Self-Guided Science

This fall, Penn Dixie offers self-guided science activities for students of all ages and their families. Parents, guide your child with questions to promote their exploration and deepen their understanding of the world around us.

September 16, 23, 30
October 7, 14

Self-Guided Science will take place on Wednesdays from September 16 through October 14. Drop in anytime during the program — no reservation needed. Select a different self-guided ‘Ed-dventure’ each week to learn about different aspects of our region. Penn Dixie staff and volunteers will be on site to answer questions and encourage parents to foster their child’s curiosity through guided inquiry.

Choose from the following Ed-ventures:

  • Flora & Fauna – On the Trails
  • Ocean Environments
  • Bugs: Past & Present
  • Penn Dixie Habitats
  • Animal Clues: Tracks & Scat

Tuition: $7 for one child; $10 for 2 or more children – parent/guardian included with student admission. FREE for Penn Dixie members. Pay on site with credit card or cash. Registration is not required.

Time: Programs are from 10 am to 2 pm and are open only to K-12 students and their parents/guardians. Guests arriving after 1 pm may not complete all activities.

Contact: Director of Education Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 for more information.

2020 Homeschool Classes

Learn about earth science with hands-on science programs at Penn Dixie! Our interactive classes are led by trained educators and designed for homeschool students. There are multiple options to choose from with each class consisting of multiple activities. All classes follow New York State science standards.


Space Day (October 6):

Join Penn Dixie educators to learn about all things space during World Space Week! During this 3-hour interactive lesson, students will learn about the Sun, Moon, the planets in our solar system, and much more. Students can register for this stand-alone class by itself or in conjunction with the 4-week series. Rain Date: October 8.

Registration is $25 per student for this class. Additional registrants from the same household are $20. Registration fee covers Space Day programming and associated materials and supplies.

Session times:

9 am – 12 pm (ages 5-7)

1 pm- 4 pm (ages 8 and up)

Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one adult per student is permitted. We cannot accommodate younger siblings at this time. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

Please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. Payment is due at the time of registration.


Dinosaurs! (October 13):

October is International Dinosaur Month! In celebration of dinosaurs, Penn Dixie is offering a stand-alone 3-hour class on all things dino. Students will learn about dinosaurs and other animals that lived during the Mesozoic Era and why they’re not around anymore, using hands-on activities. Students can register for this class by itself or in conjunction with the 4-week series. Rain Date: October 15.

Registration is $25 per student for this class. Additional registrants from the same household are $20. Registration fee covers Dinosaurs programming and associated materials and supplies.

Session times:

9 am – 12 pm (ages 5-7)

1 pm – 4 pm (ages 8 and up)

Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only one adult per student is permitted. We cannot accommodate younger siblings at this time. Masks are required and social distancing will be maintained.

Please contact Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org or 716-627-4560 to reserve a space. Payment is due at the time of registration.


Refund policy:

In the event of light rain, the program will take place as scheduled. Guests are advised to wear boots and rain gear. If there is heavy rain or lightning, that week’s class will take place on the rain date. We will make this announcement via email if the weekly session is moved to the rain date. If both programs are canceled by Penn Dixie due to weather, all guests will receive a refund for that week’s class. Otherwise, our usual cancellation policy applies.

Devonian: The Age of Fish

Wednesday October 14, 7 pm EST

As part of Earth Science Week, join PaleoJoe Kchodl for a special virtual presentation as he describes some of the many fish that once swam the ancient Devonian Seas. PaleoJoe will talk about the implacable placoderms, the armor plated fish that were dominant in the Devonian. He will also show examples from his collection of armor plates, the ostederms that once covered the head and trunk of these unique creatures.

PaleoJoe goes fishing with a hammer and chisel.

Register Here and you will receive a Zoom link for the talk by 10/13. If you don’t see the email, please check your spam folder.

Got a question for PaleoJoe? Email it before 5 pm on 10/14 to phil@penndixie.org.

There is no charge for this program but Zoom registration is limited to 100 participants. The talk will also be streamed to our Facebook page and PaleoJoe’s Facebook page.

#AskAScientist

Teachers: Want to add something new to your virtual classroom?

Expert Dr. Holly Schreiber
Dr. Holly Schreiber is a paleontologist and one of our local science experts.

This spring Penn Dixie is pleased to offer your students a virtual lesson from a local science expert. Our #AskAScientist program is informative, interactive, and meets Next Generation Science Standards. And, thanks to the generous support of Erie County and the Town of Hamburg, there is no charge for this program.

Here’s the details:

  • #AskAScientist is 30-45 mins in length
  • Program features presentation using digital slides and fossils/rocks
  • Includes question and answer session
  • Must be scheduled at least a week in advance
  • Perfect for middle and high schoolers
  • Teacher must help to facilitate virtual class (use your program or send students a link to our Zoom platform)

Available programs:

  • WNY Fossils – Our most popular program! In this interactive lesson, students will learn the basics of fossils and fossilization. Students will become paleontologists and view fossils commonly found around WNY. Students will use deductive reasoning to understand extinct animals and infer prehistoric environments from the fossils.
  • Geology Rocks! – Rocks and the rock cycle are explored. Students will view rock samples to explore the rock cycle and three primary types of rocks, with a focus on sedimentary rocks. Educators will discuss local rock formations present in WNY and the importance of sedimentary rocks for paleontologists.
  • Geologic Time – Learn about the long history of geologic time. Find out where the rocks of WNY fit into our Earth’s history in relation to major events like the extinction of the dinosaurs.

We can work with you if you have a specific earth science topic they want us to discuss. We use Next Generation Science Standards while integrating in the Common Core Curriculum. Programs address: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity; The History of Planet Earth; Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions; and Earth Systems: Earth Materials and Systems. Penn Dixie is also willing to accommodate any program idea or topic that you are currently covering with your students which would allow us to further meet the specific needs of your classroom.

For more information, please email Dr. Holly Schreiber at holly@penndixie.org.

Support for this program is provided by Erie County and the Town of Hamburg.

Erie-County-Seal     Hamburg seal