For over 100 years, the Chicago Academy of Sciences / Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum has provided Chicago area educators with tools and training to help them increase their comfort teaching science.
The Nature Museum offers both ongoing professional development programs and one-time workshops that provide engaging, in-depth training, curriculum ideas, tools, and more.
Ongoing Partnership Programs
Custom Professional Development
Bring engaging, inquiry-based science to your school! The Nature Museum offers a variety of professional development workshops tailored specifically for your school’s needs and designed to help teachers address STEM learning and Next Generation Science Standards. Professional development hosted at the Museum or at your school engages teachers in collaborative discussions and model lessons.
One-Time Workshops at the Museum
The Nature Museum offers a variety of professional development. All workshops are designed to help teachers deepen their science content knowledge, teach using inquiry and real world phenomena, and address STEM learning, NGSS, and Common Core Standards. For questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Materials for Loan
The Teacher Leadership Center’s popular loan program includes the following materials which can be borrowed free of charge for two weeks at a time: Inquiry Kits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Nature Museum, EnviroScapes, and National Geographic Book Packs. The TLC also offers teachers the use of our Laminator and Ellison Die Cut Machine, and our extensive resource book collection.
The Nature Museum's Inquiry Kits contain books, activity ideas, videos, posters, specimens, models, and other materials to supplement your classroom lessons! Many kits available are provided from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and contain bilingual components. Click on a kit name to see a list of contents.
Available kits include: Butterflies, Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity, Climate Change, Field Trip Pack (IDNR), Illinois Fossils (IDNR), Illinois Pollinators (IDNR), Insects and Spiders (IDNR), Invasive Species (IDNR), People and Animals from IL's Past (IDNR), Plants, Prairies (IDNR), Reptiles and Amphibians, Trees (IDNR), Wild Mammals (IDNR), Zebra Mussel Mania.
EnviroScapes are portable, interactive, table-top models designed to help students explore watershed concepts, threats, and conservation issues. Topics include wetland functions, non-point source and storm water pollution, and hazardous waste management. Each model includes the landscape, materials, instructions, and activity ideas.
National Geographic Book Packs
Check out our series of National Geographic book packs! Packs contain books from National Geographic Publishing on a variety of science and social studies topics including life science, earth and space science, government and more. These leveled book packs are currently availablefor emergent, early, fluent, and fluent plus readers (grades preK-3). Click here for a list of all available book packs.The TLC also offers National Geographic book packs for grades 3-8. These nonfiction books cover a variety of life science, physical science, and nature of science topics.
Field Trip Resources
Field Trip Guide
Plan a Focused Field Trip
Developed by our education staff and designed for children on the Autism Spectrum and with sensory processing disorders, the Social Narrative is an appropriate resource for all children curious about what to expect from a typical visit to the Nature Museum. Click the button to download a copy for your classroom.
Looking for ways to engage your students with local nature content? Explore the Living Schoolyard Activity Guide for simple lesson ideas that engage students with the outdoors. Look on page 36 for the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s Citizen Science lesson that has students observing and studying squirrels and sharing data on Project Squirrel. You can download the guide by clicking the button below.