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Education Programs

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  • Girl examining a plant
  • Science on the Go
  • Composting in the classroom

The Nature Museum offers a variety of education programs for students and teachers throughout the year, both in the school and at the museum. We also offer a host of teacher resources to help educators enhance their science teaching in the classroom. All programs are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and Illinois Learning Standards.

Click "Printable Programs Brochure" below, use quick links, or scroll down for titles and descriptions of available programs. Alternatively, you can learn more about the Education Department by clicking on the "Education Department" button below.

In Your School

Science on the Go (Grades K through 8)

Highlights:
• All materials prepared and packed for you
• Educators teach lessons to your students in your classroom
• Keep all curricula and use it year after year

Enrich your curriculum with Science on the Go, a quarter-long science education program featuring in-classroom science instruction, a nine lesson curriculum, a full set of materials, a free field trip to the Nature Museum, professional development and more! Learn how to teach a range of science topics with hands-on lessons that use an inquiry-based, cooperative learning approach. For more information, visit the Science on the Go page, call 773-755-5111, Ext. 5 or e-mail scienceonthego@naturemuseum.org.

Nature on the Go (Grades Pre-K through 12)

Highlights:
• Educators in your classroom
• Students observe and interact with real specimens
• Receive $100 bus reimbursement for a Nature Museum field trip

Students interact with specimens from the Nature Museum’s collections in this two-part experience that begins with a hands-on program at your school. A Museum educator will use live or preserved specimens to lead an inquirybased program focused on regional species in your classroom. After the program, teachers receive a $100 bus reimbursement to bring students to the Nature Museum. To register or for more information, visit the Nature on the Go page. Contact the Registration Office at natureonthego@naturemuseum.org with additional questions.

At the Museum

Field Trips Registration (Grades Pre-K through 12)

Highlights:
• Field Trips are FREE* for all Illinois school groups
• Explore nature and science with award-winning exhibits
• Learn about regional Illinois plants and animals

*Registration is required for all field trips. To register or for more information, visit the Field Trips page. Contact the Registration Office at fieldtrip@naturemuseum.org with additional questions.

Field Trip Workshops (Grades Pre-K through 12)

Highlights:
• Educators teach students in a focused, hands-on program during your field trip
• Students learn science content and make personal connections by interacting with unique Museum resources
• Students interact with real plants, animals, and specimens to build on the science and nature topics they’re learning in school

These creative and interactive programs are designed to enhance your Nature Museum field trip and provide unique museum learning experiences. Visit the Workshops page to view descriptions of workshop choices and to register. Contact the Registration Office at fieldtrip@naturemuseum.org with additional questions or for special requests.

Teenagers Exploring and Explaining Nature and Science (TEENS) (Grades 9 through 12)

Highlights:
• Explore nature in the city and participate in real-world scientific investigations
• Learn about college and career paths in the natural sciences, education, and conservation
• Develop lasting friendships and network with other teenagers from across the city

TEENS is a free out-of-school program open to Chicago high school students. TEENS participants engage in a range of museum and field-based activities focused on urban ecosystems and other environmental topics. For more information, visit the TEENS page or email teens@naturemuseum.org.

Teacher Resources

Teacher Professional Development (Grades Pre-K through 12)

Highlights:
• Choose to hold a Teacher Professional Development workshop for the staff at your school and/or
• Participate in development opportunities at the Museum

The Nature Museum offers a variety of professional development opportunities that can provide you with new content and skills to enrich your classroom teaching. All workshops are designed to address STEM learning, NGSS and Illinois Learning Standards. For more information about current professional opportunities, visit the Teacher Professional Development page. E-mail teacherprograms@naturemuseum.org with additional questions.

ITW/David and Barbara Speer Teacher Leadership Center (TLC)

Highlights:
• Borrow free pre-packaged kits with materials and other resources to use in your classroom
• Teacher-friendly open hours

The ITW/David and Barbara Speer Teacher Leadership Center (TLC) is the Nature Museum’s resource room for educators. Teachers can borrow science inquiry kits containing specimens, models, books, and more to use in their classrooms. The TLC also houses a library of science and education resources and activity books that teachers can use as they plan their teaching. For more information on the TLC, including a current schedule of the open hours, visit the TLC page, call 773-755-5112 or e-mail tlc@naturemuseum.org. A fully refundable deposit is required to borrow materials. No additional fees apply.

Tour our 159-year-old Collections!

Register for a program at your school and get invited to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at the Nature Museum’s collections facility. The collections you see in our museum barely scratch the surface of the 280,000+ specimens we keep at an offsite facility. These specimens are like a physical snapshot in time, containing irreplaceable information for scientists and researchers to use in their studies. Get up close and personal with this historic treasure-trove! Two tours are offered per year. Eligible teachers will receive an email with instructions. Registration is required and space is limited.

 
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