MDC invites teachers to Discover Nature Schools kindergarten unit workshop Dec. 29 at Wurdack MU Extension Center

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COOK STATION, Mo.– The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature Schools (DNS) program is a win-win opportunity for both educators and students.  It provides high-quality science units designed to meet the needs of teachers while preparing Missouri's students to become life-long conservationists through hands-on experiences in nature.  Multiple units are fine-tuned to serve the needs of grade levels from K-12.

To help train teachers on MDC’s new kindergarten unit, Bears Through the Season, MDC is holding a teacher workshop Thursday, Dec. 29 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Wurdack MU Extension and Education Center in Cook Station.  The comprehensive workshop is free to educational professionals.  Participating teachers become certified to receive the DNS Kindergarten Teacher Kit and grants to fund transportation and equipment for field experiences away from the school.

The Bears Through the Season DNS program is designed specifically for kindergarten students. This curriculum is aligned to Missouri Learning Science (MLS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) including the four components of Earth and space science, physical science, life science and engineering, and technology science.

This curriculum explores the four seasons with four seasonal units and 23 lessons. All lessons follow the life cycle of Missouri black bears in their natural habitat. Each uses the 5E instruction model beginning with Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate and tie into Missouri-focused phenomena.  The unit investigates questions such as “What lives in my schoolyard?” “How do bears get their food using pushes and pulls?,” and “Why do plants grow in different places?.”

The workshop covers both the student and teacher guides, and other engaging books for the students.  Teachers will learn how to conduct field investigations that emphasize science practices correlated with current curriculum standards.   The workshop qualifies teachers to receive the kindergarten teacher kit with materials supporting lessons, as well as a DNS transportation grant to reimburse actual bus costs for field experiences related to the units.

The DNS Bears through the Season workshop is free but advance registration is required.  To sign up,

teachers should visit the MDC Teacher Portal at and register through their existing accounts.  To set up a new account, go to

For more information, contact MDC Conservation Educator Conrad Mallady at, or 314-577-9555 ext. 76044.

Wurdack MU Extension and Education Center is located at 164 Bales Road, Cook Station, MO 65449, approximately ten miles south of Steelville.