Online Learning Hub
The Meadows Center’s new online learning hub features weekly educational videos and hands-on science activities that you can do at home.
This series includes educational features about all of our aquarium residents, as well as some behind-the-scenes looks at the work that we're continuing to do to keep them happy and healthy during the COVID-19 closure.
Texas Blind Salamander
Join Christopher Crain, our resident Aquarium Supervisor, as he dives into the fascinating world of the endangered Texas blind salamander. Stay tuned as we provide more creature features in this series, which will provide a virtual connection through our social media for everyone while we're closed to the public.
The Endangered Fountain Darter
Our Aquarium Technician, Shelby Chester, shares everything you need to know about what is most likely Spring Lake's only endangered fish, the Fountain darter. Not only are the interesting to know about, they're fun to watch, so be sure and check out this video. It's the best way to visit the aquarium without actually going outside!
In this episode, you will learn all about the aquatic macroinvertebrates (water bugs) that live in Spring Lake, how our aquarium staff collect them and what they do with them. While they are small in size, these tiny creatures play a big role in improving our understanding of the health of our waterways due to their sensitivity to pollution and often show the effects of short- and long term pollution events.
Activities for Home: Use our online guide to do your own bug picking project at home! We’ve included an ID packet to local water bugs and what their pollution tolerances are, so anyone from grade-school age and up can make their own assessment. Our guide is specific to the Hill Country streams of Central Texas, but here's an activity guide from Texas Parks and Wildlife that is good for the whole state: https://bit.ly/2ymHf4z.
The Elusive American Eel
This week's creature feature showcases one of Spring Lake’s most elusive fish, the American eel (Anguilla rostrata)! In this episode, Aquarium Technician Shelby Chester introduces you to 'Rosa', our aquarium's resident eel. Learn about their migration, feeding habits and unusual life cycle.
Activities for Home: Download this fun eel migration maze activity to help an American eel navigate her way back to the Sargasso Seas to lay her eggs!
Learning About Watersheds
Join our Education Manager Meagan Lobban to learn all about watersheds! Follow along as she demonstrates how storm water runoff carries pollutants through a watershed to a pond, lake, river, bay, or ocean using our enviroscape model.
In this episode, Meagan will show six different example pollution scenarios to help you learn about the difference between point and non-point source pollution, which is important because it can help us better understand what actions we can take to reduce, or prevent, these types of pollution from occurring.
Activities for Home: Check out the links below try your hand at building your own watershed model:
- Build a Watershed by PBS Kids
- Make a Watershed Model by Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College
- Build Your Own Watershed by the Environmental Protection Agency
At Home with Nature
Kids at home? At Home with Nature will bring nature into your daily lives and lessons! This series provides parents and students with hands-on, nature-based activities that are educational, creative and entertaining.
K-cup Plant Starters
Do you ever wonder what you can do with the used k-cup pods in your home? Instead of tossing them in the trash, you can turn them into perfect little seed starters for your spring garden. Check out this video and download the instructions to get started. Have fun growing plants with this cool nature project for children!
Make Your Own "Moon Sand" for Sensory Play
Here’s an awesome activity that your kids will love to play with. It’s called moon sand and it’s wonderful for sensory learning to get their imagination and senses activated! Download the instructions here.
Paint the World Activity
Did you know that April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day? We wanted to celebrate this monumental achievement by sharing a little bit of joy for you to experience at home through a quick and easy puffy paint activity that your kiddos are going to love! After watching our video tutorial, download the instructions and paint the world with your newfound skills!
For the Birds…How to Make Cheerios Bird Feeders
Don't toss that stale cereal! Have the kids make Cheerio bird feeders! This simple and easy activity is not only a great to strengthen fine motor skills, but it also a great way to observe our local wildlife as they come to feed and teach kids about being kind to animals and how to help others. Download the instructions to get started!
Exploring Water Pressure Activity
Did you know Spring Lake is fed primarily by artesian springs located along the Balcones Fault Zone, which is the edge of the Texas Hill Country? Artesian springs and wells are formed when there is pressure in the aquifer, which causes the water to be pushed to the surface. In this activity, we are going to explore how pressure works to cause spring flow. Download the instructions to do this activity with your kiddos at home!
Egg Carton Trees Activity
Egg cartons are something we just throw away as soon as that last egg is used up, but we’re here to stop you! Instead of dumping it, put them to good use with this simple craft for kids of all ages. Grab those empty egg cartons and get creative with this eco-friendly project! Download the instructions to get started.
Mother's Day Rose Card
What better time of year to make a handmade card than for Mother’s Day!? Here’s a sweet kid-made flower craft just for mom on her special day! Grab some construction paper, scissor, glue and download the instructions to begin making this beautiful handmade Mother's Day card. Mom will surely cherish this for years to come!
Watercolor Butterfly Craft
As the spring flowers start to bloom and the butterflies begin dancing around the yard, keep that excitement alive with this butterfly kid’s craft. It’s easy to make and provides a great opportunity for toddlers and preschoolers to observe and learn about water absorption. Download our instructions to begin making this is a fun springtime craft.
Create a fun pair of paper binoculars using materials from around the house. This is a great craft activity for imaginary play and a smart way to recycle those paper rolls! Download our instructions to get started. Afterwards, go outside and see how many birds you can identify!
DIY Rain Clouds Experiment
Are your kids curious about clouds and rain? Learn about the weather and how clouds work with this easy and educational science activity. Using common household items, you and your child can create a rain cloud in your own home. Download the instructions to get started and make it rain! After the activity, use our worksheet to track your local weather for the next month!
Tornado in a Jar Experiment
Weather is fascinating for kids of all ages – especially tornadoes! Study them in a non-scary way by making a tornado in a jar. It’s easy to put together, mesmerizing for all ages, and a perfect example of centripetal force in a vortex…the perfect storm for scientific discovery! Download our instructions to do this experiment at home.
DIY Tin Can Planters
Keep a few tin cans out of the landfill by upcycling it into something useful for your outdoor space! Create these fun tin can planters for decoration, or to give as a gift. It’s also a great activity to do with your kids to teach them about the importance of recycling! Download our instructions to get started.
Milk Carton Bird Feeders
Here’s a fun bird feeder project that you can do with kids of all ages. Repurpose your empty milk or juice cartons by turning it into a bird feeder! We love this project because not only does it give a milk carton a new purpose, it also helps wildlife and gives kids a fun activity to do while connecting with nature.
DIY Flower Petal Bookmark
Texas Aquatic Science
Texas Aquatic Science (TAS) is a cooperative education effort sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas Parks and Wildlife and The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. TAS offers a suite of free technology-enhanced learning materials entirely available online that takes middle through high school science students through the wonderful world of water, from headwaters to oceans, and molecules to ecosystems.
Aquatic Science Lesson Videos
This online video curriculum is arranged into 111 lessons across 13 chapters in YouTube Playlists. Each chapter covers a major subject area and is broken down into short sub-topic STEM curriculum video lesson presentations.
Partner Education Resources
Here are some FREE online resources from our partners to help your students at home continue learning about water and the importance of our world’s natural resources!
Students will design, build and optimize a solution for reusing plastic waste in their community. This activity was design for elementary school students (Grades K-5) by the STEM Careers Coalition.
We know this is an uncertain time for everyone, but we hope you will consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our educational operations while we are unable to generate our own revenue. Every gift is appreciated, and no gift is too small to make a meaningful impact.