School Programs at a Forest Preserve

Grades 4 & 5

Visit a DuPage forest preserve with your students where they will learn about natural sciences and DuPage County's cultural history. These programs are designed to meet national learning standards, including Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

Program reservations for the 2021 – 2022 academic year are now open. We offer programs throughout the academic year (Sept. 1 through June 1), and most are available Monday through Friday.

The Forest Preserve District is committed to making its programs available to all groups. Please mention any accessibility needs or concerns when you reserve your program.

View the available guided school programs and descriptions below. Then, click the green button to complete and submit a program request form.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school programs at forest preserves have been modified to align with the state’s health guidelines. All program participants are expected to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. Social distancing of 6 feet should be practiced by all program participants. Please mention any accessibility needs or concerns when registering for a program.

Guided School Programs

Guided school programs require a three-week advance reservation and have a minimal per-student fee.

Request a Guided School Program

Down on the Farm - No longer taking reservations

Down on the Farm - No longer taking reservations

Students take a hayride o the Danada Model Farm to investigate firsthand the staple crops and farming methods of the 1940's - 1960's, and life as a pioneer on the prairie. Students may also meet horses at the Danada Equestrian Center's Kentucky Barn. This endowed program has no associated fees thanks to the generous support of the Friends of Danada. Bus subsidies are available for Title I schools. Three-hour guided tour for 10 - 60 students.

September 1 - October 1
Monday - Friday
Danada Equestrian Center & Danada Model Farm in Wheaton

Geocaching Adventure

Students learn about Global Positioning Systems and how they work while using a GPS unit to find waypoints and a hidden treasure. Ninety-minute interactive program for 10 - 30 students. $10 per student.

Academic year
Monday - Friday
Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook,  St. James Farm in Warrenville, or Waterfall Glen in Darien.

Standards Explored

Common Core:

  • SL.4.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL4.3 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL5.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL.5.3 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration

NGSS:

  • 4-PS4-3 Waves and their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer

 

Get Outside: Outdoor Education Day

Get Outside: Outdoor Education Day

Students explore a variety of nature content while rotating between stations and activities. Teachers pre-select the activities fom the list below. Four-hour interactive program for 50 - 120 students. $10 per student.

Academic year
Monday - Friday
Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook or St. James Farm in Warrenville.

Activities to choose from include: bird banding, bird watching, fish ID & dichotomous keys, food chains & food webs, geocaching, guided nature hike, habitat restoration, insect investigation, nature art, nature engineers, plant powers, rocks & minerals, team challenge, tracking, and tree ID.

Standards Explored

Will vary based on activities selected.

Life on the Farm

Life on the Farm

Students explore Kline Creek Farm while reinforcing many of the concepts they are learning in the classroom with topics ranging from the energy used on an 1890s farm to how plants grow and reproduce. Tours of the animals will explore how nutrients from plants feed animals and how manure is used to fertilize plants. Students will learn about the business of farming, farming innovations and how farming has moved in and then out of DuPage County. Ninety-minute guided tour for 10 - 30 students. $5 per student.

Academic year
Monday, Thursday & Friday
Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago

Standards Explored
Common Core:

ELA/Literacy

  • SL.4.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL.5.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration

Social Studies

  • SS.G.3.4 Geography: Human Population: Spatial Patterns and Movements
  • SS.EC. 2.4 Economics and Financial Literacy: Exchange and Markets
  • SS.H.1.4 History: Perspectives
  • SS.G.1.5 Geography: Human-Environment Interaction: Place, Regions, and Culture
  • SS.G.2.5 Geography: Human Population: Spatial Patterns and Movements
  • SS.G.3.5 Geography: Human Population: Spatial Patterns and Movements
  • SS.H.1.5 History: Change, Continuity, and Context

NGSS:

  • 4-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • 4-ESS2-1 Earth’s Systems
  • 4-ESS3-1 Earth and Human Activity
  • 5-ESS3-1 Earth and Human Activity
  • 5-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • 5-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • 5-PS3-1 Matter and Its Interactions

Pre-Activity Sheets:

Suggested Reading List (PDF)
Crossword Puzzle (PDF)
Vocabulary List (PDF)

Nature Hike

Nature Hike

Students’ increase their awareness of nature and interest in the natural world through observational skills, emphasizing the idea of connected groups and plant communities within an ecosystem. One-hour guided tour for 10 - 30 students. $5 per student.

