A Naturalist’s Journey  Grade 2-6

PRE-VISIT ACTIVITY: Create a Hudson River Journal
30 minutes
Handmade papers, drawing paper, scissors, raffia, colored pencils, pencils
To introduce Museum program to the students.
Students make journals and begin exploring their relationship to the Hudson River through writing.
Briefly introduce Museum Educators and this Museum project.
Offer students a choice of three colors of handmade paper to use for their journal cover and three sheets of drawing paper.  Students assemble journals. 
Students are given ten minutes to decorate their journal covers with colored pencil.
For ten minutes, students write silently in their journals about any thoughts and/or questions they have about the Hudson River.


60 minutes
Group is divided into classes of 30, with one Docent for up to 15 students. Teachers and adults are divided evenly among the group.
One class of 30 is seated in Riverama’s Orientation Theater.  A second class is seated on the carpet in front of the canoe in the Museum’s gallery adjacent to the Riverama gallery.
Docents give a 10-minute introduction in the Theater and by the canoe.
5 minutes relate to the Hudson and the Riverama exhibition.
5 minutes relate to what the students will do as naturalists and how they will fill Their journals with stamp images of animals in habitats from each Hudson River area found in the Riverama gallery.

Each class with is divided into two groups of 15. Groups begin journey:

“Theater” group enters exhibition:
Group I goes to the Marsh
Group II goes to the Frozen Snow Bank

“Canoe” group enters exhibition
Group I goes to the Forest
Group II goes to the Paintings and Panorama Map area
The Docent chooses two sites and two paintings to view for group discussion and journal use.
4 Areas:  10 minutes each
Wrap-up: 10 minutes, in areas where introductions were first begun.


POST-VISIT ACTIVITY: Classroom Habitat Mural
Objective  To create group murals of Hudson River animals and their surroundings with information from the students Naturalist Journey Trip Log, completed during their visit to Hudson Riverama.
Duration 45 minutes
Goal To reinforce the observations and learning experiences of the students from their Trip Logs and visit Hudson Riverama.
Theme Hudson River animals, their characteristics, and habitats.
Material 30 sheets of craft paper (approx. 3’ x 3’)
Worktables and workspace for 5-6 groups of students (5 in each group)
Blank sheets of paper
Scissors, glue, tape
Poster paints
Collage materials
Markers, pencils
Students’ Trip Logs from Riverama visit
Supplemental photocopies of Hudson River animal tracks, animal images
Copies Hudson Riverama floor plan w/ scenic habitats (highlighted)
Habitat Cards with written highlights of each habitat in Riverama
Students create a habitat setting for one of the animals in their Trip Log. They each write an observation of their animal and identify some of its major characteristics on a separate sheet that is attached to the mural page. They will also fill in other features of the habitat that they remembered. Each group should have about 5 students. The students in each group have different jobs assigned to them.
Trip Log Reporter takes the information from the trip log about an animal and writes it on the mural. Assumes the role of an on-the-scene reporter and writes a short paragraph about the animal and habitat to present to the class.
Habitat Designer takes the information about the habitat from the trip log, Riverama and the Habitat card designs an outline of the habitat on the mural sheet and identifies the items in the design.
Layout Artist
assists the Habitat Designer in drawing the outline of the habitat on the mural sheet and marks where specific items and features should be. Also completes a background with paints, markers, and collage materials.
Background Artist assists the Layout Artist and fills completes the background of the habitat with paints, markers, and collage materials.
Animal Handler and Tracker
determines where the animal should be in the habitat and attaches it; also responsible for placing the animal’s tracks on the mural and identifying where it goes and what it does, and marks it on the mural.

Twenty-five to 30 minutes is needed to complete a habitat.

To finish, each group presents their mural projects to the class. The Trip Log Reporter reads their paragraph about the animal and its habitat. If time, additional group members explain what they did and why.

The groups may bring their murals back to school for display. Additional observations may be added as more is discovered about the animals and their habitats. Information may be added below the mural in the form of additional Trip Log pages or sheets.



















River Mapping   Grade 2-6

Objective Students assemble pieces of a large-scale floor map of the Hudson River to become familiar with the river’s geography and landforms.
Duration 45 minutes – 1 hour
Goal Students work cooperatively to observe and record changes in the course, depth, and land formations of the Hudson.
Theme Changes in Hudson River geography
Materials USGS and NOAA maps of regions of the Hudson, mounted on masonite
1 photocopy of each puzzle piece (11” x 17”)
Large floor space
For grades 1 – 4: Collage materials for Hudson River landscapes
Several cans of markers
Scissors, tape, glue
Photocopies of sets of reduced Hudson Riverama Video Map landscape images
Photocopied sheet of labels for natural and man-made landmarks in the Hudson
Photocopies of small Hudson River fish images and drawings
Photocopies of reduced River Model call out (zoom-in) panels
Copies of geographic key to landmarks, call-outs, fish and video map images, based on Upper, Middle and Lower Hudson sections of Hudson Riverama.
Pencils for each student
Procedure 1.    Students assemble a complete map of the Hudson River. Students then find what natural and man-made landmarks are shown on their puzzle pieces.

2.     Students are paired and given a piece of the puzzle, with approx. 15 minutes to assemble it. A few more minutes should be allowed for grades 1-4.

3.     Students are asked to observe how the pieces fit together to form the course of the Hudson, to find the deepest, narrowest, and widest points and locate the river’s mouth and where its source.

4a    For grades 1-4: When finished, students work with a partner or in small teams to create a landscape their section, using collage materials. Items can be glued onto the photocopy of their piece of the puzzle and taken back to school.

4b.   For grades 5-8: When finished, students work with a partner or in small teams to cut out the photocopies of the landmarks and features that in their section and attach them to the copy of their piece. Students should determine where their piece of the puzzle is along the Hudson: Upper, Middle, or Lower, and may want to refer to the smaller copies of the Hudson River maps for this information.

Option for Step 4: Or students may create a journal attaching cutouts from the photocopies on separate pages to describe what they found in their piece of the puzzle.

Conclusion A Museum Educator asks students to observe the assembled puzzle:
What did they discover when they put it together?
How is it different from the piece they started with?
What did they find out when they put it together?
What changes did the Hudson River show when they looked at the whole puzzle?
What are some of the landmarks on their individual puzzle pieces?
What do they think the most important feature of their piece is? Why?
What do they think the most important feature of the whole puzzle? Why?

A Museum Educator reviews the geography of the Hudson is from the group’s experience with the puzzle. Students should recognize three geographic regions: Upper, Middle, and Lower Hudson and differences between these sections (Upper = narrow, rocky, winding with lots of tributaries; Mid = very straight, consistent width, few bends, lots of islands, gets winding and pinched in the passage through the Highlands; Lower = opens into wide bays and wide river channels, has large population centers along its banks, empties into the Atlantic Ocean).

Teacher receives vocabulary sheet and copies of the Key and associated photocopies.

Post-Visit Activity: As a follow-up, these projects can be reassembled as puzzle in their classroom. Additional information can be added by student research.