Middle School Classes

Although the following classes are listed under a particular year group in accordance with the Cambridge Curriculum, they can be delivered to any middle school year. Please also see our Senior School Classes, which can be scaled to Middle School students.

Download a brochure of our Middle School Classes

M1 CLASSES
Classification and use of keys

Length: 1.5 – 2 hours
After a quick review of classification-related vocabulary and of the main invertebrate and vertebrate phyla and classes, the students will enjoy hands-on activities to classify specimens, use a numbered and a spider key. They’ll then visit our Zoo reptiles while looking at them with their new classifying eyes. This is the perfect class for a mid or end unit on classification. Could be adapted for beginning the unit upon request.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Classify animals and plants into major groups, using locally occurring examples. (7Bv3)

  • Understanding what is meant by a species (7Bv1)

Understanding Habitats

Length: 1 – 1.25 hrs plus field trip
Following a short review of habitats, adaptations and important abiotic factors, students may either answer questions about our many museum habitat dioramas or be briefed on field techniques they will employ during their field trip. A guided field trip to Spittal Pond or Trunk Island, where various habitats are observed and assessed using hands-on activities, is recommended and can either be done on the same day or on another day.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Describe how organisms are adapted to their habitat drawing on locally occurring examples. (7Be1)

Adaptations to Local Habitats - Amphibians*

Length: 1.5 – 2 hrs
This is a seasonally available class (springtime) that combines an introductory talk on Bermuda’s amphibians with a field trip to a local pond to observe tadpole and toadlet development. Meeting the Education Department’s live toads is a highlight of this class.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Describe how organisms are adapted to their habitat drawing on locally occurring examples. (7Be1)

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.

Adaptations to Local Habitats – Birds*

Length: 1.5 – 2 hrs
This is a seasonally available class (April – June) that combines an introductory talk on Bermuda’s cahows and longtails with a field trip to nearby longtail nests to document the presence of eggs, chicks or adults.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Describe how organisms are adapted to their habitat drawing on locally occurring examples. (7Be1)

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.

Adaptations to Local Habitats - Plants*

Length: 1.5 – 2 hrs
This class is available year-round and combines an introductory talk on plant adaptations with a field trip to examine how endemic and native plants are adapted to their habitats.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Describe how organisms are adapted to their habitat drawing on locally occurring examples. (7Be1)

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.

Field Study of Local Adaptations*

This class includes a series of hands-on activities designed to measure selected abiotic factors of one or more habitats to see what adaptations plants or pond fish possess to survive and thrive in the habitats studied.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Describe how organisms are adapted to their habitat drawing on locally occurring examples. (7Be1)

  • Investigate by fieldwork how organisms are adapted within a local habitat. (7Be1)

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.

Acids and Alkalis: Our Oceans Are Getting Acidic!

Length: 1.5 – 2 hours
This is a lab exercise in 4 parts where students work at their own pace exploring acids and bases. They use Litmus paper and create a pH scale using International pH Indicator. We then explore the concept of ocean acidification by mimicking CO2 dissolution in the ocean and understanding its impact on marine life.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Use indicators to distinguish acidic and alkaline solutions. (7Cc3)

  • Make careful observations including measurements. (7Eo1)

  • Use a pH scale. (7Cc1)

What’s For Lunch? Bermuda’s Food Chains

Length: 1.25 – 1.5 hrs without field trip, 2 – 2.5 hours with field trip
After a review of the theory, students construct their own food chains in groups using animals from the Spittal Pond area. Teachers can then opt for a field trip to Trunk Island or elsewhere to examine food chains or students can complete a scavenger hunt to identify whether specific aquarium and zoo animals are herbivores, omnivores or carnivores.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Draw and model simple food chains. (7Be2)

  • Discuss positive and negative influences of humans on the environment, e.g. the effect on food chains. (7Be3)

M2 CLASSES
Sound and Animals

Length: 1.5 hrs
Various stations enable students to explore sound in a hands-on way: refraction in different media, high and low pitch, whale and dolphin echolocation, sonar.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Investigate the properties of sound in terms of movement of air particles. (8Ps1)

M2 – M3 CLASSES
Green and Growing: Measuring Marine Photosynthesis

Length: 1.5 – 2 hrs
This lab helps bring the abstract concept of photosynthesis to life. Students will measure the concentration of dissolved oxygen in various experiments where different algae were incubated in light or dark conditions. Students will also understand the concept of plant respiration, the importance of nutrients and why high levels of certain nutrients can be harmful for the planet.

