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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Young boy looking through magnifying lens.

Book Your School Program Now for the 2013-2014 School Year!

Q?rius is a new way to connect science with everyday experience. It’s a first-of-its-kind interactive and experimental environment -- part lab, part collections vault, part DIY garage, part hangout, and all fun. Through real-world questions with scientists and interactions with thousands of authentic objects, visitors to the new space, located within the National Museum of Natural History, will unleash their curiosity with surprising results.

Teachers who book a field trip to Q?rius will see firsthand how real-world questions with people who do science and engagement with authentic objects can spark new ideas in their students, deepen their understanding of content, and help them master scientific processes. A visit to Q?rius at the National Museum of Natural History will offer an absorbing site of resources to plan your own lessons or use Museum lessons to engage students in their curriculum in new ways. Q?rius will make teaching easier!

Q?rius image

Q?rius at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

Q?rius School Programs

Two types of experiential, immersive experiences are offered to 6th-12th grade school groups registering for programs. The collections and tools in Q?rius are real! Just like a scientist, you will work together in teams to complete an investigation.

Natural History Investigations

60-minute workshops, led by NMNH staff
Grades 6-12
Natural History Investigation classes are in-depth explorations of one, curriculum-relevant area of NMNH science, for up to 30 students at a time. During this staff-instructed program, students use objects, data, scientific equipment and digital assets to investigate core scientific ideas and deeply explore natural history research and connections to current and relevant topics.



    Investigations Overview

    Reefs Unleashed

    Grades 6-12

    Explore how Smithsonian scientists Chris Meyer and Nancy Knowlton measure biodiversity of coral reefs, including the mysterious dark taxa of unknown species, using non-destructive methods. Use microscopes, simulate DNA analysis, and name new species. More...

    Forensic Mysteries

    Grades 6-12

    Examine human bones, objects and artifacts using the forensic tools and techniques of Smithsonian scientists Doug Owsley and Kari Bruwelheide to determine age, sex, time since death, and cause of death. More...

    Dig Deep

    Grades 6-12

    Collaborate with classmates to identify the most efficient way to find and dig for nonrenewable resources based on knowledge of tectonic forces and their effects. More...

    Bird Strike Whodunit?

    Grades 6-12

    Follow in the footsteps of Smithsonian scientist Carla Dove to solve the mystery of which kinds of birds brought down a 747. Examine specimens, use microscopes, and simulate DNA analysis. More...
    *Get Full Descriptions and Download Field Trip Guides


    Q?rius Expedition

    60-minute self-guided exploration of Q?rius

    Grades 6-12

    The Q?rius Expedition is a survey of natural history topics, tools, and activities in Q?rius, for up to 60 students at a time. Staff and volunteers help to structure the Q?rius Expedition by ensuring that all students have equal access to problem-based activities and collections-based explorations. Student guides are available to help teachers ensure that students stay on task. Teachers can also register students for teacher-controlled digital accounts to track student progress and motivate student groups to earn a digital badge as recognition for completing the Q?rius Expedition. Learn more.

    Q?rius jr. -- A Discovery Room Programs

    35-45-minute program, staff supported

    Grades K-7

    In Q?rius jr. – a Discovery Room, 15-30 students at a time practice their scientific inquiry skills as they interact with objects from the Museum’s collections. Programs are developed from exhibition themes and emphasize comparing and contrasting objects, closely examining specimens such as fossils, skulls, and shells, and using evidence to draw conclusions. Learn More.

    Register Your Group Now

    Plan Your Trip

    Getting ready for a field trip means planning the logistics of the field trip and learning about the educational resources available. As one of the largest science classrooms in the world, the National Museum of Natural History works with you to explore the natural world through the Museum's exhibits, onsite programming and online resources.

    Education & Outreach

    As one of the largest science classrooms in the world, the National Museum of Natural History works with you to explore the natural world through the Museum's exhibits, onsite programming and online resources.

    Our work is built on a foundation of scientific research by the Museum's staff of over 150 scientists and curators as well as the national and international community of scientists. There are more than 126 million artifacts and specimens in our collections.

    Launch Your Journey of Discovery

    Visit exhibitions with themes from the Ocean to African Cultures. Reserve an inquiry-centered program… Download lesson plans to inspire K-12 learners…Find web-based activities for students… Link to the Museum’s collections and scientific research… and more!

    Rick Potts with school group.

    Plan a Field Trip

    • Logistics
    • Hands-on Programs
    Ocean Hall exhibit educators' guide

    Exhibition Explorer

    • Field Trip and Classroom Resources
    • Related Museum Websites
    Cover of the Written in Bone exhibit webcomic

    Resources for the Classroom

    • Lesson Plans and Websites
    • Museum Research and Collections

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