Programs for 4th – 8th Grade

The three major concepts that are taught during your trip to Hard Bargain Farm are watershed, biodiversity and adaptations, and cycles. Located on the Potomac River, students will see a watershed up close and personal, and learn how the land use decisions of our working farm influence the watershed.

The core curriculum for field studies is comprised of the Habitat Hike and Farm Life Exploration programs. Throughout the hike and on the farm, students will make observations of biodiversity and how certain species of plants and animals have adapted to these ecosystems. Students will also study the energy cycle by identifying producers, consumers and decomposers in food chains and food webs.

Groups may elect to exchange the Habitat Hike and/or Farm Life Exploration programs for one of the following programs. These programs will be adapted to an age appropriate curriculum for your group. Let us know at the time of your reservation if you would like to schedule an alternate program for your visit.

* Note: Times and activities may vary according to weather conditions, bus schedules, or special needs of the class participants and farm staff.

Students will complete one activity before and the other after a thirty-minute lunch break. The day typically runs from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Each class lasts from one to two hours.

Fees:$15.00 per student, plus applicable course fees. No fee for teachers and one chaperone for each 10-15 students. Parents and additional chaperones may be charged at the student rate. Group size is limited to no more than 60 students (special restrictions apply to some courses).

Scheduling: For information about scheduling visit our scheduling page or call 301-292-5665.

Day 1 of the program consists of two classes, each group of 10 to 15 students will do both classes: one in the morning and the other in the afternoon after a Trash-free lunch. The day typically runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm, followed by a Wagon Ride to the Potomac River (weather permitting).

Day 2 of the program begins at 8:00am in the barnyard for Cow Milking and Antique Tools or Children’s Garden. We will be in the garden during the warmer weather and the Antique Tools Class will be taught during the colder months.  The students will participate in a role playing activity, Who Polluted the Potomac?,  that reveals students’ connection to the environment of the Potomac River.

Fees: $35.00 per student, plus applicable course fees. No fee for teachers and one chaperone for each 10-15 students. Parents and additional chaperones may be charged at the student rate. Group size is limited to one class of no more than 40 students.

Scheduling: For information about scheduling visit our scheduling page or call 301-292-5665.

Day 1 of the program consists of two classes: Team Building and Farm Life Exploration. Each group of 10 to 15 students will complete both classes with a Trash Free lunch in between. The day typically runs from 10:00am to 4:00pm.

Day 2 of the program begins at 9:00am with a morning bird walk. Students spend the remainder of the day learning about the watershed through a series of interactive activities and classes including the Habitat Hike to explore wetlands, Accokeek Creek, and the Potomac River. The day includes a Trash Free lunch and typically runs until 4:00pm, followed by a Wagon Ride to the Potomac River (weather permitting).

Day 3 of the program begins at 8:00am in the barnyard for Cow Milking and Antique Tools or Children’s Garden. We will be in the garden during the warmer weather and the Antique Tools Class will be taught during the colder months. The students will participate in a role playing activity, Who Polluted the Potomac?, that reveals students’ connection to the environment of the Potomac River.

*An alternate program may be substituted for any of the classes listed above, please contact the program manager for details.

Fees: please call 301-292-5665 or e-mail the program manager at [email protected]. No fee for teachers and one chaperone for each 10-15 students. Parents and additional chaperones may be charged at the student rate. Group size is limited to one class of no more than 40 students.

*For 5th grade students from Wards 7 and 8 in the District of Columbia this program is FREE through a partnership with the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), details available at ddoe.dc.gov/service/overnight-meaningful-watershed-educational-experience

Scheduling: For information about scheduling visit our scheduling page or call 301-292-5665.

Learn more about the three day, two night program.

 


 

Experience the farm. Farm Life Exploration
Students experience a small 1950’s era working family farm to discover where their food comes from, help with farm chores, and learn how technology has changed over time. They will explore the barnyard and pastures, meet goats, geese, chickens, cows and sheep, and relate food and fiber to their plant and animal sources.

Habitat Hike
As students explore the diverse ecosystems of Hard Bargain Farm, they learn how plants and animals adapt to their surroundings and connect in complex energy webs. They will recognize the importance of biodiversity and how the delicate balance of nature can be upset by human intervention.

Rivers in ActionRivers in Action: (Additional set up fee of $25 per class)
Students create watershed in miniature, using stream tables and diatomaceous earth. They create gorges, waterfalls, floodplains and deltas as they study how water shapes the landscape and affects human land use decisions.

Down to Earth runoff experimentDown to Earth: (Additional set up fee of $25 per class)
Soil is the beginning of all land use decisions we make. In this course the students will learn how to identify soil types, how each is made, the properties of each type of soil and how soil type and distribution determine land use for farming, building and support of life. Students will examine erosion and sedimentation to observe how they affect soil and land use, and be introduced to Best Management practices used on HBF.

Birds Up CloseBirds Up Close: (Additional set up fee of $25 per class)
Students use the diverse bird habitats and extensive study skin collection to learn how to locate and identify our local birds. As students observe birds in the wild, they will discover clues to the birds’ success in adaption to their habitat and their role in the complex ecosystems.

Fish AdaptationFish Adaptation: (Additional set up and materials fee of $50 per class)
Students examine the external and internal anatomy of fish to discover clues to their habitats, feeding patterns and defense strategies. They learn how to ‘Read a Fish’ to understand its adaptations for survival in its habitat.

Corn: From Ancient Ways To Now-A-Days: (Additional set up fee of $25 per class)
Corn is one of very few food crops native to the Americas, and has a long tradition in many cultures. Students will hear history and legend as they learn the story of corn, and practice shelling and grinding corn using ancient and modern techniques. Pairs well with Hunter-Gatherers course.

Hunter-Gatherers: (Additional set up fee of $25 per class)
People have lived at this site in Accokeek for at least 10,000 years, finding food, clothing and shelter in this woodland-riverine environment. Students will step back in time and use recreated artifacts to explore how ancient people used the natural resources found here to live, work and play. Pairs well with Corn.

Exploring the creekUp A Creek: (Additional set up fee of $25 per class)
Students will hike along Accokeek Creek to investigate physical characteristics and living organisms of this pristine stream. They will apply what they have learned about water cycles and watersheds as they observe how the creek forms cut banks and sandbars on its way to the Potomac River. Students will learn how to assess the health of a stream by observing the physical characteristics, conduct simple water chemistry tests, and sample macro invertebrate populations to analyze as bioindicators of a healthy ecosystem. Only offered in late spring through early fall. Water + air temp must be 120 degrees f

Canoeing on Piscataway BayExploration By Canoe: (Additional fee of $250 per class)
Students will experience the ecology of an aquatic environment from the viewpoint of the plants, fish, birds and mammals that live there. As they learn basic canoeing techniques they will explore the shorelines and marshes of historic Piscataway Creek. They will study plant and animal interactions in complex energy cycles, adaptations to aquatic habitats, and the impact of humans on the watershed. This class is paired with the Habitat Hike. Only offered in late spring through early fall. Water + air temp must be 120 degrees F.

Students experience antique tools first hand.Antique Tools:
Students will learn how technology has changed over time and have the opportunity to use hand tools that would have been used on a farm before machinery was available.

Children's GardenChildren’s Garden:
In our half-acre working vegetable garden, students have the opportunity to experientially learn about how food is grown and take part in its production. They share in the seasonally appropriate tasks of soil preparation, weeding, planting and harvesting and, when possible, also share in tasting the garden’s bounty as well. Because the site is also a haven for pollinators, students have the opportunity to observe the interplay between native pollinators and our food systems and watch the farm’s foraging honey bees.