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Five Resources for Exploring the Backyard

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Some of the best adventures take place in our own backyard! This summer, motivate your intrepid backyard explorers with PBS LearningMedia’s collection of free lesson plans, videos, and interactive games that explore the buzzing, slithering, burrowing world of insects and critters. Use these resources to enhance everyday learning opportunities and to reinforce key concepts in the sciences and language arts. Featured resources include:

Everyday Science: Backyard Wildlife Interactive
Grades PreK-1 | Interactive | Plants and Animals
This interactive encourages children to make a field trip to their own backyard or nearby park and ask the following questions – Who shares that space? What do they eat? Where do they live? Backyard Wildlife, an original KET video, provides an introduction to animals that might be found just outside the back door or in a nearby park.

Wild Kratts Glow
Grades 1-3 | Video | Animals and Human Impact
Learn about the right way to interact with fireflies from this video featuring the Kratt Brothers. Learn about catching fireflies. Also learn about ways to help fireflies in the environment around their house. For instance, turning off house lights so that the fireflies can see each other’s glow, or by avoiding the use of bug-killing pesticides in the lawn.

Backyard Bugs
Grades 1-5 | Video | Animals, Human Impact and Habitat
Use this video from Wild TV to get a closer look at the habitat & characteristics of backyard bugs. Some crawl like spiders and centipedes, while others fly, walk on water and even flip and click. Learn how to be safe around dangerous spiders and how to identify male and female Dobson flies.

Grades 3-8 | Video | Animals and Human Impact
This video from Wild TV offers a daring look at bees, an often misunderstood insect. Mace Vaughan, an entomologist or expert on insects, teaches about how bees swarm, the jobs of the queen and worker bees, how bees communicate with each other, and how the colony survives. Once instructed on how to move and act around bees, you won’t be stung. This video shows bees swarming on a man’s face. It is called a bee beard.


Garden Spiders 
Grades 3-6 | Video | Animals and Human Impact
Learn about six varieties of garden spiders in this video resource from WNET. Of the six types, garden, black widow, brown recluse, wolf, crab, and jumping, each has its own unique characteristics and role to fulfill in a busy garden ecosystem.

PBS LearningMedia is a free digital media library that provides PreK-12 educators with direct access to thousands of contextualized, curriculum-targeted resources. Users can search, save, tag, share, and readily integrate learning tools into classroom discussions and lesson plans. For instant, FREE access, register here!

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