visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden for free as space allows. You must reserve tickets in advance for these visits; request information to learn more.

Request Information

Science Standards Connections

BBG’s classes for teachers and school groups support the Next Generation Science Standards that developed from the National Research Council’s 2012 Framework for K–12 Science Education. The framework calls for knowledge and practice to be intertwined so that students “actively engage in scientific and engineering practices and apply crosscutting concepts to deepen their understanding of the core ideas in these fields.” This approach aligns with BBG’s longstanding educational philosophy of learning by doing. Our educational programs are grounded in inquiry-based, hands-on experiences to encourage life-long learning about plants, science, and the environment.

Ecological Exploration (grades 2–8)

Grade 2

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Plants depend on water, light, and air to grow.

LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

  • There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.

Grade 3

LS4.B Natural Selection

  • Sometimes the differences in characteristics between individuals of the same species provide advantages in surviving, finding males, and reproducing.

LS4.C Adaptation

  • For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Grade 4

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

Grade 5

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life.

Grades 6 –8

LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Genetic factors as well as local conditions affect the growth of the adult plant.

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors.
  • In any ecosystem, organisms and populations with similar requirements for food, water, oxygen, or other resources may compete with each other limited resources, access to which consequently constrains their growth and reproduction.
  • Growth of organisms and population increases are limited by access to resources.

LS4.B Natural Selection

  • Natural selection leads to the predominance of certain traits in a population, and the suppression of others.
Exploring Plants in Our Lives (grades pre-K–8)

Pre-K–Kindergarten

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • Plants need water and light to live and grow.

Grade 1

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • All organisms have external parts. Plants also have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow.

Grade 2

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Plants depend on water, light, and air to grow.
  • Plants depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.

LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

  • There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.

Grade 4

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

Grade 5

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • Food provides animals with the materials they need for body repair and growth and the energy they need to maintain body warmth and for motion.

PS3.D Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

  • The energy released from food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water).

Grades 6–8

LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

  • Changes in biodiversity can influence humans’ resources, such as food, energy, and medicines, as well as ecosystem services that humans rely on—for example, water purification and recycling.

LS4.B Natural Selection

  • In artificial selection, humans have the capacity to influence certain characteristics of organisms by selective breeding. One can choose desired parental traits determined by genes, which are then passed on to offspring.
Sensory Exploration (grades PK–2)

Pre-K–Kindergarten

PS4.A Wave Properties

  • Sound can make matter vibrate, and vibrating matter can make sound.

Grade 1

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • All organisms have external parts. Plants have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow.

LS3.B Variation of Traits

  • Individuals of the same kind of plant or animal are recognizable as similar but can also vary in many ways.

PS4.A Wave Properties

  • Sound can make matter vibrate, and vibrating matter can make sound.

Grade 2

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Plants depend on water, light, and air to grow.
Exploring Trees in the Garden (grades Pre-K–4)

Pre-K–Kindergarten

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • All animals need food in order to live and grow. They obtain their food from plants or from other animals. Plants need water and light to live and grow.

ESS2.E Biogeology

  • Plants and animals can change their environment.

ESS3.A Natural Resources

  • Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need.

Grade 1

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • All organisms have external parts. Plants also have different parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits) that help them survive and grow.

LS3.B Variation of Traits

  • Individuals of the same kind of plant or animal are recognizable as similar but can also very in many ways.

Grade 2

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Plants depend on water, light, and air to grow.
  • Plants depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.

Grade 3

LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organism. Plants and animals have unique and diverse life cycles.

LS4.C Adaptation

  • For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Grade 4

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

Grade 5

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • The food of almost any kind of animal can be traced back to plants. Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Some organisms, such as fungi and bacteria, break down dead organisms (both plants or plant parts and animals) and therefore operate as “decomposers.” Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem.
Investigating Flowers (grades 2–8)

Grade 2

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Plants depend on water and light to grow.
  • Plants depend on animals for pollination or to move their seeds around.

LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

  • There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.

Grade 3

LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organism. Plants and animals have unique and diverse life cycles.

LS3.A Inheritance of Traits

  • Many characteristics of organisms are inherited from their parents.

LS3.B Variation of Traits

  • Different organisms vary in how they look and function because they have different inherited information.

Grade 4

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

Grade 5

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water.

PS3.D Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

  • The energy released from food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water).

Grades 6–8

LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Organisms reproduce, either sexually or asexually, and transfer their genetic information to their offspring.
  • Genetic factors as well as local conditions affect the growth of the adult plant.

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth for later use.

LS1.D Information Processing

  • Plants respond to stimuli such as gravity (geotropism) and light (phototropism).
Investigating Life in Water (grades 2–8)

Grade 2

LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems

  • Plants depend on water and light to grow.

LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

  • There are many different kinds of living things in any area, and they exist in different places on land and in water.

ESS2.C The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes

  • Water is found in the oceans, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Water exists as solid ice and in liquid form.

Grade 3

LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Reproduction is essential to the continued existence of every kind of organism. Plants and animals have unique and diverse life cycles.

LS3.B Variation of Traits

  • The environment also affects the traits that an organism develops.

LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans

  • Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there.

Grade 4

LS1.A Structure and Function

  • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

Grade 5

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • Plants acquire their material for growth chiefly from air and water.

PS3.D Energy in Chemical Processes and Everyday Life

  • The energy released from food was once energy from the sun that was captured by plants in the chemical process that forms plant matter (from air and water).

Grades 6–8

LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms

  • Genetic factors as well as local conditions affect the growth of the adult plant.

LS1.C Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms

  • Plants, algae (including phytoplankton), and many microorganisms use the energy from light to make sugars (food) from carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and water through the process of photosynthesis, which also releases oxygen. These sugars can be used immediately or stored for growth for later use.

LS1.D Information Processing

  • Plants respond to stimuli such as gravity (geotropism) and light (phototropism).
Image, top of page: Michael Stewart