Children holding a science project

STEP South Carolina Program Offerings

Student Programs

Kindergarten (Silver Bluff Audubon Center Only)

Program Theme: Audubon Jr. Explorers

Lab Study: Critter Taxidermy
Field Study: Earth Materials Investigation
Eco-Hike: Explorers' Hike

Using their senses and simple tools, students will make observations of taxidermy animals and learn what it takes to survive in the wild.  They will explore the natural world around them, by using scientific tools to make observations and predictions, as they have fun experimenting with earth materials.  An eco-hike will involve an exploration of the natural world; looking for clues of animals that live at Silver Bluff Audubon Center.

SC Science Performance Indicators: K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.5, K.L.2A.6

PROGRAM THEME: “GOOD-NATURED” Detectives

Lab Study: Critter Taxidermy
Field Study: Nature Observers
Eco-Hike: Scavenger Hunt

Students will go on a hike to observe the wonders of nature and the world around them. While on the hike, students will collect items to be used in their Field Study lesson where they will use scientific tools to observe, measure, and sort their collected items. In the Lab Study, students will discover how their items are used by critters and people in their daily lives.

SC Science Performance Indicators: K.P.4A.1, K.P.4A.2, K.P.4A.3, K.L.2A.1, K.L.2A.3, K.L.2A.5, K.L.2A.6


1st Grade (Silver Bluff Audubon Center Only)

Program Theme: Here We GROW Again!

Lab Study: Our Leafy Friends
Field Study: Exploration: Soil Pit
Eco-Hike: Adventures with Stickman

Students will learn just how important soil is to plant life in this soil and plant combination program! Students will use science process skills and tools to discover different earth materials that make up what we call dirt, and conduct investigations to determine how water affects the land . A study of plant parts, a seed dissection, and a trip through a soil tunnel will help students understand the relationships between soil and plants. They will go on an adventure with Stickman and make some great observations of the world around them!

SC Science Performance Indicators: 1.E.4A.1, 1.E.4B.1, 1.L.5A.1, 1.L.5A.2, 1.L.5B.1

Program Theme: Green Things

Lab Study: Our Leafy Friends
Field Study: Adopt-A-Tree
Eco-Hike: Adventures with Stickman

Students will dive head first into all that is green and blooming!  Through observation, investigation, and experimentation, students will gain a better understanding of the structures, functions, and life cycles of plants.   Students will “adopt” of their very own tree, using technology and measurement tools to make observations!  Students will classify plant parts and crawl through a soil tunnel to see what may be growing/living underground.  They will go on an adventure with Stickman and make some great observations of the world around them!

SC Science Performance Indicator: 1.L.5A.1, 1.L.5A.2, 1.L.5B.1

Program Theme: Mother Nature’s Math

Lab Study: Gee, I’m a Tree!
Field Study: EnviroMath
Eco-Hike: Follow the Math Trail

Through the use of natural objects, students will explore basic geometry, measurement, and number concepts while honing their skills in engineering, observing, and classifying!The students will participate in an immersive nature hike that will open their eyes to math in the real-world.

SC Science Performance Indicators: 1.MDA.1/1.MDA.2


2nd Grade (Silver Bluff Audubon Center Only)

Program Theme: Feathered Friends

Lab Study: Feathered Taxidermy
Field Study: Bird Beak Buffet (Game)
Eco-Hike: Evidence of Birds Hike

Students will enter the fantastic world of our feathered friends found right here in their own backyards!  Through careful observations of taxidermy birds, students will infer behavior, diet and habitat based on their body structures.  Next, students will use models to investigate how different bird beaks help them survive. This wildlife adventure will conclude with students going where the birds live; becoming animal detectives, hunting for birds and the clues they leave in the forest.

SC Science Performance Indicators: 2.L.5B.1 and 2.L.5B.2

Program Theme: Cycling Through Life

Lab Study: Critter Taxidermy
Field Study: Life Cycle Detectives
Eco-Hike: Bingo Scavenger Hunt

Through careful observation of taxidermy animals, students will infer how their body parts help them survive throughout their life.  Students will discover how living things amazingly cycle through life beginning with a scavenger hunt, and then collaborate with a hands-on classifying and sequencing activity to determine the life cycle of an organism.  An eco-hike will enhance understanding and appreciation for the uniqueness of each organism’s life journey! 

