Curriculum

  The Center is home to a wide variety of species. Students can come
  face-to-face with a live sea turtle, juvenile alligator, a Gopher Tortoise habitat,
  fresh water turtles, salt water aquariums and touch tanks with various species from
  the Indian River Lagoon.

  The Center’s curriculum provides sequential study of biology and ecology from
  kindergarten through seventh grade, with special marine science classes for high
  school students.

  Students explore the St. Lucie Estuary, Indian River Lagoon, Hutchinson Island’s
  beaches, mangrove swamps and freshwater ponds and wetlands. They receive
  instruction in the Center’s indoor and outdoor interactive classrooms, science labs
  and media center, and, at different grade levels, use computers and stereoscopes
  as part of the learning experience.

  The Center is home to a wide variety of marine life species. Students can come
  face-to-face with a live sea turtle, juvenile alligator, freshwater turtles, gopher
  tortoises and their habitat, and saltwater aquariums and touch tanks containing
  various species of marine life from the Indian River Lagoon.

  The River Scout” is the Center’s floating classroom where fifth and sixth grade
  students spend the day investigating the St. Lucie Estuary and Indian River Lagoon.

  Grade-level-specific curriculum materials are sent to the schools for the students to
  study prior to their trip to the Center for field study as follows:

  
Kindergarten and First Grade: Students tour the Center, compare and contrast characteristics of living and non-living things in our environment and learn about habitats of the sea turtle, freshwater turtles and gopher tortoises.
 
First Grade: Students study manatees, what it means to be endangered and the human impact on the survival of other living things.
 
Second Grade: Study is concentrated on animal adaptations and food chains (energy flow). This program includes a visit to inter-tidal areas of the Indian River Lagoon where students engage in lessons on amphipods and worming.
 
Third Grade: learn about the grassflat community by seining in the Indian River Lagoon. They conduct population studies of the organisms they collect.
 
Fourth Grade: Students tour mangrove habitats bordering the Indian River Lagoon and conduct microscopic investigations of the specimens they collect in the habitat.
 
Fifth Grade: The areas of the elementary curriculum are brought together with a day-trip aboard the Center’s research vessel, “The River Scout,” to a spoil island in the Indian River lagoon. Students test water for salinity and temperature; they seine in the grassflats, examine mangrove specimen and study the effects and causes of tides, erosion and deposition of sand on the island.
 
Sixth Grade: Spending the day aboard “The River Scout,” students use instruments to collect data which indicate the health of the river. They then examine and compare data that have been collected over time so as to identify trends and patterns.
 
Seventh Grade: Students explore the inter-relationship of the upland and wetland communities. Specimens they collect with dipnets from a freshwater pond are observed using stereoscopes in the Center’s on-campus lab.
High School: Students collect data comparing and contrasting beach, dune, rocky shoreline, mangrove, and grassflat communities.