Teacher classes


Teacher Classes

Important information about teacher classes during Covid-19: Please note that due to ongoing Covid-19 developments, all teacher professional development opportunities will be offered online. Although the zoo may open to the public, in-person group sessions are not being planned. We are continually adapting our courses to best meet the needs of educators. Courses may be taught over multiple days and include larger breaks in the middle of the day for hands-on asynchronous learning experiences. All courses will be taught with the knowledge that the activities being shared can be used remotely with students or in-person when schools reopen. Along with the content of the course, we will also highlight tools and techniques to assist in remote learning. Our philosophy is still focused on student-centered learning, even if virtual! Below, please find an updated schedule of our courses and we hope to “see” you soon!

All classes offer PDHs. 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. See below for more details and how to qualify for graduate credit.

Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Student-Centered Remote Learning

October 17
9 a.m. to 12 noon

All grades | $40 | 3 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training.

Online learning isn’t easy. What you do in the classroom cannot just be “put online” as it requires a completely different skill set. Join us as we look at a few tools, tips, and tricks for making online learning student-centered and the approaches you can use to keep learning engaging and fun.



November 3, 10, 17, and/or 24
4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

All grades | $25 per class or $80 when you sign up for all four classes| 6 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided if you complete all four classes.

November 3: Student Choice and Voice
November 10: STEM, STEAM, and STREAM
November 17: The 4 C's
November 24: Reflection on Classroom Practices

Looking for graduate credit? An optional asynchronous activity package is available for $50 more and provides you with approximately nine hours of asynchronous activities between classes. These activities, when paired with all four classes, allows you to earn 1 graduate credit from Dominican University (additional $100 payable to Dominican). You must sign up for all four Teacher Tuesdays and complete the asynchronous activities in order to qualify for the graduate credit. 

Storylining: Developing and Using Models

October 28
4:30 to 6 p.m.

All grades | $25 | 1 PDH (CPDU) will be provided at the end of training.

Teaching Science using Storylines enhances curriculum and allows for interdisciplinary, 3-dimensional learning. In this course we will focus on how developing and using models is an essential component for both teacher and student.

Teaching Holistically: Addressing the Social-Emotional Needs of Your Student

November 21
9 a.m. to 12 noon

All grades | $40 | 3 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training.

Do you struggle with the switch from classroom teaching to remote learning? Have you found that students don’t seem to be progressing the way you would like and are missing the connections you were able to build in-person? Learn how to address issues like these across 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 at the zoo, and the larger world through emotion management and empathy.

Aligning Cookbook Labs to NGSS & Inquiry

December 9
4:30 to 6 p.m.

All grades | $25| 1 PDH (CPDU) will be provided at the end of training.

Think like teacher and student in this workshop. Practical tips to incorporate existing labs will be provided to increase alignment with NGSS and inquiry. Engage in a lab from the student perspective and in various parts of the lab process to identify techniques that increase student investment in their learning.

Providing Choice in the NGSS Aligned Classroom

December 2
4:30 to 6 p.m.

All grades | $25| 1 PDH (CPDU) will be provided at the end of training.

Allowing for student choice in assignments can increase engagement and excitement over learning. In this course, we will look at ways to not only provide choice but to break down the walls of your classroom to engage with teachers and students across the globe.

Using Phenomena in Online Learning

December 12
9 a.m. to 12 noon

All grades | $40 | 3 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training.

The point of using phenomena to drive instruction is to help students engage in practices to develop the knowledge necessary to explain or predict the phenomena. It doesn’t need to be phenomenal to be a phenomena! Experience how to utilize phenomena in the remote classroom that will keep your students asking questions and identifying problems as they try to construct meaning.

Graduate Credit Available!

If you sign up for all three of these fall classes:

✔ Tips, Tricks, and Tools 
✔ Teaching Holistically 
✔ Using Phenomena in Online Learning 

you will be eligible for one optional graduate credit from Dominican University.​
Fee for graduate credit is $100 payable upon completion of your third class.


Amping up Amplify


December 17
4:30 to 6 p.m.

All grades | $25| 1 PDH (CPDU) will be provided at the end of training.

Many school districts have recently adopted the Amplify science curriculum that is aligned to The Next Generation Science Standards. During the training, work within grade bands to learn about ways this curriculum can come to life. We will demonstrate hands-on activities which complement the content. Please bring your amplify curriculum to this training.

Looking for other professional development opportunities or topics?

We would love to work with you to create a customized experience for your school or district. We can offer ongoing mentorship, customized programming and content, and classroom support for you and your colleagues. 


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

Teacher classes are proudly supported by: 

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 25% 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. 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.

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.


Curious about carnivores? Wild about water? Interested in inquiry? Join us for our all-new Adult Education series featuring a variety of topics and specialties designed to inspire and engage. These multi-day classes feature industry professionals and hands-on learning. Some classes take place right here at Brookfield Zoo and feature presentations by our zoo professionals and offer unique perspectives on the exhibits you already know and love. Some classes also involve exciting field trips and inspiring "in-situ" learning opportunities. If you are a teacher, you can even earn Professional Development Clock Hours (PDCHs) from these courses. Click on the name of each course below to learn more about each of these exciting series. 


The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a conservation-focused, inquiry-driven learning experience that combines web-based graduate courses through Miami University with exciting face-to-face experiential and field study at Brookfield Zoo. Students in this national degree program contribute to social and ecological change in their communities. The opportunity to earn credits from international travel is another exciting part of the program. And the best news of all – it’s affordable!