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Discovery Lessons

discovery lessons

kids exploring fossils

Thank you for your interest in school programs! We value your time and your interest in the Academy. We know these are trying times for all of us, and we look forward to continuing to inspire students about the natural world.

For the 2020-2021 school year we are excited to offer guided virtual lessons for school students K-12, which keep you and your students safe while exploring the Academy with us! On-site school lessons and the Academy On the Go outreach program are on hold until further notice as we follow state and city health standards and prioritize staff and student safety.

We will be offering support materials, resources and lessons online so you can deliver science learning in your classrooms and homes. Our guided virtual visits and lessons engage students virtually with water quality, climate change, evolution and biodiversity & extinction—the Academy’s key science focus areas. Our teacher guides contain further themed content and activities for your students to continue exploring their passion for the natural world.

We look forward to working with you again and virtually inspiring your students!

Planning a future visit? Check out our offerings below!

Discovery Lessons

Participate in a fun, in-depth investigation of the natural sciences! Through these interactive classroom experiences, your students will practice important scientific skills, from making observations to designing experiments and interpreting data. Discovery Lessons take place in a museum classroom, with visits to exhibit areas as appropriate.

All lessons have been developed to meet Educational Standards, including Pennsylvania State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Discovery lessons take place Tuesday through Friday at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.

All lessons last 45 minutes and are taught by an experienced Academy educator.

We offer a variety of Discovery Lessons for grades Pre-K–2, 3–6, and 7–12.

Discovery Lessons are available from September 1-June 30 each year.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is an approved entity for the School District of Philadelphia. The paperwork is on file with the School District of Philadelphia Risk Management Office.

Programs using live animals are denoted by a live animals are part of this lesson

Grade  Fee

Discovery Lessons
Tuesday through Friday Only
Lessons are 45 minutes each

Maximum # students
per lesson
Pre K-2 $80 Bugs to Butterflies live animals are part of this lesson 30
Pre K-2 $80 Dinosaurs: Unearthing the Past includes
guided experience in The Big Dig
3-6   $80 Fossil Forensics 30 
3-6 $80 Amazing Arthropods live animals are part of this lesson 30
3-6/7-12 $80 Science Detectives live animals are part of this lesson 30
7-12 $80 Exploring Evolution 35
Bugs to Butterflies live animals are part of this lesson
Grades Pre K–2
What’s the difference between an insect and a spider? What senses does a butterfly use to discover its world? Explore the amazing world of boneless creatures using role-playing activities and museum specimens, and by touching live invertebrates.
Download An Educator's Guide to Butterflies.
PA 3.1 A1, A3, A5
PA 4.1 D 
PA 4.4 C
NGSS: K-2: LS1
Amazing Arthropods live animals are part of this lesson
Grades 3–6
Eat or be eaten is the name of the game in this lesson about arthropods featuring museum specimens and real live invertebrates. Investigate the adaptations animals as diverse as millipedes and tarantulas use to obtain food or avoid becoming food in this hands-on class!
Download the Teacher's Guide.
PA 3.1 A1, A5, B5, C1, C2
PA 4.1 D
Unearthing the Past 
Grades Pre K–2
Dinosaurs continue to inspire awe in people of all ages, but what exactly classifies an animal as a dinosaur? When and where did they live? How do we know? Take dinosaur measurements, touch real fossils, and participate in role-playing activities during this introductory dinosaur class.
Includes a guided experience in The Big Dig.
Download the Teacher's Guide.
PA 3.1 A1, A5, C2, C3,
PA 3.3 A1, A3
PA 4.1 D
Fossil Forensics
Grades 3–6
You won’t see a living Tyrannosaurus rex or a mastodon hanging around in your backyard (we hope!). So how do paleontologists know about extinct animals? Solve some of the mysteries of ancient adaptations and behaviors yourself using evidence to make inferences about ancient animals by examining fossils, artifacts, and museum specimens.
Download the Teacher's Guide.
PA 3.1 A1,A5, C2, C3,
PA 3.3 A1
PA 4.1 D
Science Detectives live animals are part of this lesson
Grades 3-6
The scientific method has never been this much fun! Working in teams, you’ll study a colony of live animals, design an experiment, and generate data to answer questions about behaviors, diet, adaptations, and environmental needs.
PA 3.1 A
PA 4.1 A

Grades 7-12
Turn your students into research scientists for the day! Working in teams and using a colony of live animals, design experiments that incorporate independent and dependent variables to answer student-generated questions about animal behaviors.
Download the Teacher’s Guide.
PA 3.1 A
PA 4.1 A
NGSS: LS1, S1- 1,3,6
Exploring Evolution
Explore how scientists study the amazing story of life on Earth! By participating in hands-on activities and studying real museum specimens, students will investigate key aspects of the evolutionary process including mutation, transitional fossils, and natural selection.  Working with vertebrate skulls, they will investigate features that illustrate the evolutionary relationships between different species.
PA 3.1 A, B, C
PA 3.3 A
PA 4.1 A, D
NGSS: LS1, S1- 1,3,6