Ecology/Conservation
Protecting the Earth for future generations takes first learning about our planet, the environment, and how the ecosystem works. Get ecology teaching tips, project ideas, and more.
Things to See & Do in Virginia
Assateague Island National Seashore
Storm tossed seas, as well as gentle breezes shape Assateague Island. This barrier island is a tale of constant movement and change. Bands of wild horses freely roam amongst plants and native animals that have adapted to a life of sand, salt and wind. Special thickened leaves and odd shapes reveal the plant world’s successful struggle here. Ghost crabs buried in the cool beach sand and tree swallows plucking bayberries on their southward migration offer glimpses of the animal world’s connection to Assateague.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,180-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern Georgia. It traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, it was built by private citizens and completed in 1937. The trail traverses Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.
Prince William Forest Park
Prince William Forest Park, located in Prince William County, Virginia, is the largest protected natural area in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region at over 15,000+ acres. Today, the park serves as a window into the past, of what much of the east coast once looked like centuries ago. The park is an example of the increasingly uncommon Piedmont forest and its ecosystems and protects the Quantico Creek watershed. It is a sanctuary for numerous native plant and animals species. The park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including wildlife viewing, 37 miles of hiking trails and 21 miles of bicycle accessible roads and trails. The park’s cultural resources are also varied. They include the remnants of Joplin and Hickory Ridge, two small communities existing prior to the park’s establishment, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who built the facilities, roads and lakes during the 1930s and the U.S. Army’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS) who used the land exclusively for training spies and radio operators between 1942 and 1945, just to name a few.
Mill Mountain Zoo
Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke exhibits 45 species of exotic and native animals on a ten acre site. Winding pathways and observation areas provide close viewing of such animals as a Siberian Tiger, Red Pandas, Golden Lion Tamarins, Hawks, Tree Kangaroos, and reptiles. A popular contact area includes goats and small mammals which children can learn about up close. During the summer season, programs are presented on the Zoo's amphitheater located at the top of Mill Mountain with beautiful views of the Roanoke Valley below.
Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center
Located in Virginia Beach, the Virginia Marine Science Museum features a total of 800,000 gallons of aquariums, live animal habitats, more than 300 hands-on exhibits, nature trail, aviary, and an IMAX theater.
Great Falls Park
Great Falls Park, a site that is part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, is an 800 acre park located along the Potomac River 14 miles upriver from Washington D.C. The park is known for two things, its scenic beauty at the head of Potomac River fall line and the historic Patowmack Canal.
Shenandoah National Park
Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which form the eastern rampart of the Appalachian Mountains between Pennsylvania and Georgia. The Shenandoah River flows through the valley to the west, with Massanutten Mountain, 40 miles long, standing between the river's north and south forks. The rolling Piedmont country lies to the east of the park. Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road that winds along the crest of the mountains through the length of the park, provides vistas of the spectacular landscape to east and west. The park holds more than 500 miles of trails, including 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail. Trails may follow a ridge crest, or they may lead to high places with panoramic views or to waterfalls in deep canyons. Many animals, including deer, black bears, and wild turkeys, flourish among the rich growth of an oak-hickory forest. In season, bushes and wildflowers bloom along the Drive and trails and fill the open spaces. Apple trees, stone foundations, and cemeteries are reminders of the families who once called this place home.
Green Springs
Green Springs National Historic Landmark District encompasses over 14,000 acres in the western piedmont of central Virginia. It is a shallow basin created by the erosion of a volcanic intrusion, geologic activity that created the particularly fertile soil which has sustained farming for almost three centuries. The homes and farms are a continuum of Virginia rural vernacular architecture, reflective and respectful of their location, preserved in their original context with little alteration. Here the landscape has been enhanced, rather than despoiled, by the presence of civilization.
Virginia Zoological Park
Located on 53 acres adjacent to Norfolk's Lafayette Park, the Zoo was established in 1901 as a City Park and has over 375 animals and features one of the finest Africa habitats in the country. The 8-acre Africa exhibit is aptly named Okavango Delta, because it is representative of the actual Okavango Delta region in Botswana, Africa.
Activities & Experiments
How I Teach a Large Family in a Relaxed, Classical Way: Science
Family style learning is a great way to tackle lots of different subjects, including science.
Arbor Day National Poster Contest
Join over 74,000 fifth grade classrooms and home schools across America in the Arbor Day National Poster Contest. The theme chosen will increase your students’ knowledge of how trees produce and conserve energy. The free Activity Guide includes activities to use with fifth grade students to teach the importance of trees in producing and conserving energy. These activities correlate with National Science and Social Study Standards. The Guide also includes all of the information you need for poster contest participation.
ExploraVision
ExploraVision is a competition for all students in grades K-12 attending a school in the U.S., Canada, U.S. Territory or a Department of Defense school. Homeschooled students are eligible to enter. It is designed to encourage students to combine their imagination with their knowledge of science and technology to explore visions of the future. Teams of students select a technology, research how it works and why it was invented, and then project how that technology may change in the future. They must then identify what breakthroughs are required for their vision to become a reality and describe the positive and negative consequences of their technology on society. Winning ideas have focused on things as simple as ballpoint pens and as complex as satellite communications. The student teams write a paper and draw a series of Web page graphics to describe their idea. Regional winners make a Web site and a prototype of their future vision.
Handbook of Nature Study
Based on Charlotte Mason's method of education, this website offers ideas and resources for incorporation nature study into your homeschool.
Featured Resources

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Different Brains, Different Learners: How to Reach the Hard to Reach
Nearly 40% of all students have some kind of learning challenges, yet many go undetected. This practical comprehensive guide has been written that links the latest brain research with teaching strategies to reach you most frustrating, hard-to-reach learners. It's packed with powerful tools, techniques, and strategies that can actually help students improve brain function without resorting to medical interventions.Arm yourself with powerful knowledge for solving difficult learning problems; ...
Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)
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Tomorrows Child
Tomorrow's Child magazine offers insights and information that helps parents to feel confident that Montessori will prepare their children for the real world. It will help you understand and appreciate Montessori and apply it in your home.
TruthQuest History
The TruthQuest History series consists of ten volumes that serve as guides for parent wishing to use real books in their approach to history education. They are full of book recommendations, along with information on the topics of study. There are also writing exercises included in these texts.
Easy Grammar Systems
Easy Grammar Systems publishes the Easy Grammar and Daily Grams teaching texts for use through high school. Students use a “hands on” approach (deleting/marking) and learn correct usage and why that usage is appropriate. Review and using information previously learned to teach new concepts help to insure mastery learning. This method is both easy to teach and easy to learn.