Field Trip Planner (K-12 Tours & Lessons)
Bring your students to Biosphere 2! We offer two kinds of student tours, lessons, and experiences that your students will never forget. We make science fun!
Tour Type 1: Educator led, interactive, behind-the-scenes tours of Biosphere 2. Have your class experience a unique ‘Behind The Scenes’ Tour of Biosphere2 led by an experienced B2 educator. By communicating with our teaching staff prior to your visit you can tailor the instruction to your current curriculum or suggest any grade appropriate emphasis. Students observe and discuss, in an age-appropriate manner, Biosphere 2, UA research, and the scientific method as they see it in action. Students will experience the special nature of each of the six amazing wilderness biomes inside the building, and the one-of-a-kind technosphere.
In addition to all spaces that a normal public tour visits, this dedicated behind-the-scenes tour (approx. 120 minutes) will include access to:
Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO), Marine Science Lab, Ocean Beach, Research areas of Tropical Rainforest, Biospherian Library, Aquaponics Unit, and more!
Three educator-led tours to choose from (grade-level designations are suggestions, but lessons can be modified for other levels):
- FIVE SENSES EXPEDITION - Students experience Biosphere 2, including biomes and technosphere, with an emphasis on using their five senses. Students work in small groups to make and share their observations. Designed primarily for K-8 students.
- STAY CURIOUS: BIOSPHERE 2, SCIENCE, AND YOU - Scientific inquiry is emphasized as students experience the Biosphere 2 biomes and technosphere. Collaboration and small-group work emphasize observation, question development, and communication. Designed primarily for grades 4-8.
- ECOSYSTEM SERVICES - An ecosystem service is any positive benefit that nature provides, small or large, direct or indirect, such as water purification, photosynthetic oxygen production, nutrient decomposition and cycling, and pollination. Students will use the unique engineering and novel design of Biosphere 2 to gain an appreciation of what nature and ecosystems provide. The diverse biomes under glass are only possible because of the amazing technology supporting them. Students see first-hand the challenges and opportunities of replicating what happens in nature. Designed primarily for grades 6-12. (Thanks to UA Green Fund for supporting development of these lessons.)
Tour Type 2: For those on a limited financial or temporal budget, take our group public tour (approx. 90 minutes) with a Biosphere 2 Interpretive Specialist to help your students appreciate the history of the Biosphere 2 building itself and learn how it is used today by University of Arizona scientists to study Earth-system science. The tour experience includes an overview of ongoing research projects, as well as interactions with University of Arizona researchers themselves whenever possible. No visit to Biosphere 2 is complete without a visit to the technosphere (specialized basement area) to see some of the machinery that controls the giant laboratory. The technosphere visit ends at the South Lung (variable volume air chamber), with the option of visiting the Ocean Gallery, time permitting.
HANDS-ON, INTERACTIVE, EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES (tied to Next Generation Science Standards)
Interested in adding a hands-on, standards-based activity to your Biosphere 2 experience? Take a look at these exciting programs: Appreciating Biodiversity, Bottom of the Food Chain, Climate Change, Marine Science Lab, The Place for Plants, Planet Water, Sonoran Desert Discovery, and Sustainability. Pricing is the same as for EDUCATOR LED, BEHIND-THE-SCENES TOURS described above. Different group size restrictions may apply for different field trip lessons.
K-3 - Live Invertebrate Investigation - Animals and Biosphere basics
Grades 4-8 - Meet Dosidicus gigas - Squid examination
HS- Squid Morphometry - An Analysis of Form
Grades 1-4 – Exploring density & buoyancy with models, food webs; Grades 4-8 – Density & buoyancy, marine food webs, building models; HS - Plankton collection (B2 ocean), microscope fundamentals, building models
Climate Change - Data analysis, Greenhouse gases, 3-D Models
Beginning (1-3); Intermediate (4-6); Advanced (MS+)
Marine Science Lab - Observation & data collection in B2 biomes, measurement tools
Beginning (1-4); Intermediate (5+), Advanced (HS),
The Place For Plants - Botany in B2 biomes
Beginning (K-4); Intermediate (5-MS); Advanced (HS),
Grades K-3 – Water Works - Forms of water, watersheds
Grades 4-6 – Water Makes the World Go ‘Round - Ecosystems, Water cycle
Grades 6+ - World of Water - Introduction to Oceanography
Grades 1-5– Intro to Birding, w/nature walk; Grades 5-Adult Sense of Place, Interpretive Desert Hike
Grades 1-5 – ABC’s of Living Green – Composting and Vermiculture (earthworms)
MS - Plastic Palooza - Oceanography and issues with macro, meso and microplastics
HS – Eco Stations: Eco House – Rainwater Harvesting; ECA (Environmentally Controlled Agriculture – aquaponics, hydroponics)
(Special thanks to UA Green Fund for supporting development of Sustainability lessons in partnership with Biosphere 2, UA students, and Tucson teachers.)
Additional field trip information:
- We are only able to accomodate a maximum 144 students on any single day, plus chaperones. But, not all activities can accomodate this many participants.
- We REQUIRE one adult chaperone or teacher for every 10 students, but can accommodate NO MORE THAN one chaperone per 6 students.
- ANY ADDITIONAL ADULTS OR FAMILY MEMBERS ABOVE THE MAXIMUM CHAPERONE RATIO must pay the separate, applicable admission fee and be assigned to the next available regularly scheduled public tour.
- All K-12 school field trips/tours/hands-on activities are available Monday through Friday. Weekends may be possible as well, please inquire.
- Closed-toe shoes are mandatory for all participants (students and adults). Water bottles highly recommended. Hats optional.
Additional important information will be conveyed to you at the time of booking.
To schedule a field trip for your class, or for questions about booking, please contact us at 520-838-6192 or via email at BIO2-GROUP@email.arizona.edu
For questions about K-12 lesson content, please contact Laura Faulkenberry, our Education Program Specialist at 520-838-6145 or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Learn more about funding field trips with Arizona tax credits. Click here to view pdf.