Educator Resources

When you use one of our loan kits you add a new dimension to your students’ learning. Our kits contain hands-on interactive learning experiences that supplement your curriculum. 

All Historical Resource Kits may also be brought into the classroom for a presentation by one of our educators. Scout troop, 4-H, Sunday School, even PTA meetings can benefit from a visit from our educators with one of these kits!


If you do not see a kit that fits your specific needs we can work with you to create your own customized kit. 


To reserve any of our loan materials, call or email the location at which they are housed as listed in the description.

 

Homer Lake Interpretive Center

Stacey Clementz: (217) 896-2455, sclementz@ccfpd.org

Museum of the Grand Prairie

Katie Snyder: (217) 586-2612, ksnyder@ccfpd.org

Environmental Resources

Aquatic Invasive Species Kit

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

The Champaign County Forest Preserve District with assistance from the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant developed this loan box to make learning about aquatic invasives more hands-on and interactive. The box contains aquatic invasive specimens, activities, and information on Illinois invasive species. This loan box is appropriate for ages 12 to adults.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Bird Adaptation Loan Kit

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Birds have different types of beaks, eggs, and feet to adapt to their unique lifestyles. Our loan kit includes replicas of bird skulls, eggs, and tracks, as well as hands-on activities. Provided in partnership with the Champaign County Audubon Society.

$25 refundable deposit required.

 

Discovery Backpacks

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Discovery Backpacks will provide you with assistance on the trails. Each pack contains activities to complete along the trail as well as educational equipment (binoculars, pond dipping tools, identification books, magnifiers, and more!) This backpack is appropriate for all ages.

$75 refundable deposit required.

 

Field Trip Pack (IDNR)

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake
Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

The Field Trip Pack includes many items to assist your children as they explore nature. Hands on equipment includes field guides, dip nets, compasses, trowels, and a whole lot more which will encourage self-initiated learning. This backpack is appropriate for ages 3 and up.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Fishing Poles: IDNR Illinois Access to Fishing

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Borrow a rod and reel from the Homer Lake Interpretive Center for FREE! Tackle packets are yours to keep. Poles can be borrowed any day the Interpretive Center is open and must be returned before closing time. Each loan requires the deposit of a current driver’s license or state ID. Ages 17 and up must also show a valid fishing license at the time of check-out; kids age 16 and under are not required to have a fishing license.

 

GPS Units

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

GPS units are available to enhance your hiking experience as you search for geocaches; track the distance, speed, and route of your hike; or learn about unique locations at Homer Lake. Staff is available at the Interpretive Center to provide a simple tutorial that will have you out hiking in no time! Borrowing a GPS unit is FREE; a valid credit card or personal check is required.

 

Illinois Amphibians and Reptiles Field Pack (IDNR)

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Amphibians and reptiles are fascinating creatures! This pack has been developed to help you learn about and observe these animals in their natural environment. Binoculars, magnifying glasses, field guides, observation equipment, a headlamp, frog call recordings, and many other hands-on items are included in the pack.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Insect Backpacks

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods, District Headquarters, Lake of the Woods (contact Museum) Do you want to look for insects but don’t know how or don’t have the tools? Come out to the forest preserves and borrow an Insect Backpack! Each backpack contains a how-to guide, insect nets, bug boxes, insect guides, and much more. This backpack is appropriate for all ages.

$15 refundable deposit required.

 

Water Quality Kit

Homer Lake Interpretive Center, Homer Lake

Explore the health and life of our local waters. This box contains equipment to test and measure the temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, and nitrogen of the water. Also included are pond dipping nets to investigate the macroinvertebrates of the water, and a binder with indoor and outdoor activities. This loan box is appropriate for ages 10 to adults.

$10 fee plus a $15 refundable deposit required.

 

Historical Resources

New! Civil Rights Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Do your students know about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks? Are you looking for fun and educational ways to take their exploration of civil rights to the next level? In this loan kit, you will find picture books about sung and unsung heroes and events in the Civil Rights Movement both in Champaign County and in the United States, and throughout the world. 

