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Our Educational Mission

Education is a core pillar of American Eagle Foundation. We recognize that the pandemic has provided educators, parents, and students with unprecedented challenges, ranging from adapting to distance learning platforms to keeping remote lessons engaging with limited resources. Even as digital platforms connect us, it is easy to feel like we’ve lost meaningful connections to each other and the natural world.

In this spirit, AEF is proud to launch an interdisciplinary, ever-expanding series of curricula and supplementary content designed to inspire junior conservationists. Our digital programs use hands-on, interactive learning and transferable skillsets to nurture a passion for environmental stewardship. We seek to empower teachers and students alike to help us in conserving and protecting birds of prey.

Each lesson plan adheres to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which allows for a seamless integration of our materials into classrooms nationwide. Our information comes from recent, peer-reviewed sources, and it is delivered by experienced staff with backgrounds in both avian care and teaching. Best yet, our offerings can be customized to fit your lesson plans!

Welcome to Raptor Academy. Join us to make a difference in your classroom and the natural world.

 

 

Program Menu

Below are our current program offerings. Each program is paired with a recommended age group, but they can be customized to match your classroom curriculum with advanced notice. With some programs, we offer optional activities that may require the school, teacher, or parents to purchase physical supplies. These activities are not required to enjoy the program, but they provide hands-on learning opportunities through experimentation and gamification.

Want to donate a scholarship program to a classroom? Click here to make a charitable donation that covers the cost of a program by typing “scholarship” in the Tribute Reason field.

Digital Field Trip (Grades K-8)

Our headquarters may be closed to the public, but your classroom can still enjoy an exclusive, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of our resident raptors! As our staff guides you on a digital tour, your students will learn about what raptors are, how AEF cares for them, why raptors are important, and how we can help protect them. Your students will meet hawks, falcons, vultures, owls, and even eagles!

Related Learning Outcomes:

  • K-LS1-1: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive
  • 2-LS4-1: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats
  • 4-LS1-2: Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways
  • MS-LS1-4: Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively

Vulture Culture (Grades 3-5)

Vultures get an unfairly bad reputation. They’re also the most imperiled type of bird. Walk with AEF’s charismatic vulture ambassadors during this exciting program. Students will learn what makes vultures so special, why some are endangered, and how we can help protect nature’s best cleanup crew.

Related Learning Outcomes:

  • 4-LS1-1: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction
  • 4-LS1-2: Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information through their sense, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways

Optional Activity:

  • Vulture Sense: Did you know that some species of vulture locate carrion by smell? Students will see how their nose stacks up to vultures’ olfactory abilities while learning about how smell helps nature’s janitors.

All About Eagles (Grades 6-8)

The bald eagle has been America’s national symbol since 1782, and their presence in America’s skies not only encapsulates the spirit of freedom but also of conservation. Through conservation efforts, the bald eagle returned from near extinction. Their recovery, however, should not inspire a false sense of security. In this program, students will learn about America’s eagles, their conservation story, and the threats that they continue to face today.

Related Learning Outcomes:

  • MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively. 
  • MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems. 

Optional Activity:

  • Hunt Like an Eagle: This printable game allows students to become juvenile eagles hunting and scavenging for their own food! Of course, the natural world can be dangerous, and an easy meal may conceal hidden threats…

The Food Web (Grades 6-8)

Raptors play a critical role in their environment. Their status as tertiary consumers indicate the overall health of an ecosystem, and their hunting habits help maintain biodiversity. This lesson plan introduces students to the concepts of producers and consumers in a food web, and, through a series of activities, students will learn about human-caused risks impacting raptors and how these risks can imbalance the food web.

Related Learning Outcomes:

  • MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations

Optional Activity:

  • Interactive Food Web: Let our Raptor Academy instructors walk you through making interactive visuals for your classroom!

Wild Wings: How Raptors Soar and Dive (Grades 6-8)

Raptors are incredibly acrobatic fliers, but their flight styles vary wildly species to species! Some are built for speed, others power, and still others are capable of silent flight. In this program, students will meet some of the record-holding fliers at AEF while learning about how their adaptations and wing structure contributes to their gift of flight.

Related Learning Outcomes:

  • MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object
  • MS-LS1-4. Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively

Optional Activity:

  • Fly Like an Eagle: Students will craft their own soaring and diving birds and predict their flight patterns based on wing-shape.

 

 

How to Register

American Eagle Foundation hosts our programs on Microsoft Teams. Upon request, we can use other platforms in accordance with school policies. Our programs are 30-45 minutes with a 10-minute question and answer session at the program’s conclusion.

We request a $100 donation with each program. All proceeds help support the 70+ raptors under our care. In addition to the donation, classrooms may also contribute to our birds’ welfare by collecting enrichment suppliesOur programs are complimentary to Title 1 schools and Sevier County schools.

To sign up for a program, please click the link below. Our educational team will verify your program request via email and provide any requested information or materials. To ensure that we can accommodate your needs, we request at least one month’s notice for programs.

 

Have questions? Email us!