Educational Adventures Class List

All of our Educational Adventures (EA) classes correlate to the NC Essential Standards and the Common Core Standards. Please note the recommended grade levels when choosing from the following classes:

K – 2nd Grade

3rd Grade – 5th Grade

6th Grade – 8th Grade

9th Grade – 12th Grade


Grades: K5 – 2nd

In this class, students will be able to categorize living and non-living things and learn that all living things have basic needs. Students will become animals and imitate the way animals move as they work to find the necessary components needed in order to survive. Students will also participate in activities where they learn about animal adaptations and explore the life cycles of animals.

Duration – This class takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours



Grades: K5 – 2nd

Students will learn about the importance of trees and the various ways that trees can be used by both humans and wildlife. Students will examine various products and determine which ones are made from trees. Then students will discover the various types of wildlife that depends on trees for survival. Students will also be able to examine the cross sections of trees and determine the age of the tree. Lastly, students will become trees and describe the structure of the tree and how the different parts help its function.

Duration – This class takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.



Grades: K5 – 12

During this experience, students will be broken into smaller groups that will engage in team building games and initiatives on our low ropes course. This physically and mentally challenging experience will push students to work as a team while solving problems as a group. Instructors will start out by giving each team basic instructions and guidance; then it is up to the group to complete the initiative. After each initiative is completed, students will briefly share their experiences with each other and see how the lessons learned apply to everyday life.

Duration – This class takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.



Grades: K – 8th

The USNWC is situated on 1,300 acres of woodlands, which include unique ponds and the Catawba River. During this class, teachers will take students on a self-guided scavenger hunt to explore part of our mixed pine/hardwood forest and aquatic ecosystems. Students will look for noted items on their scavenger hunt list as they enjoy hiking through our woodlands. The kids will compete to see which team can find the most hidden treasures along the way.

Duration – This class takes approximately 1 hour.



Grades: 3rd – 8th

In part one, students become animals and participate in a tag game as they learn about biomagnification and how pesticides move up the food chain, both on land and in water. In the second part of the class students learn about other impacts that humans have on the environment from household hazardous wastes to oil spills. Students will then do experiments to see the specific effects of oil on duck feathers. Lastly, students will explore ways to make a difference in their environment and learn methods to lessen their Ecological Footprint.

Duration – This is a two part class and takes approximately 1.5 hours


SURVIVAL OF THE SCALIEST (live snake program)

Grades 3rd-5th

What has scales, no ears and a forked tongue? Snakes! Snakes are often misunderstood but they have some amazing adaptations! Students will learn how snakes use these adaptations to survive in different habitats as well as their role in the food chain. They will even meet and get to touch a live snake!

Duration – This class takes approximately 1.5 hours.



Grades: 3rd – 12th
Students will learn about the physics behind zip lining including how factors such as gravity, friction, and change in mass affect the motion of an object. They will then use engineering principles to design and test their own mini zip line made out of everyday items. Students will be given various challenges to test their newfound zip line engineering skills.

Duration – This class takes approximately 1.5 hours.



Grades: 5th – 8th

Students will start out discussing the biotic and abiotic factors in their environment including organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems. It’s survival of the fittest in this ecosystem and we will discuss how producers, consumers, and decomposers adapt to survive as well as how they interact in the food chain. At the end, students will meet and have a chance to touch an animal that is both predator and prey – the snake.

Duration: This class takes approximately 1.5 hours.



Grades: 8th-12th

During this class students will hike to the banks of the Catawba River, which is one of the most dammed rivers in the area. Students will learn about the history of this river, its significant wildlife, its importance, and its role in the lives of those who benefit from it. Students will also discover how humans impact the river, and how our impacts not only affect the river ecosystem, but how our impacts affect people. At the end, students role-play the positive and negative effects of constructing a dam on a river through a debate. Students will take on the specific views of their character and through role-play, present their positions. Students will make presentations to a council who will make a recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concerning a permit for the dam.

Duration – This is two part class takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.



Grades 9-12

Identifying and classifying organisms is fundamental to the study of Biological Sciences. Teachers and chaperones will lead students on a self-guided tour of one of our trails in order to identify various tree species. If you or your chaperones don’t have much experience identifying trees – don’t worry. You’ll be broken up into small groups and each adult will have a dichotomous key and tree guide to ensure that students will be able to confidently identify some “mystery trees” on the path.

Duration: This class takes approximately 1 hour.


U.S. National Whitewater Center | 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway | Charlotte, NC 28214 | 704.391.3900 |