One Hour Investigations

Earth Connections

An ecosystem is a community of different species interacting with each other and with the non-living parts of the environment. It can be as small as a puddle or as large as an ocean. In this activity, students will become naturalists as they work in teams to investigate and record observations of the components of different study sites.

TEKS aligned grades K – 6

  • Kindergarten: K.1A, B; K.2A, C, D, E; K.3C; K.4A, B; K.9A, B
  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A, C, D, E; 1.3C; 1.4A; 1.9A, B
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, C, D, E, F; 2.3C; 2.4A; 2.9A, B
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.2B, D, E, F; 3.3A, D; 3.4A; 3.9A, B, C
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.2B, D, E, F; 4.3A, D; 4.4A; 4.9A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.2C, D, E, F; 5.3A, D; 5.4A; 5.9A, C, D
  • 6th Grade: 6.1A; 6.2C, E; 6.3A, D; 6.4A; 6.12E, F
Look Closely

Observation is what science is all about! Students will investigate the characteristics and parts of trees while making observations and recording data in the field.

TEKS aligned grades 1– 4

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A, B, C, D, E; 1.10B
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, C, D, E; 2.10A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.2C, D, E, F; 3.10A
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.2A, C, D, F; 4.10A
Man and Minerals

Minerals and other natural resources are the raw materials that we use for housing, clothing, transportation, heating, cooking, etc. Students will investigate ways that these natural resources are useful and our responsibility in the proper management of these resources. Older students will also investigate fossil fuels and the possible importance of alternative energy sources.

TEKS aligned grades K – 6

  • Kindergarten: K.1C; K.3A; K.7B, C
  • 1st Grade: 1.1C; 1.6A; 1.7C
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1C; 2.7C
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1B; 3.7D
  • 4th Grade: 4.1B; 4.3D; 4.7C
  • 5th Grade: 5.1B; 5.3D; 5.7C
  • 6th Grade: 6.1B; 6.3D; 6.7A
Prairie Predators

A prairie is a complex living system composed of many different plants and animals that interact with and depend on each other for survival. In this investigation students will spend time making observations on our native Blackland Prairie and create a food web that explores the energy flow through a prairie ecosystem.

TEKS aligned grades 1-5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A, C, D, E; 1.4A; 1.9C
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, C, D, E; 2.4A; 2.9A, C
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.2B, D, F; 3.3A, D; 3.9A, B
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.2B, D, F; 4.3A, C, D; 4.9A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.2C, D, F; 5.3A, D; 5.9A, B
Rock Stars

Students investigate minerals and rocks as they identify rock samples. Using the data collected from this activity, students will then classify "mystery rocks" as igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic.

TEKS aligned 6th grade

6.1A; 6.2A; 6.3A; 6.4B; 6.6C; 6.10B

Wetland Feast

Wetlands are an important ecosystem and are often referred to as "nature's supermarkets" because of their astounding productivity. In this food chain/web simulation, students will portray the detritus-eaters and predators of a wetland ecosystem and use the data they collect from the simulation to create a food chain or food web. A visit to our wetland area is included.

TEKS aligned grades 1-5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.2A; 1.3C; 1.7B; 1.9C; 1.10A
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A; 2.3C; 2.9A, C; 2.10A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A, B; 3.3A, C, D; 3.9A, B, C; 3.10A
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.3A, C; 4.9A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.3A, C; 5.9A, B, C, D  

Two Hour Investigations


Water is the most abundant, unique and important substance on Earth. It is essential to all life. Aquatic habitats, especially wetlands, are among the most endangered habitats in the U. S., making the monitoring of their health vital. Students will investigate the health of one of our bodies of water by conducting a bioinventory of aquatic invertebrates. Older grades may conduct additional water testing as time permits.

TEKS aligned grades 1-5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.3C; 1.7B; 1.10A, C, D
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2C, D, E; 2.7B; 2,8C; 2.10C
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1B; 3.2B, D, E; 3.10A, C
  • 4th Grade: 4.1B; 4.2B, D, F; 4.8B; 4.10A, C
  • 5th Grade: 5.1B; 5.8B; 5.10A, C
Bird Biology

There are about 9,000 species of birds worldwide and they have many characteristics which allow them to live in a wide variety of locations. Students will investigate several bird adaptations such as beaks, feet, feathers and migration that help birds live and survive. Then students will get binoculars and take a hike to see some of the many birds that call Texas home and start a life list for bird watching.

TEKS aligned grades 1-5

  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.10A, C, D
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.9B; 2.10A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.10A, B
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.10A, B
  • 5th Grade: 5.1A; 5.10A, B
Native Plants

Natives are plants that were here when the first Europeans explored the Americas. These plants have adaptations that help them survive in the harsh Texas climate. Students will investigate these adaptations and take a hike to observe some of the native Texas plants we have at Heard. Students will also learn how the Native Americans and early pioneers used plants and will have the opportunity to use a plant-based dye.

TEKS aligned grades K – 4

  • Kindergarten: K.1A, B; K.10A, B, C, D
  • 1st Grade: 1.1A, B; 1.10B
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.10B
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.10A, B, C
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.9A; 4.10A, B, C
Rocks Rock (formerly Earth Science)

Students investigate the three rock families, the rock cycle, and fossils as they get up close and personal with specimens from our museum collection and search for fossils on the museum grounds. (Please note that all fossils found must remain on museum property.)

TEKS aligned K, 2-4

  • Kindergarten: K.1A, B; K.2A, C, D, E; K.3C; K.4B; K.7A, C
  • 2nd Grade: 2.1A, B; 2.2A, E; 2.3B, C; 2.7A
  • 3rd Grade: 3.1A; 3.3D; 3.7A
  • 4th Grade: 4.1A; 4.3D; 4.7A, C
Shake, Rattle and Roll

500,000 detectable earthquakes are estimated to occur in the world each year. 100,000 of those can be felt and about 100 of them cause damage. In this investigation, students will explore P and S waves and build models to research the variables that need to be considered when constructing a building durable enough to survive a catastrophic earthquake.

TEKS aligned grade 6

6.1A; 6.2A, C, E; 6.3B, C, D; 6.10C, D

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