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School Programs


Virtual Field Trips

Educators are working on curriculum support for teachers. These resources help teachers with their classroom’s e-learning, supporting topics they had chosen as their field trips. History and nature virtual field trips are available, if interested in booking any of these virtual field trips below or learning more please email

Each program runs 30–45 minutes and supports Illinois Learning Standards.

Program Pricing Resident Nonresident
First Classroom $30 $60
Each additional classroom attending the same program on the same date $20 $30
Gateways Grant Eligible Schools    
First Classroom $20 N/A
Each additional classroom attending the same program on the same date  $10 N/A


Begin your registration process today


Animal Adaptations (Grades 3–8)
Learn how adaptations help animals survive in their habitats during this virtual field trip. Through the use of animal skins and other biofacts, students will understand the difference between physical and behavioral adaptations of some of our Illinois backyard residents. They will then become scientists and identify the adaptations of a live animal visitor.

Birds (Grades K–8)
What makes a bird a bird? Through the use of natural artifacts, study skins and a visit with a live bird, we introduce your students to the unique characteristics and adaptations of birds with a focus on local birds of prey. 

Geology of Illinois (Grades 4–8)
Geologic “time” is relative and usually beyond human experience, but relative dating of rocks and fossils is an essential technique for a geologist. Students develop a timeline of significant events in Earth’s history, and identify rock and fossil samples to determine geological time. 

Going Green (Grades 7–12)
The Welcome Center at Ryerson Woods is a living exhibit on how  sustainable technology and use of resources are used to balance the needs of people and nature. Discover the sustainable strategies and technologies utilized in design and construction during this virtual presentation.

Lake Ecology (Grades 6–12)
Students will observe chemical tests and learn why we test for these factors. They will then analyze the data to see if different animals can live at the lake based on these abiotic factors. 

Lake Ecology: Biotic Factors with pond animals (Grades 6–12) 
Students will look at Macroinvertebrates caught from the Lake at Independence Grove and ID them. They will then evaluate the data to see if the lake is healthy based on biotic factors.

Lake Ecology: Watersheds (Grades 6–12)
Students will observe a demonstration of our Enviroscape model and learn how the use around a watershed can affect the water body itself.

Maple Syrup (Grades K–5)–March only
Students learn how trees turn water, the sun's energy, and air into sap, and the sweet "science" behind turning that sap into real maple syrup.

Plant Life Cycles (Grades 1–2)
Through the study of the plant life cycle, students learn the important ways plants and animals rely on each other.  Seeds and animal study skins are used to introduce plant needs, pollination and seed dispersal.

Reptiles and Amphibians (Ages 3–Grade 6)
Students compare and contrast reptiles and amphibians as they get a close-up look at live, local animals to discover how specialized body parts and behaviors help our “herps” survive.

Web of Life (Grades 3–6)
Students discover the interdependent relationships between plants and animals and the flow of energy through ecosystems as we work together to build a virtual food web using pelts, skulls and artifacts.


Dinosaurs (Ages 4–Grade 5)
Students will learn about the work of paleontologists, examine fossil casts, and discover the dinosaurs that lived in Lake County.

Early Settlers (Ages 4–Grade 5)
Explore the daily lives of early settlers through object-based inquiry. Students will learn about the importance of school, work, and community. We’ll also take a look at what early settlers did for fun.

The Ice Age (Ages 4–Grade 5)
Examine fossil casts and artifacts to find out more about the animals and people that lived in our area during the last Ice Age.

Potawatomi Lifeways (Ages 4–Grade 5)
Using artifacts and other primary sources, students learn about the daily life of the Potawatomi. We’ll look at Potawatomi food, clothing, shelter and more.

Lake County: Past to Present (Grades 3–5)
Explore the development of Lake County through time by examining artifacts that illustrate the area’s history.

Civil War Technology (Grades 5–8)
Learn about the impact of technological advances during the Civil War. We’ll examine the use of military reconnaissance balloons, the Gatling gun and the Hunley submarine. 

View the list of Illinois Science Standards covered by our programs

Teacher Open House

Attend a spring or fall Teacher Open House to learn about programs and resources for your class, and take part in teacher training sessions with Museum and Environmental education staff. Up to two CPDUs available. Check our calendar for dates or sign up for our educator email list.

Ask An Educator

Are you teaching a unit on threatened and endangered species and want to feature local examples? Does your class have questions about pioneer settlers in Lake County? We can help.

Submit questions about Lake County’s natural and human history to and we will respond to your inquiry.

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