Living Classrooms


Through the Living Classrooms Program, Cradle Beach continues to serve Western New York children by providing interdisciplinary, participant-centered programs in which individuals build upon existing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) knowledge, develop creativity, and gain critical thinking skills through active learning. We work with community schools and organizations to strengthen our program, aligning curriculum with New York State New Generation Science Standards and creating a fun and authentic learning environment.

With over 60 acres of land and 1,200 feet of lakefront shoreline, Cradle Beach is a natural location for year-round experiential out-of-school STEM education. Living Classrooms is offered as a stand-alone program that schools and community organizations can access and it is also embedded into our Summer Camp and Project SOAR programs.

Occasionally, we do lead public programs on our campus and/or at local community centers. Please check our Facebook page for more information regarding upcoming public programs.


Through collaboration with Buffalo State College, the Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Partnership (ISEP) at the University of Buffalo, and the Buffalo Museum of Science, we have developed a variety of science activities within Cradle Beach Summer Camp to go along with regular camp programming. Examples of past summer camp activities include:

·        Close-up observations of aquatic macro-invertebrates

·        Building electrical circuits to understand insulators and conductors

·        Dropping an egg-holding contraption from a large height to protect a raw egg

·        Making ice cream to understand physical changes

·        Making slime to understand polymers

·        Creating a Star Chart to use while observing the constellations at night

Along with Summer Camp, Living Classrooms also works with the Project SOAR Program to provide science activities during the summer and on weekend retreats during the school year.


Living Classrooms offers year-round programming to schools and other community groups that would like STEM concepts exposed to their students. We are continually adding engaging programs to offer more to schools and organizations. The following activities are a select few that we have offered to groups in the past, and may be modified if need be for participants. For a complete and updated list, please email Intefada Wardia at

·        Animal Dissection - Students learn about animal anatomy and function through dissecting an animal specimen. Animal specimens available must be requested at least 4 weeks prior to program date. Common specimens include fish, mice, rats, and frogs.

·        Building Bridges - Students learn about economics and budgeting through designing and building one of four types of bridges to create a miniature model within small groups.

·        Crime Scene Investigations - Students practice being forensic scientists, observing differences in fingerprints and analyzing fake blood samples to identify who committed a simulated crime. Students may also have the opportunity to extract their cheek cell DNA.

·        Decomposing! - Best for large groups, students learn about the decomposition process and play an active running simulation where they are all plants trying to survive in a world where disease and parasites are after them!

·        Marshmallow Catapult - Students work in small groups to design and construct a catapult that is able to launch a marshmallow at least six feet.

·        Predator-Prey - Best for large groups, students gain an understanding of predator/prey relationships by participating in an active running activity that simulates actual predator/prey populations.

·        Storm Chasers - Students experience how weather forms through various running activities, ultimately gaining an understanding of how people are affected by the weather.

·        The Scoop on Fossils - Students learn about how fossils are formed and what information paleontologists can obtain from those fossils, creating their own fossils in the process.

·        Trees, Seeds, and Leaves - Students learn about different tree species found on our campus by making a leaf identifying project after going on a nature hike.

·        Volcanoes - Students use world maps to view features and tectonic plate movement to understand Earth processes, how Volcanoes may be formed, and build their own volcano.

·        What's In Your Sand? - Students closely observe materials on the beach to understand what sand is actually made up of, how sand is made, and leave with a small sand bottle.