Homeschool Science Lessons on Galveston Island
Galveston, TX is the perfect place to draw inspiration for homeschool science lessons. It’s located directly on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and is a barrier island with a unique ecology. Galveston’s natural habitats include bays, wetlands/marsh, dunes, beaches and prairies, and is home to one of the richest ecosystems in Texas. Your students will have a great time exploring the Island while fulfilling their homeschool science curriculum goals!
Read on for some great ideas to help you create your homeschool science curriculum.
Beach Learning Activities for Kids
Our first stop is everybody’s favorite — the beaches! The beaches and sand dunes in Galveston are great places for a variety of hands-on science lessons.
Galveston beaches and dunes are home to a diverse assortment of animals and plants. Plan a scavenger hunt to locate and identify the different species that make up the beach ecosystem. Search for crustaceans and mollusks along the shore and visually tour the dunes for plant life like morning glories and sea purslane. (Remember, walking on the dunes destroys the fragile ecosystem.) This is a fun way to have an up-close and personal lesson on beach biodiversity in Galveston.
Dig a little deeper for a cool lesson on beach nourishment. Local government implemented beach nourishment programs to keep the beaches healthy and wide. Doing so helps to maintain a necessary coastal defense against erosion. Galveston’s beaches are on the frontlines when hurricanes approach from the Gulf. The most recent project was started in August of 2019, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked with local government agencies on the Babe’s Beach Nourishment Project. The project added 711,000 cubic yards of sand to Babe’s Beach, just west of the seawall.
How does beach nourishment work?
The sand is first dredged from the ship channel. It then travels to an ocean pipe and is pumped directly onto the beach. The entire sand transport was non-stop and lasted over 35 days. You can visit Babe’s Beach and see the difference beach nourishment makes for yourself! Enter at 61st Street and travel westward.
Study at Galveston Island State Park
Galveston Island State Park is an excellent place to visit to learn more about beach ecology. The park was designated as a preservation area and covers roughly 2,000 acres. Exploring its grounds gives you a view of what the Island looked like before all of the development took place. Enjoy experiencing more of the native habitat and natural inhabitants on this preserve.
Visit Galveston Bay & East Bay
For our second stop, let’s travel to Galveston’s beautiful bays. The wetlands around Galveston Bay and East Bay play an important role in their ecosystems. The freshwater wetlands act as filters for polluted runoff water and keep the bays protected from being overrun by sediment. Some of the wetlands that are filled with vegetation work to protect the shoreline from erosion caused by fast-moving water.
Education Programs at Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge
To incorporate Galveston’s bays and their wetlands into your homeschool science lesson, visit the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge located just north of East Bay. Here, there are public refuge trails open seven days a week from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. The National Wildlife Refuge System also has a helpful kids page filled with interactive activities and fun animal facts. You can use these activities as homeschool science tools for your lessons.
Immerse yourselves in the marshes and coastal prairies that border Galveston Bay. Here, you may see anything from migrating birds to alligators and bobcats! The prairies and marshes are the part-time home of 75% of migrating waterbirds and the permanent home to hundreds of bird species.
Pelican Island for Birdwatching
For our second to last stop, let’s do some birdwatching on Pelican Island! Watch your homeschoolers light up as they participate in a little ornithology for their homeschool science lessons. Galveston sits at the 95th meridian, which is directly at the center of the trans-Gulf bird migration route. As fowl travel south in the fall and north in the spring, many find a temporary home in Galveston on their mid-route breaks. Many species stay on the Island throughout the summer and use it as a breeding ground.
The Galveston Island Nature and Tourism Council put together an informative guide, “Great Birding on & from Galveston Island, Texas”, with a full checklist of birds in the area. Create a homeschool science lesson with an in-depth study of plentiful birds on the Island, and use the checklist as you venture across the Island to test your homeschool students’ knowledge.
Visit the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum
Finally, we arrive at our final stop, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum! This museum offers abundant inspiration for homeschool science lessons. Here, you can venture onboard a retired drilling rig and interact with displays and models to learn about offshore oil & gas drilling. Guided tours last between 60- 90 minutes, or you can take an audio guided tour with more than two hours of information for you to learn. The abundance of hands-on learning activities here are a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Take a few days to complete your homeschool science curriculum and book a vacation rental with Sand `N Sea. Our beach houses are a fully-equipped home away from home for the whole family. You can spend your nights at the beach and watch the birds at sunrise. Traveling with a group of homeschool families? Check out our large group rentals for great options to stay together. Book yours today!