Middle School Programs


Energy in the Ecosystem (Grade 6)

What are consumers? What are decomposers? How is the transfer of energy crucial to support biodiversity of living things? Through an owl pellet dissection students will investigate the key relationships in an ecosystem. Through a series of activities and observations learners will study how different organisms have different energy needs to live.

Zoom into Microbiology (Grades 6-8)

Observe the hidden world of microorganisms. Learners will investigate the micro-world by learning to prepare slides and observe protozoa and algae. Uncover the secret lives of these tiny creatures and how they support plant life. Using microscopes to view organisms harvested at ESC, learners will discover how to harvest their own, utilize inquiry-based process skills and tools such as microscopes and slide preparation, explore the unseen kingdoms of life and focus on cell chemistry and homeostasis.

Inquiry with Isopods (Grades 6-8)

Join us at ESC for an authentic experience as your students practice using the scientific method. Learners will observe and work with live pillbugs, test variables, design an experiment, and test their hypothesis. We promise - no pillbugs will be harmed in this class!

Hydroponics (Grade 6-8)

ESC offers partnership opportunities for middle schools in our state-of-the-art Hydroponics Research Laboratory. Hydroponic technology allows plants to grow in a nutrient rich solution without soil. Through our partnership with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, students set up and maintain the NDFT (Nutrient Drip Flow Technique) hydroponic systems. Students will propagate seeds, continually monitor water chemistry, collect data on plant growth, and finally harvest and enjoy their bounty. Not only will students be fully immersed in the scientific aspect of hydroponics, they will have the opportunity to connect hydroponics to real-world business and marketing. Students will set up, maintain, monitor, and harvest leafy greens and herbs in their own hydroponic system. Students will learn about water chemistry, plant nutrients, data collection, and photosynthesis in action. As part of this program students will, in small groups, develop a research question, and set-up their system to complete their investigation.

Wildlife Forensics (Grade 8)

Engage in the story of how DNA analysis is helping protect endangered wildlife. In this DNA gel electrophoresis lab experience, learners will develop a greater understanding of the scientific protocols and technical skills necessary to conduct this research.

This partnership program is recommended for highly motivated middle school classes. Click here to register for a hydroponics program.