First Grade Classroom Programs


The Asombro Institute can bring a bit of hands-on science and the desert to your classroom. All programs provide an opportunity for students to learn about science through hands-on activities. Each program is aligned with the New Mexico STEM Ready! science standards (including the Next Generation Science Standards) and Common Core mathematics and English Language Art standards, where appropriate. Please call the Asombro Institute office (575-524-3334) to schedule your classroom presentations.


  • Where: In your classroom
  • Cost*: $60 for first presentation; $30 for additional, same-day presentations (additional travel charges may apply for schools outside Las Cruces, NM – $25 + 45 cents per mile)
  • Maximum Group Size: 1 class per presentation (exceptions on an individual basis)
  • Length: Approximately one hour per presentation (some lessons are multi-day)


Asombro provides programming in all four science disciplines in the NGSS curriculum: life science; physical science; earth & space science; and engineering, technology, & applications of science. Please scroll down to see our specific program offerings. A brief description of the program and applicable science standards are listed for each lesson. Click the science standard to read more on the Next Generation Science Standards website.

*The regular cost of classroom programs is $100 per lesson. However, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are able to offer a reduced price of $60 for the first lesson and $30 for each additional, same-day program.



Young Arthropod Identification

In this program, students examine and collect data on adult arthropod specimens and match them to photos of young individuals of the same species.




1-LS3-1 Make observations to construct an evidence-based account that young plants and animals are like, but not exactly like, their parents.


Click here for a standards sheet with both science and common core standards.


Sounds and Vibrations

Students will learn how the Great Plains Toad creates sound. They will conduct investigations to determine that vibrating materials create sound. They will then plan and carry out an investigation to demonstrate that sound can cause materials to vibrate.




1-PS4-1. Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.


Click here for a standards sheet with both science and common core standards.



Cows and Calves

What do Criollo cows do to help their calves survive in the Chihuahuan Desert? Students will learn about Raramuri criollo cattle, a heritage breed that scientists are researching as a sustainable ranching solution in the dry southwestern United States. Students will discover how Criollo dams, or mothers, help their offspring, or calves, survive. They will conduct investigations to determine different ways Criollo ensure calves survive by studying their behaviors and how data are being collected in New Mexico using precision tools. They will then analyze data they collect to understand how Criollo are well suited to survive in the Chihuahuan Desert.



1-LS1-2. Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behavior of parents and offspring that help offspring survive.


Click here for a standards sheet with both science and common core standards.

Desert Stories: Learning From Desert Animals

Desert Stories consists of three, hour-long lessons delivered by staff from the Asombro Institute for Science Education in your classroom.

Lesson 1 – Students learn about the New Mexico state plant and animals symbols and think about the similarities between plant and animal structures and everyday objects. After reading the book Life in the Slow Lane, students think about how animals would build homes in the desert. They test the strength of building materials and begin designing a desert home.

Lesson 2 – Students compare plant root lengths and investigate how plant roots keep tall plants stable in a yucca bowling game. Then they use animal feet models to dig a hole and compare the evaluate the effectiveness of each foot.

Lesson 3 – Students think about how plants and animals protect themselves through camouflage (animals), and spines and thorns (plants). They use these ideas to add to the home design they started in the previous lessons.




1-LS1-1. Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.


K-2-ETS1-3. Analyze data from tests of two objects designed to solve the same problem to compare the strengths and weaknesses of how each performs.


Click here for a standards sheet with both science and common core standards.