Print Logo

Teacher Resources & Workshops


Teacher touching turtle

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.

Jump To: Professional Development | Materials for Loan | Field Trip Resources | Classroom Resources

Teacher Professional Development Workshops

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

  • Science on the Go

    observing an insect

    This professional development program is designed to help K-8 educators become more comfortable teaching through NGSS-aligned lessons that are hands-on, inquiry-based, and incorporate cooperative learning.

  • Science Teaching Network

    Nature Museum educator working with teachers

    The Science Teaching Network focuses on teacher professional development through a summer institute built around best practices in science instruction, including NGSS and local nature and science topics. 

  • School Science Partnership

    Educator participants

    Build teacher capacity, ignite student learning, and foster authentic learning experiences through local connections to science and nature with this unique partnership.

One-Time Workshops at the Museum

  • Teachers in a group discussion with a museum educator

    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

    Click here for more information.

Custom Professional Development

  • Museum educator instructing teachers

    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

    Click here for more information.

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 TLC 2019-2020 school year hours (September 10-June 15, 2020) are Monday-Wednesday, 3 to 5pm and Saturday, 10am to 1pm, with the exception of the following days when it will be closed: November 27; November 30; December 23-31; January 1-4; May 25.

For more information on the TLC, or to make an appointment outside of office hours, call 773-755-5112 or email

Inquiry Kits

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.

Available EnviroScapes include Hazardous Waste, Water Pollution and Wetlands.

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

Enhance your field trip experience with our free Field Trip Guide. Inside you'll find worksheets to help you customize your field trip, arrival and check-in information, exhibit descriptions, workshop listings, common student questions, and more! All designed to help you make the most of your Nature Museum visit. Click the button below to download your copy of our Field Trip Guide.

Plan a Focused Field Trip

Want to plan a focused field trip for your class? Download one of one of our educator-created worksheets. Simply select a gradeband and theme to start.

Insects & More
Grades PreK-2
    Midwest Ecosystems
Grades 3-8
Grades 3-12
    Collections & Specimens
Grades 6-12

Want to plan your own focused field trip, but looking for a little guidance? Download our custom focused field trip worksheet and put your own twist on a Nature Museum field trip.

Customized Focused Field Trip

Social Narrative

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.

Social Narrative 

Classroom Resources

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.

Living Schoolyard Activity Guide

Mobile navigation