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.
Teacher Professional Development
The Nature Museum offers both ongoing professional development programs and one-time workshops that provide engaging, in-depth training, curriculum ideas, tools, and more.
On-going Partnership Programs
Science on the Go is a quarter-long professional development program designed to help K–8 educators increase confidence in teaching science through a nine-lesson NGSS-aligned curriculum.
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.
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 Nature Museum
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Custom Professional Development Workshops
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 available for 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.
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.
Nature Museum 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.
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.