In Classroom Programs

Severson Dells Nature Center offers a variety of programs which are designed to be done in the classroom. Descriptions of our programs are listed below. Our programs address several Next Generation Science Standards. These are indicated by the brackets following each program.

All of our presentations include interactive, hands-on learning, therefore we limit our presentations to one class at a time, with the exception of the Lewis and Clark program. Our fees are the same as last years: the first program given each day at a school is $45. Additional presentations at the same school on the same day are $25 each.

Feel free to mix and match programs and grade levels. The Lewis and Clark program can be adapted to two classes at a time. The adjusted fee for the larger group is $50 for the first program and $30 for each additional one. We usually do these programs in December, January, February and March, but will do our best to accommodate your schedule.

If you have any questions, need more information or would like to schedule a program(s), please call Severson Dells Nature Center at 815-335-2915 or e-mail

Severson Dells in-school programs  (2016)

.Let us help bring Next Generation Science Standards to you. 







All of our classroom presentations employ hands-on, interactive learning.  We focus on helping students understand their connection to and influence over the natural world.



           The Unhuggables

           Pre-School and Kindergarten  (30-35 minutes)

Familiar animals: skunks, raccoons and opossums provide a foundation for what is wild.  Puppets, real furs and other props introduce young learners to the idea that wild animals can take care of themselves without depending on people as long as they have a suitable habitat.  Teaches care and respect for all animals.  (K-LS1-1, K-LS1.C, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3.A)

           Room for Salamanders

          Kindergarten-2nd Grade(30-40 minutes)

The children’s book, “Salamander Room” by Anne Mazer introduces students to the concept of habitat: that plants and animals have particular needs and live where those needs are met.  Fun, engaging storytelling helps students predict what is best for our amphibian friends.  (K-LS1-1,

 K-LS1.C, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS2.B, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3.A, K-ESS3-3, K-ESS3.C, 1-LS1.A, 2-LS4.D)

           Bats - Fly By Night

           Kindergarten-5th Grade   (30-45 minutes)

All living things are dependent on one another and their surroundings.  Despite being valuable members of earth’s ecosystems, bats are often misunderstood and even feared.  Using skulls, sounds and replicas, students will recognize that bats are not the scary creatures that many people believe.  Bats are facing more challenges than ever.  Students will be able to determine some of the consequences if bats are allowed to vanish.  (K-LS1-1, K-LS1.C, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS2.E, K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3.A, K-ESS3-3, K-ESS3.C, 1-LS1.A, 1-LS1-2, 1-LS1.B, 1-LS1.D, 2-PS1.A,

2-LS4-1, 2-LS4.D, 3-LS1.B, 3-LS2.C, 3-LS2.D, 3-LS4.D, 4-LS1.A, 4-LS1-2, 4-LS1.D, 5-PS3.D, 5-ESS3.C)

Owl Moon

           Kindergarten-5th Grade(30-45 minutes)

Flying silently while using their ears and eyes to find food, owls are a significant link in the food chain.  They are skillful hunters with many special tools.  This program looks at owl adaptations and behaviors through use of mounted specimens, wings, pellets and sound recordings.

(K-LS1-1, K-LS1.C, K-ESS2-2, K-ESS2.E,K-ESS3-1, K-ESS3.A, K-ESS3-3, K-ESS3.C, 1-LS1.A, 1-LS1-2, 1-LS1.B, 1-LS1.D, 2-PS1.A,2-LS4-1, 2-LS4.D, 3-LS1.B, 3-LS2.C, 3-LS2.D, 3-LS4.D,

 4-LS1.A, 4-LS1-2, 4-LS1.D, 5-PS3.D, 5-ESS3.C)

All About Frogs

            1st-4th Grade(30-40 minutes)

See!  Hear!  Move!  Protect!  Find Food!  How do they do it?  Frogs are perfectly adapted to survive in their habitat.  Sounds, photos, even an experiment help students discover these unique abilities.  Jump in and find out why frogs are fascinating.  (1-LS1.A, 1-LS1.B, 1-LS1.D, 2-PS1.A,

2-LS4.D, 3-LS1.B, 3-LS3.B, 3-LS2.C, 3-LS4-4, 3-LS4.C, 3-LS4.D, 4-LS1.A, 4-LS1-2, 4-LS1.D)

Mystery of the Woods

           2nd-4th Grade(30-40 minutes)

Use clues that are left behind by creatures of all sorts and habitats in Northern Illinois landscape to try and find out what has been in your classroom.  Teaches the importance of linking different elements of habitat and animal behavior together to solve the mystery.  (2-LS4.D, 2-ETS1.B,

 3-LS2.C, 3-LS2.D, 3-LS4.C, 3-LS4.D, 4-ESS3.A, 4-LS1.A)

           Life is a Competition:  Adaptations to WIN!

           3rd-6th Grade(30-40 minutes)

Food chains, top consumers, niche habitats, predator/prey relationships, it’s a big game out there and it’s good to be on top!  Learn how animals and plants have developed tricks to win the game of life.  Pictures, furs and simulation activities are included.  (3-LS2.C, 3-LS2.D, 3-LS4.3,

 3-LS4.D, 4-LS1.A, 4-ESS3.A, 5-ESS3.C, 5-LS1.C, 5-LS2.A)

           Lewis and Clark

           4th-6th Grade(50-75 minutes)

This program tells the incredible story of the exploration of the western United States.  Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery were on this amazing journey for over two years and they traveled thousands of miles through unknown territory.  These two explorers made tremendous contributions to the development of the United States, and also to science, geography and human history.  Find out how and why.  (4-ESS1-1,4-ESS2-1, 5-LS2.C, 5-LS2.A, 5-ESS2-1, 5-ESS3.C)

 Environmental Ethics:  Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

5th-6th Grade

(30-45 minutes)

Learn about the history of Winnebago County and focus on the story of a small section of woods that once stretched from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.  This true story is about more than just trees.  We all have a place worth fighting for.  (5-ESS2.A, 5-ESS3.C, 5-LS2.A)


         To schedule a program or for more information call Severson Dells 815-335-2915 or email