TUESDAY, MARCH 10
9 am – 2 pm
$4 per student
Recommended for PreK-Elementary
For centuries, people have tapped maple trees and cooked down sap into sticky, sweet, maple syrup. At Fenner Nature Center’s Maple Syrup Field Day, your students will have the opportunity to be part of this time-honored tradition.
This program exposes students to the science and history of making maple syrup through an interdisciplinary approach. Station topics include: tree identification and biology, the cultural importance of maple syrup for the Native Americans and early American pioneers, and the process by which we make maple syrup today.
During the field day, your class will have the opportunity to move at your own pace through our lineup of self-guided and naturalist-led education stations (listed below) both indoors and outdoors. Each student will receive a passport to document their learning and spark discussion back in the classroom as they recall what they experienced.
Maple Syrup Field Day is geared toward PreK-Elementary aged classrooms and home-school groups. The event costs $4 per student to attend. Class packs of Maple Syrup Candies can be pre-ordered for $18. Maple syrup and other maple products will be available for purchase during the field day. We recommend a 2-3 hour visit to take full advantage of the learning opportunities available to your students.
Station 1: Tree Works
Each part of a tree has a specific job to do, from protecting the tree to making its food. At this station, you will move your body to act out and form a human tree while finding out how a tree works.
Learning Domains: Science: Structure, Function, and Information Processing, Science: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
Station 2: Maple Tree ID
How do you know which trees make maple syrup? Visit this station to learn how to identify maple trees by using your comparing and contrasting skills. We will be looking at leaves, bark, seeds, twigs, and tree shape to find the answers.
Learning Domains: Science: Structure, Function, and Information Processing
Station 3: Who lives here?
People aren’t the only ones who enjoy maple sap. Meet other members of the maple forest habitat and learn about how they are adapted to find food and shelter among the maple trees.
Learning Domains: Science: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
Station 4: Traditional Methods of Making Maple Syrup
Long before Michigan was a state, the Anishinaabe people who lived here knew how to collect sap from trees to make maple syrup and sugar. Learn how the Anishinaabe made tools to collect and cook sap from natural materials, and then try your hand at making a spile from a branch.
Learning Domains: Science: Engineering Design, Social Studies: Geography, Environment and Society, Social Studies: History, Living and Working Together, Social Studies: History, The History of Michigan
Station 5: Historic Maple Farm Life
As metal tools were developed, the ways of making maple syrup changed. At this station, you can explore historic types of spiles and evaporating pans. Then, investigate what it would have been like to pitch in with the chores of life on a maple farm by trying out our pioneer yokes and skimming foam off the long pan.
Learning Domains: Physical Activity: Balance and Weight Transfer, Science: Engineering Design, Social Studies: Geography, Environment and Society, Social Studies: History, Living and Working Together, Social Studies: History, The History of Michigan
Station 6: Tap a Tree
Pick up a hand drill, also called a brace and bit, and tap a tree of your own. You will learn how to pick the perfect tree to tap, where to place your hole, and how to put the spile in.
Learning Domains: Science: Structure, Function, and Information Processing, Science: Engineering Design, Social Studies: Geography, Environment and Society
Station 7: Maple Syrup Evaporator
Maple sap is made up of mostly water, so we need to cook that water off to make our syrup. Step in to our operational sugaring shed to learn more about the process of cooking syrup, called evaporating. The sugaring shed is a great place to use all of your senses. You will even get a taste of locally made maple syrup.
Learning Domains: Science: Structure and Properties of Matter, Social Studies: Geography, Environment and Society
Station 8: Liquid Learning
Maple sap and maple syrup look, feel, and taste very different even though they are made of the same basic ingredients: sugar and water. At this station, we will get to the bottom of what makes them different through an experiment with a variety of liquids.
Learning Domains: Science: Structure and Properties of Matter
Station 9: Maple Measures
It can take 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. How do we know? Through measuring. At this station, you can explore the ways we use measuring in the sugar bush, and practice making measurements on your own using a variety of measuring tools.
Learning Domains: Mathematics: Measurement and Data, Science: Structure and Properties of Matter
Station 10: Visitor Center
Take some time to come inside and play in the visitor center. From compost, to nests, to dressing up like woodland creatures, our indoor exhibits are sure to spark your imagination. The visitor center also has number of ambassador animals and giant windows to look out at the bird feeders. At this station, you can visit our Explore Store to purchase maple syrup and other maple products to take home.