Listening to Local Nature
Saturday, January 28, 2023 | 9am – 3pm
Breakfast and check in starts at 8:30am
Whether you’ve been a part of our multi-touchpoint ongoing partnership programming or one time programs 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 day of collaboration with fellow partner teachers from across Chicago, as well as with Nature Museum scientists and educators.
Jump To: Highlights | Keynote | Breakout Sessions | Safety Precautions
See below for previous conference information. This page will be updated in December 2023 when registration opens for the January 2024 conference.
- 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, lunch, and coffee
- Have a chance to win raffle prizes
Learning in Places: Cultivating Just, Culturally Thriving, and Sustainable Futures
Megan Bang, Professor, Learning Sciences, School of Education & Social Policy and Director, Center for Native American and Indigenous Research
The complex intertwining of human systems and natural systems are increasingly visible as societies are grappling with profound issues like Indigenous self-determination, racial justice, public health, economics, and more amidst rapidly shifting ecological systems and changing climates. Given these realities, what kind of teaching and learning do we need for human worlds and natural worlds to be generatively intertwined such that justice and sustainability are achievable? This keynote will explore the relationships among these concepts and share educational models intended to contribute to a more just system.
Breakout Session Descriptions
Select the sessions that are most relevant and interesting to you! All participants will be inspired by the same keynote address and then rotate through two breakout sessions. Each breakout session has multiple workshop choices.
BREAKOUT SESSION 1 WORKSHOP CHOICES
1A. Creating a Home for Biodiversity: Ecological Restoration at Bluff Spring Fen
Come learn about the ecological restoration happening at Bluff Spring Fen. Explore the effects of 35+ years of habitat management on the plants and animals, including butterflies, that call Bluff Spring Fen home.
1B. Slither, Crawl, Croak, and Flutter
Immerse yourself in wildlife conservation by meeting local species and learning about Nature Museum conservation projects. Discover the need for local wildlife conservation, explore the research happening at the Nature Museum, and examine how life histories of different organisms impact the conservation decisions we make.
1C. Butterfly Monitoring: Documenting Trends in Butterfly Population Sizes at Different Scales
Explore how the Nature Museum’s Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network data has gone from a tool for land managers to guide their local restoration strategies to becoming a way to understand larger trends in our regional and national biodiversity.
1D. A Place in Time
Consider the story a landscape can tell you by learning more about how it changes through time, the habitats it provides, and the life it supports.
BREAKOUT SESSION 2 WORKSHOP CHOICES
2A. Specimen Stories: What can specimens from the Nature Museum’s collection tell us about local birds?
Where do the bird specimens in the Nature Museum’s collection come from? Who collects them, and how and why are they preserved? Meet one of the museum’s preparators, and follow the journey of a specimen from sky to showcase.
2B. Why are we messing with North Pond?
Using the restoration plan at North Pond as a case study, explore the multiple stakeholders and ecological issues considered when managing natural spaces and urban parks in your neighborhood. Learn how and why restoration projects are completed and how they are managed to ensure systems are maintained.
2C. Place-Based Learning Experiences At Your School
Connect students to the hidden gems around your school and community to create opportunities for student driven exploration, investigation, and understanding. Learn about innovative, place-based resources to plan a new type of aligned learning experience for you and your students.
2D. Fostering a Sense of Belonging: In museums and in STEM
Join the Museum of Science and Industry’s education research and evaluation experts to learn about their work measuring belonging at museums. Explore how to apply these principles in your own teaching – and in partnerships with museums – to create learning experiences that foster meaningful STEM and civic identities.
BREAKOUT SESSION 3 WORKSHOP CHOICES
3A. Phenomenon Finding: Anchor a Learning Experience In a Local Science Story
Engage students’ curiosity about nature in their own community by designing your own locally focused lesson, sequence, or a unit. Collect objects, observations, and images to help your students make sense of neighborhood nature phenomena.
3B. Analyzing and Interpreting Data Across Grades
Any time we observe the natural world, we are collecting data. To make sense of our observations, we can gather more data, or use data from other people in the community. Unpack what analyzing data looks like at each grade band and explore opportunities for students to use data to understand the nature in their community.
3C. Documenting Personal Connections With Nature
Dig into interdisciplinary science education strategies by exploring various types of learner-driven nature documentation approaches. Discover how these science and education tools can be used as various storytelling modalities and how they can be powerful vehicles for social-emotional learning within core academic experiences.
3D. Engineering Inspired by Nature
Look to the natural world to inspire engineering solutions to human problems. In this session, participants will explore the creativity, collaboration, and productive failure that are embedded in authentic student engineering challenges inspired by the natural world’s 4 billion years of design and evolution.