SC Science Performance Indicators: 2.L.5A.2 and 2.L.5A.3

Program Theme: Arthropod Adventure & Pollinator Parade (Silver Bluff Audubon )

Lab Study: Pill Bugs vs Butterflies
Field Study: Migration Game
Eco-Hike: Arthropod Hunt

Get up close and personal with insects and other arthropods! Students will participate in a pill bug investigation, play a pollinator game as they learn about monarch migration, and collect creepy crawlies on an eco-hike.

SC Science 2.L.5A.1-3, 2.L.5B.1


3rd Grade (Silver Bluff Audubon Center or SRS)

Program Theme: Eco-Venture SBA (2 classes per day)

Lab Study: Pondering Life
Field Study: Into the Forest
Eco-Hike: Meadow Madness/Carolina Bay

Join us on an extended eco-hike adventure, participating in standards-based STEAM environmental activities including observations of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  Along the way, students will make careful observations of different environments. They will record temperature, soils, animal, and plant life found while discovering the wonders of wetlands and the mysteries of a forest. Participants should wear long pants and closed-toe walking shoes.

SC Science Performance Indicator: 3.L.5A.1, 3.L.5A.2, 3.L.5B.1

Program Theme: Dirt Detectives

Lab Study: CSI Soil
Field Study: Archaeology Dig
Eco-Hike: Exploration: Soil Pit

There is so much going on just below our feet!  Investigations of soil types and properties will be used to help students solve a mystery of a missing bike.  Students will participate in an archaeology adventure to unlock mysteries from long ago. Finally, students will take a short hike to the soil pit to identify soil types in the Silver Bluff Audubon Center and Sanctuary forest. 

SC Science Performance Indicator: 3.E.4A, Social Studies: standard 3-2  


4th Grade (SRS or Silver Bluff Audubon Center)

Program Theme: Birds Alive!

Lab Study: Critter Taxidermy
Field Study: Bird Beak Buffet (Game)
Eco-Hike: Evidence of Birds Hike

Have you ever thought about how animals survive out there? Students will make careful observations of taxidermy animals to explore ways that each animal can defend itself, move, obtain food, and camouflage from predators. After a simulated game of survival in a natural disaster, students will have a better appreciation of the challenges presented by an intricate and dynamic environment of our feathered friends! A walk on a nature trail, to look for native birds and the clues they leave behind, is a real adventure!

SC Science Performance Indicator: 4.L.5B.3, 4.L.5A.1, 4.L.5A.3, 4.L.5A.4

Program Theme: Dazzling Diversity

Lab Study: Critter Taxidermy
Field Study: Animal Detectives
Eco-Hike: BINGO Scavenger Hunt

Students will immerse themselves in the diversity of organisms that live in their own backyard!  Close-up investigations of native taxidermy and live animals will allow for observation and inference of just how each critter is adapted to its individual habitat.  Students will become detectives, using good observations and inferencing, to figure out the species of animal they are tracking.  An eco-hike in the forest will provide dazzling examples of diversity. 

SC Science Performance Indicator: 4.L.5B.2, 4.L.5B.3

Program Theme: Water Dance (2 groups per day)

Lab Study: Pondering Life
Field Study: Water Cycle (Game)
Eco-Hike: Weather station stop

Students will investigate the water cycle and the role it plays on earth.  Students will be immersed in the movement of water through simulation activities.  Students will determine water quality through macro-invertebrate collection at a pond on site. Finally, students will take a short hike and visit our weather station.

SC Science Performance Indicator: 4.E.2A.2, 4.L5.A.1, 4.L5.A.3

PROGRAM THEME: ENGINEERING INSECTS

Lab Study: Ninja Skills Unlimited
Field Study: Build-A-Bug
Eco-Hike: Insect Hunt

Students will investigate the ninja skills of insects and discover how to compare them to their own abilities. They will learn about the anatomy of an insect and special adaptations of certain insects. Students will then go on a scavenger hunt to gather materials to engineer their own anatomically correct insect. During the eco-hike, students will have their own exploration time with nets, collection containers, and guide books!

SC Science Performance Indicator: 4.L.5B.1, 4.L.5B.3


5th Grade (SRS or Silver Bluff Audubon Center)

Program Theme: Eco-Venture

Lab Study: Pondering Life
Field Study: Into the Forest
Eco-Hike: Meadow Madness/Carolina Bay

Join us on an extended eco-hike adventure!  Students will participate in standards-based STEAM environmental activities including observations of biotic and abiotic factors of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that affect the balance of nature.  Participants should wear long pants and closed-toe walking shoes.

