What’s In My Backyard?
Utilizing the Nature Around Us
Saturday, January 27, 2024 | 9am – 3pm
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, Monarch Clubs, Chicago River Explorers, or our School 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 day of collaboration with fellow partner teachers from across Chicago, as well as with Nature Museum scientists and educators.
Our keynote panel and breakout sessions will highlight Nature Museum scientists and the participatory science programs 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, lunch, 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 and then rotate through three breakout sessions. Please note, the workshops selections of Breakout Sessions 2 and 3 are the same. When you register, please make sure you have unique selections for Session 2 and Session 3.
BREAKOUT SESSION 1 WORKSHOP CHOICES
1A. Telling the Story of Biodiversity with Community Science
Explore some of the community science programs of the Nature Museum to learn how anyone can contribute to real conservation research! Think about the ways the data from these programs can help us understand more about a place and the stories we can tell.
1B. How Big is Your Backyard, Really?
From an insect’s perspective, maybe bigger than you think! Explore different invertebrate habitats (both big and small) found throughout Chicago’s urban landscape and learn how to document what lives there.
1C. Budding Scientists: Cultivating Classroom Collections
Plants have a story to tell. Hear from our Collections staff about the importance of botany collections to understand the past and inform the future. Explore how your students can contribute to our shared understanding of the natural world and practice pressing and mounting plant specimens to start your own classroom collection.
1D. Your Backyard is Nature
Explore ways that we can relate to nature nearby through gardens of all sizes—at your school, home, or community. This session will highlight strategies for nurturing your student’s curiosity and connection to nature and deepening our understanding of the natural world through the timeless practice of growing a garden.
BREAKOUT SESSION 2 & 3 WORKSHOP CHOICES
2A. & 3A. Birds, Bugs, Buds: Investigating Seasonal Change
Discover how to use phenology (the study of seasonal and cyclical changes) as a powerful anchoring phenomenon in your classroom and community. This session will highlight ways to track the changes of Birds, Bugs, and Buds (plants) throughout the year to engage students in authentic scientific investigations. Join us for some Phenology Phun!
2B. & 3B. Is this Rock Alive? Reexamining our understanding and perceptions of science
Learn new strategies for engaging students in inclusive and holistic ways of understanding science in their classroom, community, and beyond. Explore ways to create more equitable learning environments by leveraging and creating opportunities to uplift and honor different pools of knowledge.
2C. & 3C. From the Field to the Classroom: Science Practices in Action
Explore developmentally appropriate ways to engage students in learning experiences inspired by what Nature Museum scientists are doing in the field. Learn how Science and Engineering Practices center rigorous science sensemaking in the classroom.
2D. & 3D. Getting Outside! Creating accessible outdoor experiences
Discover the social emotional benefits of engaging your students in outdoor learning. Explore ways to create accessible and interdisciplinary experiences outside of the classroom.
The conference is free, but space is limited. Register early to ensure your spot and reserve your top breakout session picks. Registration closes January 12th!