Inquiry and PBL Opportunities

Inquiry and Problem-Based Learning Opportunities

Our team of experts support teachers with inquiry opportunities by providing know-how and resources such as phenomenon experiences and videos. Our team of experts can also support your students through a PBL opportunity designed to solve a real-world challenge that asks students to perform research, make informed decisions and evaluate their fellow peers' projects. Meet in-person or through virtual visits with an expert.

Project-Based Learning Opportunities

The Forest Preserve District offers project-based learning opportunities that offer hands-on learning in natural sciences both in the classroom and the field. Project-based learning programs are structured to meet science learning standards through an extended curriculum that includes real-world science and in-person or virtual visits from an expert. 

View the available project-based learning opportunities and descriptions below. Then, click the green button to request a PBL opportunity.

Request a PBL

Blanding's Turtle Recovery

Blanding's Turtle Recovery

Partner with a Forest Preserve District wildlife ecologist and naturalists to determine the suitability of a potential forest preserve site to release state-endangered Blanding’s turtles in a program specially geared towards junior and senior high-school AP environmental science or biology students. A naturalist will visit your classroom to provide insight about the Blanding’s turtle's natural history, factors that contribute to its decline and District-led recovery efforts.

Then, visit a DuPage forest preserve in September or October to complete field work and collect a variety of data to support a claim about the suitability of releasing Blanding’s turtles at that site. Students will present their conclusions to a panel of experts and discuss their findings. For 30 - 60 students. $10 per student. A minimum program fee of $300.

Standards Explored

  • HS-LS2-7 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • HS-LS2-8 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
  • HS-LS4-5 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Ask an Expert

A Forest Preserve District expert will meet your students to explore your questions. Ask an Expert requests require a three-week advance reservation and have no fee.

View the available areas of expertise and descriptions below. Then, click the green button to request a virtual expert visit. Do you have a topic that requires expert advice but don't see it here? Note it on the request form!

Request an Expert Visit

Aquatic Invasive Species

Which aquatic invasive species threaten DuPage County's waterways? How can we slow or prevent their spread?

Climate Change

How does climate change affect different organisms? How can we use data to reduce our personal impact on the environment? 

Endangered & Threatened Species

Which species in DuPage County are endangered and what leads to an organism gaining the endangered status? How can we help restore the populations of local endangered species?

Farm Heritage

Why was DuPage County such a popular location for people to farm? Why are there so few farms remaining in DuPage County?


Why is DuPage County's landscape shaped the way it is? What are the consequences of human impacts on the land? How does erosion affect ecosystems?

Habitat Restoration

How do we know if an ecosystem is healthy? Why is fire so important in keeping DuPage County's ecosystems healthy? How do we restore a habitat and how may it be similar or different to the pre-existing habitat?


How and why do honeybees make honey? How do honeybees organize duties in the hive? Why are honeybees facing declines in population? How can my community help honeybees?

Invasive Species

Which invasive species threaten DuPage County's ecosystems? Why are invasive species so successful at spreading in a new place? How can we slow or prevent their spread?

Issues Facing Aquatic Wildlife

How can we help aquatic wildlife? How have humans both positively and negatively impacted aquatic wildlife through their actions? Why are some aquatic animals thriving while others are showing population declines?

Issues Facing Local Wildlife

How can we help wildlife? How have humans both positively and negatively impacted wildlife through their actions? Why are some animals thriving in our neighborhoods while others are showing population declines?

Mammoths & Mastodons

How do we know that mammoths and mastodons once lived in DuPage County? Why are these giant elephants no longer alive today? 

Maple Syrup

How is maple syrup produced? Why is maple syrup only made in late winter and early spring, in DuPage County? How does sap become syrup through chemistry?

Native Plants

Why are native plants so important and what types of organisms do they support? Why are certain native plants successful in certain ecosystems but not others?

Outdoor Careers

How do I know if an outdoor career is right for me? What types of experience, education and interests does someone need to get into an outdoor career?


Why are pollinators so important and what impacts are negatively affecting pollinator populations? How can we help pollinators?


How are streams, rivers and lakes formed? Why is water quality so important to so many species of aquatic organisms? How can we help to improve water quality?

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