SC Science Performance Indicator:5.L.4A.1, 5.L.4A.2, 5.L.4B.2, 5.L.4B.3, 5.L.4B.4

Program Theme: Water, Water Everywhere (2 groups per day)

Lab Study: We All Live Downstream
Field Study: Pondering Life

Students will investigate the wonderful world of water through macro-invertebrate collection at a local pond. In addition, watershed modeling and problem-solving will enhance student understanding of the land-water-human connection.

SC Science Performance Indicators: 5.E.3A.1, 5.L.4A.1   


6th Grade (SRS or Silver Bluff Audubon Center)

Program Theme: Sparrow and the Woodpecker

Lab Study: Feathered Taxidermy
Field Study: Bird Beak Buffet (Game)
Eco-Hike: Forest Assessment Hike

Students will explore the challenges of avian survival. Through observation, inference and use of a dichotomous key, students will use taxidermy birds to investigate adaptations that allow for success of birds in diverse and changing environments.   Students will engage in a game of survival to see if they have what it takes to endure a natural disaster!   Finally, students will hike the area to investigate the habitat challenges and formulate strategies to help protect some of our most endangered native birds.

SC Science Performance Indicator: 6.L.4B.2

Program Theme: Roots and Shoots

Lab Study: Gee, I'm A Tree
Field Study: Adopt-a-Tree
Eco-Hike: Plant Diversity Hike

In this STEM program, students will investigate the roots, shoots and all other structures that allow success in the plant world.  Students will use some clever detective work and inferencing to figure out the species of tree they have “adopted”.  Through use of dichotomous keys, students will gain a better understanding of the great diversity of plants.  Students will discover the geometry behind a forester’s field technology tools. Finally, students will hike to observe examples of tropisms and classify species within the plant kingdom.

SC Science Performance Indicators: 6.L.5B.3; SC Math Standards: 6.EEI.6, 6.NS.5


7th Grade (SRS or Silver Bluff Audubon Center)

Program Theme: Survivor! (SBA Only)

Lab Study: Critter Taxidermy
Field Study: Bird Beak Buffet
Eco-Hike: Some Assembly Required

Students will take a short walk to the soil pit and be a pedologist for an hour; determining what soil types are found locally and how that affects plant/animal life in the area. Students will play a game that will bring about real-life questions concerning population fluctuations during a natural disaster.  Finally, students will collect data as they hike to determine aspects of 2 different forests and how the differences can mean life or death for a species.

SC Science Performance Indicator: 7.SI.A.8, 7.EC.5A.2, 7.ECC.5A.3, 7.EC.5B.3

Program Theme: Dirty Business

Lab Study: CSI: Soil
Field Study: Soil Pit Investigation
Eco-hike: Scavenger Hunt: Gopher Tortoise

Time to get our hands dirty! Students will investigate quality of soils through the use of tests and tools in both the soil pit investigation and soils lab. They will help solve a “crime” in CSI: Soil, and learn different ways of testing soils while at the soil pit. A scavenger hunt, centered around the endangered Gopher Tortoise, will add some friendly competition while making real-world connections. Through these hands-on, minds-on activities, a better understanding will be gained of the importance of healthy soil to plants, animals, and all living things in our ecosystem.

SC Science Performance Indicator: 7.EC.5A.1, 7.EC.5A.2, 7.EC.5A.3, 7.S.1A.2, 7.S.1A.4, 7.S.1A.7, 7.S.1A.5


8th Grade (SRS or Silver Bluff Audubon Center)

Program Theme: Hunger Games

Lab Study: Feathered Taxidermy
Field Study: We All Live Downstream
Eco-hike: Scavenger Hunt

How do natural and man-made factors contribute to species survival? Students will investigate how weathering, erosion, and deposition affect water quality within a watershed, and what can be done to avoid polluting our water. Through observation of taxidermy birds, students will discover how biological adaptations help species survive. Finally, students will find real life examples of these concepts on an eco-hike as they determine forest health for two local birds of concern.

SC Science Performance Indicator: 8.E.5A.1, 8.E.5A.2, 8.E.6B.1, 8.E.6B.2


9th-12th Grade (SRS or Silver Bluff Audubon Center)

Program Theme: It's a Tough World!

Lab Study: Critter Taxidermy
Field Study: Territorial Dispute (Game)
Eco-Hike: Some Assembly Required

Through a game of survival, students will begin to answer real-life questions about how different species are able to adapt to a natural disaster. Through interaction with taxidermy animals, students will investigate adaptations that allow for survival of the individual and the stability of the species. Finally, students will go on a hike to determine aspects of 2 different forests and how the differences can mean life or death for a species.

