Teacher Classes

Teacher classes


All classes offer PDCH. Graduate credit through Dominican University is optional for most classes. Dominican University will accept up to 6 hours of credit from these class options as electives in their MaEd program.

Cancellations, Rescheduling, and Refund Policy:
The following policies are in place because making our Teacher Classes the best possible experience they can be requires months of planning, preparation, and investment of staff resources. Upon making a reservation, we reserve a space for you. In doing so, we are barring others from signing up as we have limited seats available.

All class fees include a $100 non-refundable deposit. Class fees, minus the non-refundable deposit, can be refunded or transferred to another teacher class if we receive notice of this request at least 14 calendar days prior to the date of the original class.

During registration, you agreed to and paid a processing fee. The total processing fee imposed by The ACTIVE Network, LLC or its applicable subsidiary, (collectively ACTIVE) includes sums charged by ACTIVE as consideration for providing its software and services (including without limitation promotional and marketing services) to the activity organizer (Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo). These sums, as part of the total processing fee, are in addition to any actual costs incurred by ACTIVE from third party providers for each transaction. These fees are nonrefundable as they do not belong to the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo.

Participants who do not show up for their registered class or choose to leave early on one or more days will not be granted a refund.

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2018 Teacher Classes at Brookfield Zoo


March 9 & 10: Pollution

Friday, March 9 (4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, March 10 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 802)


Take a look at an issue that affects us all- the pollution of our environment. Participate in hands-on activities that show the impact of different types of pollution as we focus on the crosscutting concept of cause and effect. Learn more about what the zoo is doing to combat this issue and how you can get your students involved in formal and informal science research projects across the country.

NGSS K-ESS3-3 Communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, air, water, and/or other living things in their local environment.
NGSS 4-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
NGSS 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment. NGSS MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment. NGSS Science and Engineering Practices Developing and using models; analyzing and interpreting data; obtaining, evaluating and communicating information. NGSS Crosscutting Concepts: Cause and Effect, Systems and system models, and stability and change

 
March 23 & 24: NGSS: Storylining

Presented by staff/members of the Illinois Science Teachers Association

Friday, March 23 (4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, March 24 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 813)


Building coherence around phenomena that exist in our world is critical to implementing a three-dimensional classroom. When students see how and why science ideas are relevant, they are more apt to be engaged and make sense of the world. Participants in this course will see how to plan their curricula by looking at the big picture and create lessons that build on one another. By developing storyline units, participants will help their students to connect traditionally isolated ideas, to make coherent connections.


NGSS Concepts Addressed:

Goal 1: Develop an understanding of the use of phenomenon-driven units to lead instruction.
Goal 2: Apply knowledge of three-dimensional learning to unit planning.
NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect; Systems and System Models; and Stability and Change.
NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

 
April 6 & 7: NGSS: 3-Dimensional Assessment

Presented by staff/members of the Illinois Science Teachers Association

Friday, April 6 (4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, April 7 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 812)


Three-dimensional learning not only involves understanding science content, but also how to use the science practices and discover and apply the cross-cutting concepts. Effective assessment strategies must also involve all three of these dimensions. Participants will see models of three-dimensional assessments and better understand how to shift their assessment methods to obtain a deeper, richer look at student learning and performance.


NGSS Concepts Addressed:

Goal 1: Identify key characteristics of effective three-dimensional assessment.
Goal 2: Apply knowledge of three-dimensional learning to assessment strategies.
NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect; Systems and System Models; and Stability and Change.
NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

 
April 20 & 21: Superhero Science

Friday, April 20 (4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, April 21 (9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 809)

BLAM! KAPOW! ZAP! What is the science behind superheroes? Join us as we become Super Agents in Zoopolis to make the gadgets that help famous superheroes. Then, create your own superhero based upon real examples in the Animal & Plant Kingdoms.

NGSS ETS1.A: Defining Engineering Problems.
NGSS PS3.A: Conservation of Energy & Energy Transfer.
NGSS ESS2.D: Weather & Climate.
NGSS PS2.2: Motion & Stability.
NGSS LS1.A: Structure & Function.
Common Core: Geometry, Data & Measurement

 
May 4 & 5: Learning Through the Arts

Friday, May 4 (4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, May 5 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 811)

Through art deco signage and buildings dating back to the zoo’s opening in 1934 to the latest in Zoo exhibits and signs of the 21st Century, participants will engage in various forms of art at the Zoo. Participants will use their discoveries to plan ways to incorporate the arts in their daily classroom activities.

NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns; Scale, proportion, and quality; Structure and function.