Cambridge framework points covered for M2:

  • Explore how plants need carbon dioxide, water and light for photosynthesis in order to make biomass and oxygen. (8Pb1)

  • Plan investigations to test ideas. (8Ep4)

  • Make predictions using scientific knowledge and understanding. (8Ep6) (See also 8Ep5, 8Eo2, 8Eo3, 8Ec3)

Cambridge framework points covered for M3:

  • Define and describe photosynthesis and use the word equation. (9Bp1)
  • Make sufficient observations and measurements to reduce error and make results more relevant.(9Eo1)
  • Explain results using scientific knowledge and understanding. (9Ec8)
  • Understand the importance of water and mineral salts to plant growth. (9Bp2) (See also 9Ep5, 9Ep7)
M3 CLASSES
Classification and use of keys

Length: 1.5 – 2 hrs
After a quick review of classification-related vocabulary and of the main invertebrate and vertebrate phyla and classes, the students will enjoy hands-on activities to classify specimens using a numbered and/or a spider key. They’ll then visit our reptiles while looking at them with their new classifying eyes. This is the perfect class for a mid or end unit on classification. Could be adapted for the beginning the unit upon request.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Use and construct keys to identify plants and animals. (9Bv1)

Ecosystems

Length: 1 hr
This class introduces students to the concepts of ecosystems and the interactions that occur between their biotic and abiotic components including the role of decomposers. The cycling of carbon, oxygen and minerals will be included.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Explain and model food chains, food webs and energy flow (9Be3)

  • Explain the role of decomposers (9Be4)

Food Chains, Food Webs & Energy Flow*

Length: 1.25 hrs
After a review of the terms and theory, students will create simulated food chains and food webs using a variety of fish species located in the aquarium. The consequences of overfishing of certain species will also be explored.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Explain and model food chains, food webs and energy flow. (9Be3)

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.

Adaptations in Exotic Species

Length: 1.25 – 1.5 hrs
Students will be introduced to examples of structural, physiological and behavioural adaptations, then students will participate in a fun experiment to test the effectiveness of different simulated bird beaks in capturing various food types. A tour of viewing adaptations in our aquarium and zoo animals completes this class.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Explain the ways in which living things are adapted to their habitats. (9Be1)

Introduction to Man’s Effects on Local & Global Environments*

Length: 1 hr, longer if field trip
Students will learn about global effects such as global warming and climate change, ocean acidification, and the threat of marine plastic debris. However, the focus will be on the effects pollution has had on Bermuda’s wildlife and how Bermuda has some of the worst effects ever reported. This class may be done at your school and may be paired with a field trip during the spring.

Cambridge framework points covered:

  • Describe and investigate some effects of human influences on the environment. (9Be6)

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.

Other Middle School Classes and Field Trips of Interest:
Snorkel excursions and REEF Watch training (field trip)*

Students will learn the value of protecting our reefs and why we need to monitor them regularly. We become citizen scientists by learning to recognize the main species of corals, fish and invertebrates so that we’re able to conduct a REEF Watch survey to estimate benthic cover and fish populations. Ideally combined with a pre-session taught at your school.

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.

How Bermuda’s Early Settlers Used Plants and Animals

Using various exhibits in our museum, students will answer questions about what settlers ate, how plants were used, when laws were enacted to protect plant and animal species, and when certain plants and animals were introduced. They then construct a time line which shows how Bermuda has changed since the Plough arrived in 1612.

The Sargasso Sea

Bermuda is the only land mass in this Sea that got its name from the Sargassum seaweed that graces its shores. Students will dabble in freshly collected seaweed when available to look for the inhabitants of this golden rainforest of the ocean. They will also learn why Bermuda should continue to lead the efforts to protect the Sargasso Sea – and will study the Bermuda Youth Declaration for the Protection of the Sargasso Sea created during the BZS Environmental Youth Conference 2014.

Water is Me!

The theme of this all day session is the human impact on the planet. In the classroom, students are exposed to various consequences of human actions on the environment. We stress the ocean environment due to Bermuda’s status as an oceanic island. The other half of the day allows the student to snorkel as we believe in inspiring our youth to protect the ocean through experiencing it. This session is conducted in collaboration with the Bermuda National Gallery Student Art Competition when the competition theme is related.

Human Impact on South Shore: Invasive Species Waging War on Bermuda’s Native & Endemic Plants (field trip)*

Students will learn how native plants are adapted to Bermuda’s sand dune and beach habitats and how they are threatened by encroaching invasive species. Field trip includes viewing casuarinas on the beach at Southlands and the plant community at Chaplin Bay. Culling of invasive wedelia and napauka can be included.

* Class can include a guided field trip to a specific habitat. Field trips may require a prior in-class session.