Education Program Descriptions

We offer six educational programs suitable for 1st through 5th grade students.

My Home, Your Habitat

Students learn the difference between wild and domestic, and that all living things need a habitat to survive. Food, water, shelter and space are described for tiny barnacles and giant whales, allowing students to deduce the common concept from extreme examples. Facilitated interaction with the specimens in our observation tank and salt-water aquarium, along with puppetry and chalk drawing, help students to visualize life’s many adaptations under the waves. Fits curriculum standards for 1st grade.

Whales, Whales, Whales

Students review the concept of habitat while studying the natural history of the California gray whales during their annual migration. Observation skills are emphasized. Students learn classification of mammals, and how marine mammals exist in their habitat. Human influences and the history of whaling in North America are also illustrated. Our life-size gray whale jigsaw puzzle allows students to visualize the rudiments of whale anatomy along with the team challenge of assembling 80 odd pieces. During the annual Gray whale migration, we often combine activities from this program with “Exploring Marine Habitats”.

Exploring Marine Habitats

Students explore the concept of adaptation among the plants and animals living in Point Cabrillo’s indoor tidepool observation tank and aquarium, and during a land based nature walk. Student directed learning activities engage children in discovering both the unique solutions, and the needs we have in common with the flora and fauna around us. Fits curriculum standards for 2nd grade.

Living on the North Coast

Students take a look at human history on the north coast from the Pomo Indians to the present. We look at the way all cultures interact with the land they live on — they change it, use it, and are changed by it. Activities include making iris twine and drilling shells with a pump drill. Students play detective with artifacts and photos from the days of the early European settlers, and make up their own stories about life on the coast. They also learn about the lightkeepers, why lighthouses were so important to economic growth, and they tour the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Fits curriculum standards for 3rd grade.

The Story of the Frolic,

the Shipwreck that Changed the North Coast Forever

Students focus on the story of the Frolic, a sailing clipper that foundered off Point Cabrillo carrying China trade goods for gold-rush San Francisco. This pivotal moment in California history illustrates how history is a series of events that are all dependent on each other, and how we make history every day through our choices and actions. Students use compasses to navigate, visit the wreck site and the Pomo Indian midden where artifacts from the wreck were identified, and reenact the Frolic story in costume. Fits curriculum standards for 4th grade. This lesson plan is also available as an in-class program.

Restoring Coastal Ecosystems

Everything in nature exists in interdependent systems. This program looks at the impact that humans have had on the environment and the decisions we need to make about restoring or maintaining the balance of these systems. Students examine and discuss the ecology of the north coast on land and in the sea. Activities include a food web game; a scavenger hunt using a plant key and a restoration project where students can contribute to the ongoing care of the Preserve. Fits curriculum standards for 5th grade.