 
June 2, 15, 16, 29, and 30: Literature in Science

Saturday, June 2
Friday, June 15
Saturday, June 16
Friday, June 29
Saturday, June 30


8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. every day
Grades 4 - 8, $525, 3 optional graduate credit ($300 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 810)
Join us for this multi-week class as we explore how to integrate English Language Arts and Science through young adult literature. We will look closely at five novels and participate in activities and observations that make the books come alive in new and exciting ways!

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3: Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character's thoughts, words, or actions).
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.9: Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.9: Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.7.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.6: Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.
NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns; Cause and Effect; Systems and System Models; and Stability and Change.
NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

 
June 18 - 21: Collaboration and Creating an NGSS Storyline

Presented by staff/members of the Illinois Science Teachers Association

Monday, June 18 through Thursday, June 21 (8:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily)
All Grades, $525

In this course, participants will engage in understanding the process of NGSS implementation through the creation of an NGSS storyline unit. Through collaborative work over the course of this class, participants will design a phenomenon-driven investigation using the three dimensions as prescribed by the Next Generation Science Standards. Participants will gain greater confidence in their understanding by applying their knowledge of three-dimensional learning to build coherence within a carefully designed unit of instruction. This will enable more effective and engaging pedagogy as well as enhanced learning experience for students. Developing an understanding of how to build curriculum coherence around a central phenomenon will be a central focus.

 
July 2 & 3: Dr. Seuss-Inspired Science

Monday, July 2 and Tuesday, July 3 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. both days)
Grades 1 - 3, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 806)


Love to use picture books and story books in your classroom? Join this class to learn how Dr. Seuss books and other children’s conservation books can help you expand content knowledge in science with learning literacy skills. Incorporate science, literacy, social sciences, and math in your curriculum while having a great time with time honored literacy characters.

NGSS LS4: Adaptation.
NGSS LS4D: Biodiversity and Humans.
NGSS LS1A: Structure and Function.

 
July 5 & 6: Animal Grossology: The Fascinating World of Feces

Thursday, July 5 and Friday, July 6 (9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 807)

Poop, feces, scat, number two. There are just as many names for poop as there are uses of it in the Animal Kingdom. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of poop and become a “scat-ologist.” Discover the amazing ways animals use poop as well as how humans can use excrement to learn all about animals.

NGSS LS2A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems.
NGSS LS4C: Adaptation.
NGSS LS1A: Structure and Function.

 
July 9 - 13: Water, Water Everywhere

Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 13 (8:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily)
All Grades, $525, 3 optional graduate credits ($300 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 803)

Water is a resource we use daily without even thinking about it. Yet, it is one of our most precious resources. In this week long class, engage in a collection of activities about water consumption, access, movement, and pollution. Participate in data interpretation, interactive mapping, and guided inquiry investigations, learn about ways to protect the environment by properly disposing of waste, reduce impacts caused by overconsumption, integrate content on climate change, and through the learning of these principles, create a framework for your students on the importance of global citizenship.

K-LS1-1: Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.
2-PS1-4: Construct an argument with evidence that some changes caused by heating or cooling can be reversed and some cannot.
2-ESS2-2: Develop a model to represent the shapes and kinds of land and bodies of water in an area.
4-ESS2-1: Make observations and/or measurements to provide evidence of the effects of weathering or the rate of erosion by water, ice, wind, or vegetation.
5-ESS2-1: Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
MS-ESS2-4: Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns; Cause and Effect; and Quality Systems and System Models.
NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions.

 
July 23 - 27: Plants & Pollinators

Monday, July 23 through Friday July 27 (9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. daily)
All Grades, $525, 3 optional graduate credits ($300 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 808)

Did you know that Brookfield Zoo is also an Arboretum? Discover the fascinating world of plants by taking "field trips" around the Zoo to visit the many ecosystems where plants are found. Learn how pollinators play a key role in the lives of plants, including birds, bees, and bats. Explore the internal and external structures of plants and participate in both science and engineering activities that you can take back to your classroom.

NGSS LS1.A: Structure & Function.
NGSS LS1.B: Growth & Development of Organisms.
NGSS LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems. NGSS ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions.

 
August 6 - 10: Integrating Science across Disciplines

Monday, August 6 through Friday August 10 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily)
Grades 1 - 3, $525, 3 optional graduate credits ($300 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 805)


Participate in activities that make the Zoo come to life as you explore across content areas! During this 5-day class, examine science, math, reading, writing, social studies, and fine arts through the lens of a Zoo employee. Hear from experts and learn how to turn a day at the zoo into an all-encompassing experience for you and your students!

NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns; Cause and Effect; Scale Proportion and Quality Systems and System Models; Energy and Matter; Structure and Function; and Stability and Change.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

 
September 14 & 15: Non-Fiction Reading and Informative Text

Friday, September 14 (4:30 – 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, September 15 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University)


Making the leap from learning to read to reading to learn can be tough! Join us as we examine the skills necessary to comprehend non-fiction text and how using picture books plays an integral role. Learn like your students in this interactive class that highlights fun and engaging ways to make text come alive through discussion and real-world connections.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns; Cause and Effect NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

 

September 28 & 29: Nature’s Winter Activities

Friday, September 28 (4:30 – 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, September 29 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University)


Step outside and take a deep breath! Smell the chill in the air? Experience the zoo in a different season as we learn more about animal adaptations to the changing weather. Interact and observe the world around you through engaging and authentic learning experiences as we explore the natural world during the colder months. Discover ways to integrate these activities into your curriculum and how make connections to fall and winter holidays.

NGSS LS2A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
NGSS LS4C: Adaptation
NGSS LS1A: Structure and Function

October 12 & 13: Social Emotional Learning

Friday, October 12 (4:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, October 13 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University

Do you struggle with group work in your classroom? Have you found that students, despite all your best efforts, don’t seem to be progressing the way you would like? Learn how to address issues like these across the curriculum as we look closely at how to integrate Social Emotional Learning Standards. The goals of these standards are to address the student as a whole and to teach them how to set and achieve positive goals. Join us as we make connections to one another, the animals here at the zoo, and the larger world through emotion management and empathy.

Goal 1: Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success.
Goal 2: Use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to establish and maintain positive relationships.
Goal 3: Demonstrate decision-making skills and responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts.
NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect; Systems and System Models; and Stability and Change.
NGSS Science & Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

October 26 & 27: Solving Engineering Challenges

Friday, October 26 (4:30 – 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, October 27 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University)


Think and act like engineers and scientists as you follow the eight steps of the engineering design process to successfully complete team challenges. Engineering Design Challenges connect students with the work of engineers and scientists by engaging them in similar challenges of their own. Learn how to lead an exciting unit that focuses on specific problems that engineers must solve and the process they use to solve it. Watch your classroom come to life as your student’s design, build, test, and revise solutions to problems using simple and inexpensive materials and experience real-world science and engineering issues.

NGSS K-HS: Engineering Design
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

November 2 & 3: Health and Nutrition

Friday, November 2 (4:30 – 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, November 3 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University)


Eating a balanced diet is vital for good health and wellbeing. Food provides our bodies with the energy, protein, essential fats, vitamins and minerals to live, grow and function properly. How does health and nutrition go hand-in-hand? How does the nutritional needs of Brookfield Zoo animals compare to the nutritional needs of their human visitors? Are the signs of good health and nutrition the same in both? Combine math, biology, and fun to learn more about animal and human nutrition.

NGSS ESS3.A: Natural Resources
NGSS LS1.C: Organization for Matter and Energy Flow in Organisms
NGSS LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships I Ecosystems
NGSS LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior

November 16 & 17: Cycles in Nature

Friday, November 16 (4:30 – 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, November 17 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University)


The Earth is a dynamic planet that works in cycles. Thanks to this natural process, life can thrive! Examine which elements are continuously cycled in various forms between different compartments of the environment and how many of nature’s cycles overlap. Learn how to make cycles accessible to all age groups through hands-on activities, observations, and simulations.

NGSS LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships I Ecosystems
NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns; Cause and Effect; Scale Proportion and Quality Systems and System Models; Energy and Matter; Structure and Function; and Stability and Change.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

November 30 & December 1: Carnivores

Friday, November 30 (4:30 – 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, December 1 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University)


In this course participants will investigate carnivore conservation and behavior through direct observation providing a foundation for understanding research methods and conservation issues. Lions, wolves, painted dogs, tigers, leopards, and other carnivores are ideal for comparative studies on topics ranging from social structure to communication.

NGSS LS 4: Biological Evolution

December 14 & 15: Animal Behavior and Training

Friday, December 14 (4:30 – 10:00 p.m.) and Saturday, December 15 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
All Grades, $175, 1 optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University)


Find out about the work done in zoos to ensure quality of life for their animal residents. Meet staff who help encourage natural behaviors and the craftspeople who create animal “toys” and environments. From the Dolphin Experience to training predators to show their teeth on command, training and enrichment programs improve animal husbandry and the environment in which animals live.

NGSS Cross Cutting Concepts: Patterns, Cause and Effect, Structure and Function, and Stability and Change.
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices: Asking questions; defining problems; developing and using models; using mathematics and computational thinking; obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.
NGSS LS4C: Adaptation
NGSS LS1A: Structure and Function


Have questions?
Contact Jennifer Noncek-Eastman at 708-688-8437 or jennifer.noncek-eastman@czs.org or Julie Wozniak at 708-688-8367 or julie.wozniak@czs.org.

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