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Science Teaching Network


Teachers looking at insect specimens during professional development workshop

Partner with Nature Museum educators and scientists to incorporate real world science, authentic learning opportunities, and unique resources into your classroom instruction.

Kindergarten, 3rd, and 4th grade teachers are invited to join the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum’s Science Teaching Network (STN), a grant-funded teacher professional development program focused on best practices in science instruction, the Next Generation Science Standards, and local nature and science topics.

Download the 2019 Flyer

Jump To: Program Highlights | Curricula | Application | Teacher Feedback

“I enjoyed listening to the scientists share their knowledge and their work. 'Science' doesn't seem so abstract to me anymore.” -STN participant

Professional Development Program Highlights:

  • Attend the Summer Institute (three and a half days) at the Nature Museum to explore an NGSS-aligned curriculum and make connections to local ecosystems
  • Receive an NGSS aligned nine-lesson curriculum with all included materials
  • Take a free field trip to the Nature Museum and receive a full bus reimbursement
  • Observe one Nature Museum educator-taught lesson in your classroom
  • Participate in three Saturday PD workshops to support curriculum implementation, reflection on science teaching practices, and teacher collaboration
  • Earn a stipend of up to $200 and 36 professional development clock hours

“I learned to collaborate and work with teachers from another school. The partnership we created gave me the confidence I needed to become more comfortable teaching science.” -STN participant

  • Nature in the City (Grade K)*

    Summer Institute Dates:
    August 6-9

    NGSS: K-ESS3-1, K-ESS2-2

    Take a walk around the neighborhood—what plants and animals will you see? Use observations, discussions, and scientific drawings to explore ecosystems on the ground, in the trees, and near buildings.

    *Recently updated to support beginning-of-the-year kindergarten students.

  • Freshwater Flashback (Grades 3-4)

    Summer Institute Dates:
    July 16-19 OR July 23-26

    NGSS: 3-LS3-2, 3-LS4-1, 4-ESS3-2

    What lives inor used to live inChicago's Great Lakes environment? Students will examine evidence of the ways local freshwater ecosystems have changed over time.

How to Apply

The application period for Summer 2019 has ended. Registration for this program is seasonal and restricted to two grade bands each year.

To participate, teachers must apply and be selected to enroll. Priority is given to teams of two or more teachers in high-needs schools. Teachers from the same school who teach different grades can attend different institutes. Each teacher must submit a separate application.

To receive updates about the Science Teaching Network and other education programs as they're made available, click here to subscribe to the Nature Museum Education Bulletin.

Looking for Nature Museum offerings during the school year or outside of this grade band? Check out our Science on the Go program for grades K-8 to bring new curriculum units and materials, hands-on science teaching, and museum educators to your classroom by clicking here.

Teacher Feedback

“I love how we were able to connect everything we learned to real life by bringing kids here on a field trip!” -STN participant

“I loved that by the end of the unit, students WERE scientists. They were using scientific words they were exposed to and speaking the scientific language in discussions. It really gave them independence and sparked their creativity.” -STN participant

“The program breaks the NGSS down in an easy to understand way and shows teachers how to apply them in lessons that are hands on and engaging.” -STN participant

If you have any questions, please e-mail

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