PreK-8 School Programs
Call (206) 443-2925 to register.
Use the tabs below to learn more about school programs at Mercer Slough.
K-8 Wetland Field Study Programs
Explore wetland, pond, slough and forest habitats with a half field-based and half lab-based field trip. Use scientific equipment to examine wetland life, including looking at macroinvertebrates with our video microscope. Programs require a ratio of one adult chaperone per 16 students in grades K-8. Adults are free of charge. All programs address the revised Washington State K-12 Science Standards and the Integrated Environmental and Sustainability Learning Standards.
Choose from the following themes:
Habitat Wonderers (Grades K-2)
Ever wonder what makes up a habitat? Search the wetlands for wildlife and compare them to the organisms in a forest habitat. Become an animal and figure out what adaptations you need to survive in your habitat. In the lab, focus on the pond habitat as you examine aquatic life in pond samples with a variety of magnifying tools. This program is compatible with the Insects FOSS kit and the Organisms STC Kit. Length: 3 hours with break for lunch
Soil Adventurers (Grades K-2)
Roll up those sleeves - it's time to explore soils! During the wetland hike, examine the characteristics of different soils using soil probes and your senses as you look for signs that new soil is being made. In our lab, use magnifying lenses to identify the soil recyclers that live in wetland soils and discover why soils are an important resource. This program was developed to enrich the Soils STC kit, but can be taken without the kit.
Length: 3 hours with break for lunch
Wetland Naturalists (Grades 2-5)
Experience the secrets of the wetland and make the earth move under your feet. As a naturalist, observe the soil, plants and animals as you hike through the wetland. Along the way you will encounter the challenges of a migrating bird and discover the importance of wetlands. In the lab, collect pond samples and use microscopes and other scientific tools to examine aquatic macroinvertebrates. Length: 4 hours with break for lunch
Ecosystem Explorers (Grades 4-5)
Come explore the Mercer Slough as you identify the parts of the wetland ecosystem and discover their interactions. Look for evidence of producers, consumers and decomposers and learn how these organisms are connected in a complex food web. Look for animal signs and use microscopes to identify aquatic macroinvertebrates as part of your ecosystem survey. This program complements the Ecosystems STC kit. Length: 4 hours with break for lunch
Wetland Ecologists (Grades: 6-8)
Become a wetland ecologist as you learn to delineate wetland habitats, identify plants using a dichotomous key, and compare soils using a soil probe. In the lab, collect pond samples and identify aquatic macroinvertebrates to determine their pollution tolerance levels. Compare biological and chemical tests as you assess pond water for pH and dissolved oxygen. This program is great with the Diversity of Life and chemistry content FOSS kits. Length: 5 hours with break for lunch
Preschool Field Study Programs
Bring your preschool class for a one-of-a-kind field trip to the Mercer Slough Nature Park. Students will build a sense of wonder for the natural world as you explore the park to learn about plants and animals. One adult chaperone must accompany each group of five preschoolers. Adults are free of charge.
Choose from the following:
Join us for a sensory adventure through the wetlands! From September to mid-October and mid-April to June we hike the boardwalk trail out to Mercer Slough channel from the Mercer Slough Blueberry Farm. From Mid-October to mid-April join us at the Bellefields Trailhead for a hike down through the forest to the wetland. Spot wildlife, get up close and personal with Spy Scopes, test your senses during "dozen touches" and hunt for colors of the rainbow.
- Ages 3-5
- Length: 1.5 hours
Discover what kinds of creatures live around the wetland as you descend from a forest to the Mercer Slough pond. Use nets and special tools to meet the baby insects and other creatures that start their lives under the waters of our pond. Act out the travels of wetland creatures and the life cycle of a dragonfly. Spend half your time on the trail near our Education Center and the other half investigating water samples in the lab.
- Ages 3-5
- Length: 2.5 hours with break for lunch or snack
PreK-8 Outreach Lessons
Bring Mercer Slough to your school, community center or other venue and discover the wonders of nature!
Pacific Science Center’s environmental science educators will engage your PreK–8 grade students with hands-on investigations involving aquatic macroinvertebrates, animal skulls, native plants, chemistry and more. Our lessons offer a unique experiential complement to your science curricula while building excitement for nature and ecology. Explore the wonders of nature from Mercer Slough without leaving your classroom!
- Length: 45 minutes per lesson
- Dates: September through April
- Capacity: 32 students per lesson (Limit 24 students for preschool lessons)
- Counties Served: King. Inquire for locations outside King County.
- Cost: $180 for one classroom lesson, $110 for additional lessons on the same day. A round-trip mileage fee of $0.56 per mile/per day will be calculated from Mercer Slough in Bellevue.
for a full list of outreach lessons we offer, lesson descriptions and details.
For more outreach science lessons, assemblies and exhibits, visit the Science On Wheels
We thank the Bellevue Red Lion Hotel for their generous support of our
programs by offering parking for our school groups.