Every Kid Outdoors FREE Programs for 4th & 5th Grades

Explore Sandy Hook from Your Classroom with the EVERY KID OUTDOORS Program – FREE to 4th & 5th Grades! 

Whether your students are in class or learning from home, we can enhance their educational experience with a fun “virtual” field trip!  For more than 30 years, school groups from New Jersey and neighboring states have enjoyed learning about coastal ecosystems with New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) at Sandy Hook, a unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.  NJSGC is proud to partner with the National Park Service and Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy to offer FREE virtual programs to 4th and 5th grade students for Spring and Fall 2021.

As part of the Every Kid Outdoors initiative, 4th and 5th graders (along with their families and teachers) are encouraged to visit national parks to experience the natural wonders and cultural history that can be found there.  NJSGC headquarters has long been located at Sandy Hook, thus bringing this unique national park experience to tens of thousands of students since 1976.  Given the current circumstances, the talented educators at NJSGC have now taken these outdoor experiences and adapted them for remote learning.  Educators with 4th and 5th grade students interesting in participating in the Every Kid Outdoors program through NJSGC can choose from 2 FREE virtual programs led by NJSGC educators:

  1. Coastal Ecosystems – Based on our most popular and comprehensive field trip, Marsh & Ocean Environments, students learn about the estuaries, maritime forests, and barrier beaches found at Gateway National Recreation Area and the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary. Explore the importance of the plants and animals found there, and how human interactions with these environments can both positively and negatively impact them.  Discover the concepts of watersheds and marine food webs through a lively interactive and game-enhanced presentation.
  2. Terrific Terrapins – Meet New Jersey’s estuarine turtles, the Northern Diamondback Terrapin, in this fun program that teaches students why these animals are so unique and important to our coastal ecosystems. Students will participate in an interactive presentation with a LIVE Northern Diamondback Terrapin to answer questions about and discover this reptile’s adaptations, anatomy, habitat, and more. Students will also learn about the impacts humans are having on terrapin populations, and what some local groups and scientists are doing to help protect this charming turtle.
  3. Sharks vs. Rip Currents – Even though sharks are often seen as the most dangerous and life-threatening inhabitants of the ocean, children really love learning about them. Rip currents are more common and actually can be more of a hazard to bathers. Students learn about shark ecology and what makes them an important apex predator in the marine environment. Rip current mechanics are discussed as students learn how to spot them from the beach and safely escape if they are caught in one. Students test their knowledge as they work in teams in a Jeopardy-style game that compares the aspects of these two marine “inhabitants.”

All programs support New Jersey Student Learning Standards and can be modified for learning abilities.  To encourage interaction among participants, each program is 45-60 minutes and accommodates 1 class of up to 25 students.

Participation in NJSGC’s Every Kid Outdoors program requires that 4th and 5th grade educators MUST complete the following requirements with their students:

  1. Complete a pre-program “Web Quest” to familiarize students with program concepts;
  2. Participate in a virtual NJSGC-instructor led program; and
  3. Provide NJSGC with your feedback by completing a program survey.

Contact the Education Department at reservations@njseagrant.org for further information.

The Every Kid Outdoors initiative is made possible by a generous contribution from the National Park Foundation.  Learn about the education efforts of our partners, the National Park Service and Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy.