Exploring the Nature Nearby
Saturday, March 5 | 9am – 12pm
Breakfast and check in starts at 8:30am
Whether you’ve been a part of our multi-touch point ongoing partnership programming—like Science on the Go, Science Teaching Network, Urban Nature Partnership, After School Science Club, School Science Partnership, or the Elementary Education Science Partnership—or one time programs like Field Trip Workshops or Nature on the Go, we value your dedication to locally relevant and student-centered science education. In thanks for your partnership with us, we’re inviting you to join the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for a half-day of collaboration with fellow partner teachers from across Chicago, as well as with Nature Museum scientists and educators.
Our keynote speech and breakout sessions will highlight Nature Museum scientists and the conservation science happening right here in and around Chicago. Conference sessions will include connections to best practices in science education and the Next Generation Science Standards.
Teachers are eligible to receive Professional Development Clock Hours for attendance and can expect to leave with a variety of tools, strategies, and materials to use with their students in the classroom.
- Engage with museum scientists and educators through tailored breakout sessions centered around natural phenomena, urban ecology, and best practices in science education including the Next Generation Science Standards
- Leave with strategies and materials to use in the classroom
- Discover unique museum resources for in- and out-of-classroom learning
- Earn Professional Development Clock Hours
- Enjoy complimentary breakfast and coffee
- Have a chance to win raffle prizes
Breakout Session Descriptions
Select the sessions that are most relevant and interesting to you! All participants will be inspired by the same keynote address then rotate through two breakout sessions. Each breakout session has four workshop choices.
BREAKOUT SESSION 1 WORKSHOP CHOICES
1A: What’s a Weed? Urban Plants and Their Role in the Ecosystem
The Urban Jungle: Plants of sidewalk cracks, vacant lots, and roadsides in Chicago. How did these plants get here? Why do they thrive in human-made environments? And what services do they provide for people and nature? Learn about the plants that live all around us in Chicago.
1B: Local Conservation Solutions and Their Global Connections
See how Nature Museum scientists solve challenges encountered in the Blanding’s turtle conservation project by exploring the headstarting process happening right here in Chicago! Make connections to how these same ecology principles and solutions can be applied to other conservation projects around the world and explored in your classroom.
1C: Play: A Tool for Learning about Nearby Nature
Explore multiple approaches to and best practices around nature play! Learn about the power of play as a tool for engaging students in local, place-based, holistic learning experiences. Educators will leave with accessible strategies for bringing elements of play into classroom science instruction.
1D: Using the Schoolyard as the Science Lab: Planning Outdoor Investigations
Capitalize on the local natural spaces right outside your door! Learn practical tips and tricks for planning and carrying out real world investigations with your students. Weather permitting, we’ll get our hands dirty and experience outdoor student driven investigations as learners.
BREAKOUT SESSION 2 WORKSHOP CHOICES
2A: Climate Change and Butterflies in Illinois
Explore the ways community science has brought to light shifts in local butterfly populations in the face of a changing climate! Understand how scientists use data as a storyteller and unpack tools and tricks to navigate climate change conversations in your classroom.
2B: Beneficial Bugs
Learn more about the positive impacts of arthropods in your neighborhood—from pollination to pest control (and more)! Observe live and preserved specimens and investigate the roles of these beneficial bugs in our local environments, including the ecosystem services they provide.
2C: Journals, Natural History Collections, and Monitoring Change over Time
Interact with historical documents, photos, and specimens from the Nature Museum’s collections to learn about the variety of ways scientific observations are recorded and used to deepen our understanding about local nature! Walk away with strategies to foster student connections to and understanding of nearby nature through journaling and other methods of close observation to document short- and long-term changes in the natural world.
2D: Habitat Conservation in the Backyard and the Schoolyard
Learn about establishing and restoring native plants and spaces on a variety of scales! Explore the benefits and limitations of intentionally planted backyards and schoolyards for conservation efforts. Come away with actionable ideas for promoting native habitat nearby and with hands-on student activities for the schoolyard.
The conference is free, but space is limited. Register early to ensure your spot and reserve your top breakout session picks. Registration closes February 19!
Safety Precautions and Protocols
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the Nature Museum is following safety precautions and protocols to ensure the safety of all visitors and program participants. In addition, in accordance with City of Chicago public health order, all Museum visitors over the age of 5 will be required to show proof of vaccination at the time of entry. Please visit our website page here to read more about the safety precautions and protocols.