Also included are local photos that document the fight for civil rights locally, more than 50 primary source documents from the 2008 election of our nation’s first black President, and primary source photos in poster form. The posters depict the American Civil Rights struggle from the late 1800s to the 1960s. (Interested in studying women’s rights? See the Women’s Rights Loan Kit below.)


Gone for a Soldier Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

This kit includes some of the personal belongings of a Union soldier in the Civil War, excerpts from letters of Champaign County soldiers, and our Champaign County During the Civil War and Champaign County’s Lincoln DVDs.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

History from the Heart Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

This outreach kit is based on the publication of the Illinois Quilt Research Project, History from the Heart: Quilt Paths Across Illinois. It includes a copy of the book, study questions, suggested activities, quilt blocks, and story books.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

Illiniwek Discovery Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Touch a brain tanned hide and a bison bone, learn what wampum is, and more! This Discovery Kit focuses on the history and culture of Native Americans who once lived throughout Central Illinois. Information on the Kaskaskia, Peoria, Cahokia, Mascouten, and other members of the Illiniwek Confederation from 1650 to 1800 is included, along with complete lesson plans, maps, a variety of hands-on materials, and Illiniwek languages tapes.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

The Illinois Country Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

In this traveling discovery kit, students we explore the Illinois Country fur trade. This kit includes literature about the interactions between the French and Native Americans in the 18th century, along with actual furs, reproductions of trade goods, and suggested activities.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

Life on the Grand Prairie Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Looking for a fun way to integrate reading, science, the arts and social studies? In this new kit you will find several prairie picture books, animal skins, wool carding tools, costumes, and toys! You will also receive links to web quests about the prairie, interactive prairie games and links to websites for further research. Check this loan kit out and watch your prairie project soar!


Lights, Camera, Action! Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Use a stereoscope! Make a phantasmascope! Learn to distinguish between a daguerreotype and a cabinet card. Hands-on reproductions of different types of photographs as well as persistence of motion devices are included. Storybooks and activities included.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

People and Animals from Illinois’ Past Kit (IDNR)

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Prehistoric mammals, extirpated mammals, and Native Americans and their relationship with nature are all topics you can teach about by using the items in this resource trunk. Targeted grades are PreK-6. Contents include: mammoth and mastodon tooth replicas, species replicas, Native American games, activities, mammoth hair, posters, replica pottery, video, reference books, and natural items used by Native Americans.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

The 1950’s Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Specifically developed for middle and high school use, this kit is about life in Champaign County in the 1950’s is packaged in an authentic Civil Defense barrel! It contains men’s and women’s clothing from the era: fedoras, gloves, and even nylons. Also included are a high school yearbook, popular magazines and books, and DVD/CDs with clips of popular music and early television shows.

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

Women’s Rights Loan Kit

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

Looking for a new way to explore Women’s History Month in March? Would you like to expand your Civil Rights unit to include Women’s Rights? In this loan kit you will find ideas to explore the Woman’s Rights Movement from the early 20th century to today. Included are books, primary source documents and lessons to enrich your curriculum!

$50 refundable deposit required.

 

Publications

Challenges, Choices, & Changes for Champaign County

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

This handbook covers local history from 1850 to 1870. Sections on general county history, the railroad, African-American history, political campaigns, and Champaign County’s involvement in the Civil War are all part of the binder. Although these materials are geared toward secondary students, teachers of younger students will likely find portions of them useful.

 

Champaign County’s Lincoln – Instructional DVD

Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods

A 30-minute DVD detailing the legal career, political life, and social connections Abraham Lincoln had in Champaign County, produced by the Museum of the Grand Prairie in 2008 with funds from the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Created in four segments, it can be used in its entirety or in parts as desired for instructional purpose. A limited number of DVDs are available, free of charge, upon request.

Self-Guided Trail Brochures

Be your own guide! We invite you to explore nature at your convenience with a new series of brochures that will help you experience some of our preserves’ most popular trails. These brochures include detailed trail maps, photos, and information about the flora and fauna that await you on the trail!

Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve: 

Homer Lake Forest Preserve:

Pre- and Post-Field Trip Information