Teacher classes


2020 Classes

Please note that due to ongoing Covid-19 developments, all teacher professional development opportunities will be offered online throughout the summer. Although the zoo may open to the public in mid-summer, in-person group sessions are not being planned. We are adapting our summer courses to best meet the needs of educators. Courses will be taught over multiple days and include larger breaks in the middle of the day for hands-on 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 this summer!

All classes offer PDH. 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.

Have you checked out our Advanced Inquiry Program Master’s degree? It’s fun and exciting, includes travel abroad, and is very affordable. Click here to check it out!

July 8-10: Climate Change

Revised: Wednesday, July 8 - Friday, July 10, 2020 (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) (Includes break and time to complete class activities from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily.) 
All grades | $140 | 15 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training. One optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 842)

Climate Change is a topic that we as educators struggle to teach as it often leaves students feeling helpless. Through the use of science and engineering practices, we will focus on the functioning of the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee’s ecosystem and examine the effect change has on the Bee population. We will also examine the changing patterns in our climate and how to apply understanding to predict the effects of Climate Change has on the species that rely on the ecosystem. We will focus on actionable solutions to address the decline of keystone species.

July 13-17: Online Collaborative Experience in NGSS Storylining!

NEW: Monday, July 13 - Friday, July 17, 2020 (9 a.m. to noon, everyday)
All grades | $280 | 35 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training. Two optional graduate credits ($200 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 815)

This course is presented by Dr. Jason Crean & Mrs. Kristin Rademaker of All Species Education Consulting

Participants will engage in understanding the process of Next Generation Science Standards (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 21-23: STEAM in Nature

Revised: Your choice: Tuesday, Wednesday, and/or Thursday, July 21-23, 2020 (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day) (Includes break and time to complete class activities from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily.) 
All grades | $50/day or $140 for all 3 days | 5 PDHs (CPDUs) per day will be provided at the end of training. If you complete all 3 days, you are eligible for one optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 838)

Take a virtual field trip around the Zoo and in your own backyard in three days! Bring nature to your classroom and explore educational resources available to complement your classroom instruction! Come to one, two, or three days of this A La Carte class! Registration per day is $50 or $140 for all three. You must attend all three for optional graduate credit. Itinerary:

7/21: Early Childhood
7/22: Elementary School
7/23: Secondary

July 29-31: Debunking Misconceptions with STEAM

Revised: Wednesday, July 29 -Friday, July 31, 2020 (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) (Includes break and time to complete class activities from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily.) 
All grades | $140 | 15 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training. One optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 839)

Presented by staff of the Illinois Digital Educators Alliance in conjunction with CZS staff
Will butterflies die if their wings are touched? Will turtles feel pain through their shell? Is respiration breathing? Where are your taste buds located? Do we only have five senses? Are water atoms expanding or changing when ice melts? Do we experience seasons because of Earth’s changing distance from the Sun–––closer in summer, farther in winter? Join us for this interactive,
 technology-focused, class where we look at common misconceptions and how to address them in an in-person or virutal classroom through STEAM!

August 4: Educator Professional Development Mini-Conference

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
All grades | $80 | 6 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training.

A new school season is upon us, and what better way to begin the year than with some great resources! Join us for our Back-to-School mini conference with a variety of 90-minute sessions delivered by CZS staff and specialists from other local organizations. These will focus on phenomena-based instruction, inquiry-based learning, engineering, differentiation, meaningful classroom conversations, accommodations for English-language learners, holistic learning, and so much more!

August 5-7: ISTE Standards in the Zoo!

Revised: Wednesday, August 5 -Friday, August 7, 2020 (10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both days) (Includes break and time to complete class activities from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. daily.) 
All grades | $140 | 15 PDHs (CPDUs) will be provided at the end of training. One optional graduate credit ($100 through Dominican University; Course number: EDU 841)

The International Society for Technology in Education or ISTE, believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education. In this class, we are applying the educator standard strands of Learner, Leader, Citizen, Collaborator, Designer, Facilitator, and Analyst to the Zoo! See how you can use technology in a variety of ways to improve your practice and to challenge your students in a fun, student-centered way!


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.

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.


Curious about carnivores? Wild about water? Interested in inquiry? Join us for our all new Adult Education series featuring a variety of topics and specialities 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 own zoo professionals and offer unique perspectives on the exhibits you already know and love. Some classes also involve exciting field trips and inspring "in-situ" learning opportunties. 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!