SC Science Performance Indicator: H.B.6.A, H.B.6D.1

Program Theme: Wet World (2 groups per day)

Lab Study: We All Live Downstream (Advanced)
Field Study: Pondering Life (Advanced)

On our blue planet, humans play a vital role in the protection and preservation of our watery resources.  Students will learn more about these effects through experimenting with human behaviors that influences the location, quality and quantity of water within a watershed. Biological analysis will reveal the quality of a local pond.

SC Science Performance Indicator: H.B.6.A1


Advanced High School/College Level (Silver Bluff Audubon Center)

Wetlands: Home to More than Mosquitoes (Spring only)

Lab: The Land Through Time
Field: Soil Studies
Eco-Hike: Wetland Mitigation

Students will experience a hands-on, up-close encounter with wetlands to learn of the importance of the misunderstood ecosystem and the role that it plays in wildlife and plant diversity. Land use changes through time. Students will learn how to use dated maps to calculate land area, percentages of types of land coverage, and run off. Students will then be immersed in the history of Silver Bluff Audubon, learning about the land’s uses throughout history while viewing SBA maps from different time periods. They will learn about Silver Bluff’s wetland mitigation project and visit the site where the project is taking place. They will learn how to take soil samples and through color and texture, deduce whether the site is, or has ever been, the site of a wetland. Possible career paths will be introduced throughout the program: conservation scientist, botanist, environmental engineer, hydrologist, biologist, environmental scientist.

SC Standards and Performance Indicators: H.B.6A.1, H.B.6D, H.B.1A.5, H.B.1A.2, H.B.1A.4, H.B.6C.1, H.B.6C.7

Birds, Burning, and Bottomlands, the Three B's of Bird-Friendly Forestry

Field: Habitat Assessment: Red-Cockaded Woodpecker
Field: Habitat Assessment: Swainson’s Warbler

Students will learn the history and importance of the Longleaf Pine and its unique community in the Southeast, with an emphasis on the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker and threatened Bachman’s Sparrow. Using forestry tools, students will assess two different forest habitats to determine suitability for these birds. A trip to the “island” will allow the students to learn about and utilize a different assessment tool to find the best habitat for the Swainson’s Warbler. Career paths will be addressed throughout the day: forestry, wildlife biology, ecology.

SC Standards and Performance Indicators: H.B.6A.1, H.B.6D, H.B.1A.5, H.B.1A.2, H.B.1A.4, H.B.6C.1, H.B.6C.7

How Healthy Is Your Watershed?

Lab: We All Live Downstream
Field: Pondering Life

Using biotic and abiotic testing techniques, students will assess the health of a watershed, its effects on birds and other wildlife, and ways to be good stewards of our water resources. At a pond on Silver Bluff Audubon property, students will use dip nets to collect macro-invertebrates, identify them with field guides and dichotomous keys, and assign each organism a pollution tolerance score. From their data and results, they will determine the health of the pond. In a lab setting, students will use chemical testing to pinpoint pollutants in water, infer from maps the probable causes, and brainstorm various solutions. Career paths will be addressed throughout the day: limnology, hydrology, ecology, chemistry, marine biology.

SC Standards and Performance Indicators: H.B.6A, H.B.6D.1, H.E.6A, H.B.1A.5, H.B.1A.2, H.B.1A.4, H.B.6C.1, H.B.6C.7, H.B.1B.1

“Motus” Operandi: Decoding the Story of Migration

Lab: Migrating with Motus
Field: Mission Migration
Eco-Hike: Evidence of Birds Hike

Students will be introduced to the Motus Wildlife Tracking System through an interactive classroom demonstration, learning of its use in facilitating research and education on the ecology and conservation of migratory birds. Particularly during fall and spring migration periods, students will take binoculars and field guides on an informative hike with one of our volunteer birders to observe migrants to Silver Bluff Audubon and determine the importance of sanctuaries such as this one to migration flyways. Students will participate in a migration simulation and explore the challenges faced by migratory birds. Careers will be discussed throughout the day: conservation sciences, biology, ornithology, ecology.

SC Standards and Performance Indicators: H.B.6A, H.B.6D, H.B.1A.4, H.B.1A.2, H.B.1A, H.B.1A.7,

H.B.6C.1, H.B.6D.1, H.B.1B.1

*Optional: Open-ended field experience

Design and guide your own program experience using the varied locations that Silver Bluff Audubon has to offer! The 3,400 acres has ponds, forests, wetlands, and the Savannah River! You can develop your own field experience with the support of our staff and supplemental tools.

Simply choose this option on the reservation request form, and indicate your topic interests and preferences in locations.

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