Splash invites all 4th and 5th grade teachers in Sacramento County to apply for a place in this program, by clicking on the button at the top of the page. This program integrates a 13-lesson, standards-based science curriculum with a field trip to the vernal pools at Mather Field. The curriculum prepares the students for their field trip by teaching them all about vernal pools and the plants and animals that live in them. Classroom preparation is the key difference between Splash field trips and others, because the students arrive prepped with all the knowledge they’ve learned about the vernal pool ecosystem. This knowledge empowers them and results in an exciting, hands-on interactive field trip in which information is shared among students, guides, and teachers, and then brought home to parents.
These resources and directions, etc., are FANTASTIC! Thank you ever so much for this. Talk about thinking outside the box!!! You and the other SPLASH folks have outdone yourselves. Thank you, thank you.
Thank you for giving our class such a lovely experience! It was truly enjoyable to see all the cute critters in ‘Critterville.’ SPLASH is an amazing program! It is not only great for preserving nature and animals such as vernal pools, but is fun and educational as well. I want to recognize SPLASH for all the hard work put into creating our projects, presentations, materials, workbooks, etc.
Not only did my class learn a lot, but I did as well. This generation is our future and it is important for them to see different parts of our ecosystem and how it is important to the area. One girl was sad to hear that only 5-10% of the Vernal pools still exist. She wants to grow up and make sure they are taken care of.
Thank you for our vernal pool field trip. My favorite part was when we got to use the cups and scoop up the critters, because I saw a lot of my animals. I have learned a lot through Splash. I learned about CA voles and copepods. I have also learned how to look through a microscope. Thank you again for the wonderful day.
I will say, the Splash Team has done an incredible job with the curriculum. It is the least of my worries with planning because it is done so well. Thank you so much.
About the Field Trip
Every year from January through April, the Splash Education Center at Mather Field welcomes more than 100 classes of 4th and 5th graders on their vernal pool field trips. These field trips allow students the chance to get “up close and personal” with the animals and plants they’ve been studying in the classroom through the Splash curriculum, Life in Our Watershed: Investigating Vernal Pools (IVP).
The field trip is hands-on, interactive, and provides lots of opportunities for the students to share their vernal pool knowledge with each other, their Splash field guide, and the parent chaperones. This integration of classroom and experiential learning is a unique and exciting aspect of this Program.
The Field Trip at Splash runs from 9:30am – 12:30pm. Half the field trip is spent rotating through the learning stations inside the Splash Center, while the other half of the field trip is spent exploring the spectacular vernal pools scattered throughout the grasslands at Mather Field.
Please be sure to read “Inside the Splash Center” and “Outside in the Field” below to learn more about what your class will see, do, and learn on your field trip. Once your field trip is scheduled, you will want to carefully read the details and use the checklist in this “Preparing for Your Field Trip” document.
Inside the Splash Center
When students enter the Splash Education Center, they enter a world of fun, hands-on science investigation that builds on the knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom, through the curriculum materials and activities Splash provided to their teachers. After a brief introduction, the students split into three groups of 8-12 students. Each group follows its guide through the three learning stations in the Center. Afterwards, the students are encouraged to share their knowledge with others to help protect water quality, endangered habitats (such as vernal pools), and the unique animals that depend upon them.
Outside, In The Field
The outdoor portion of the field trip is where all of the lessons and activities in the elementary curriculum come together for the students, like putting together an ecological puzzle. They get to experience first-hand the beauty, uniqueness, and fragility of the vernal pool habitats at Mather. Students can actually see the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains, which serve as a visual reminder that they are part of the Sacramento River Watershed. Even more exciting, while they’re walking in the field, students eagerly anticipate finding the critter or flower that they studied as part of the curriculum.
The outdoor portion of the field trip varies depending on whether the class visits during the wet phase of the vernal pools or the flower phase. The progression of the phases is dependent on the weather conditions over the course of the late-winter and early-spring. No matter the phase, though, students will be led by their guide through the grasslands and to at least one vernal pool. They will hone their observation skills by looking for signs of coyotes, voles, gophers, and snakes, as well as spotting different species of birds, plants, and lots more. Every visit is different!