Outdoors Maryland Lesson Starters

Explore Maryland's natural resources – from the beaches of Assateague Island to the mountains of Western Maryland and everywhere in between.

Use these lesson starters to help elementary students discover wildlife and meet the people who protect the region's diverse ecosystems. Select a topic below to find video clips, essential and guiding questions, learning extensions, and other student supports to use in your classroom.


Birds rarely stay in the same location for a full year. Groups of birds typically make long flights together during seasonal changes, a process known as migration. But why do these birds group together in order to migrate? Why do they travel in flocks and not alone?

> Go to Birds Flocking and Migration Lesson

Like all animals, butterflies and insects have unique life cycles. They are born, they grow, and they will eventually die. What are the similarities and differences between the life cycles of butterflies and other organisms?

> Go to Butterflies and Life Cycles Lesson

Paleontologists are scientists who study the history of the world by excavating dirt and rock layers in search of fossils from ancient plants and animals. Sometimes these paleontologists have to wait years for a cliffside to change its formation so that more of a fossil is revealed.

> Go to Fossils and Rock Layers Lesson

Mushrooms are typically found on the ground, logs, and trees of forests. Many people hunt mushrooms in order to use them as cooking ingredients. However, that’s not the only good thing about mushrooms.

> Go to Mushrooms and Decomposers (Food Web) Lesson

This learning resource is a production of Maryland Public Television/Thinkport.