Academic year
Monday – Friday

Take a guided nature hike at one of the preserves listed below. Each of these preserves includes school-group friendly amenities including bus parking, picnic areas and public restrooms. If you plan to eat lunch onsite and/or require a picnic shelter reservation, please indicate this on your program request form.

Preserve

Town

Acres

Shelters

Trails (miles)

Blackwell

Warrenville/West Chicago

1387

5

9

Churchill Woods

Glen Ellyn

265

3

2

Danada

Wheaton

825

0

6

Dunham

Wayne

374

0

1

Fullersburg Woods

Oak Brook

226

1

4

Greene Valley

Woodridge

1414

2

14

Herrick Lake

Wheaton

896

4

7

Hidden Lake

Downer's Grove

393

1

2

James ‘Pate’ Philip State Park

Bartlett

501

1

4

Mallard Lake

Hanover Park

953

1

4

Maple Grove

Downer's Grove

82

0

1

Mayslake (Peabody Estate)

Oak Brook

90

0

1

McDowell Grove

Naperville

465

2

7

Pratt's Wayne Woods

Bartlett/Wayne

3474

1

8

Salt Creek Park

Wood Dale

93

1

1

Springbrook Prairie

Naperville

1829

1

9

Timber Ridge (West)

West Chicago

1163

0

2

Waterfall Glen

Darien

2492

1

12

West Branch

Bartlett

725

0

3

West DuPage Woods

West Chicago

462

0

4

Wood Dale Grove

Wood Dale

185

2

1

 

Standards Explored (May vary by season)
Common Core:

ELA/Literacy

  • SL.4.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL.5.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration

NGSS:

  • 4-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • 5-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Loan Box Links:

Field Trip Pack

Operation Restoration

Operation Restoration

Students discover the importance of biodiversity and the factors that negatively impact ecosystem health before participating in a project to restore a habitat. Ninety-minute interactive program for 10 - 30 students. $10 per student.

Academic year
Monday - Friday
Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center in Oak Brook or St. James Farm in Warrenville.

Standards Explored

Common Core:

  • SL.4.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL4.3 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL5.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL.5.3 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration

NGSS:

  • 4-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
  • 5-ESS3-1 Earth and Human Activity

USRC Tour: Saving Aquatic Organisms

USRC Tour: Saving Aquatic Organisms

Students explore the Urban Stream Research Center while learning about freshwater mussels and a federally endangered insect species. Dive in to discussions about habitat loss and visit a local river where habitats have been improved. Ninety-minute guided tour for 10 - 30 students. $5 per student.

November 4th & 18th
Thursday
Urban Stream Reserach Center, Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville

Standards Explored

Common Core:

  • SL.4.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL4.3 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL5.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL.5.3 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration

NGSS:

  • LS1.A Structure and Function
  • LS1.B Growth and Development of Organisms
  • LS1.D Information Processing
  • LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, functioning, and resilience
  • LS4.C Adaptation
  • LS4.D Biodiversity and Humans
  • ESS3.C Human Impacts on Earth Systems 

Loan Box Links:

Aquatic Illinois

Illinois' Invasive Species

Wildlife Exhibit Hike

Wildlife Exhibit Hike

A Willowbrook interpreter takes students on a guided tour of the outdoor wildlife exhibits and discusses the natural history of local wildlife as well as the individual stories of the animals living at the center. Willowbrook’s mission as a center will be discussed as well as an overview of how the animals are cared for both in the rehabilitation center and as permanent residents. One-hour guided tour for 10 - 30 students. $5 per student. At this time, all Willowbrook indoor facilities are closed to the public.

Academic year
Monday – Friday
Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn

Standards Explored
Common Core:

ELA/Literacy

  • SL.4.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration
  • SL.5.1 Speaking and Listening: Comprehension and Collaboration

NGSS:

  • 4-LS1-1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

Loan Box Links:

Illinois' Birds
Illinois' Wild Mammals
Owls

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