Elementary & Middle School

Cross-Curricular Programs at the Preserves:

Full-Day Field Trips

For a well-rounded education experience, schedule two programs for your class in one day. Up to two classrooms (60 students) can be accommodated. Or, you can schedule a historical program and visit the one-room schoolhouse on the same day! For example, in the morning, one class could attend a Plant Science program while the other attends a Historical Education program. Both classes eat lunch, and then switch programs in the afternoon.

Participants must bring their own sack lunches. Fees are per student per program. For example, the fee for two programs for a Champaign County school is a total of $3 per student. Time slots are limited, so please call early.

Environmental Programs at the Preserves

CCFPD offers a variety of programming topics focused on the disciplinary core ideas and cross-cutting concepts in the Next Generation Science Standards (IL. Standards for Science). They are coupled with active learning experiences modeling a number of science and engineering practices. Develop, Plan and Analyze with us! Please contact Stacey Clementz, sclementz@ccfpd.org, to discuss how to adapt our programming to fit your needs.

Aquatic Ecologist

Students will discuss how watersheds are related to water quality. Then they will test water quality using simple kits and compare results with the aquatic organisms they collect. Pre-trip review of vocabulary is essential for this program.
Mid-April - Mid-October
Grades 3-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: RI1, SL1&3

Birds of a Feather

Students will learn basic bird identification and explore their amazing adaptations. Then we'll go on a hike to find birds living in the preserves.
Year-Round
Grades K-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Branching Out With Trees

Students will broaden their knowledge about trees as they hike and learn to identify trees through distinguishing characteristics such as bark and leaf shape.
May-November
Grades K-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Frog Follies

Explore the frog and toad life cycle. Have a hoppin' good time while singing in a frog chorus and turning a classmate into a frog.
Mid-April - Mid-October
Grades K-4
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Hatchet

This program is designed to complement Hatchet, a story of a young boy's adventure in the wilderness by Gary Paulsen. Students will interpret the book through hands-on activities, including basic survival skills. Program is available only at Homer Lake Forest Preserve.
Year-Round
Grades 4-6
Program Length: 2 hours
Common Core: RI1, RL1&3, SL1&3

Illinois Mammals

Learn about Illinois mammals and how the presence of wildlife has changed since Illinois was settled. We will transform a classmate into a mammal and then search for clues left behind by area mammals.
Year-Round
Grades K-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Into Insects

Students have the opportunity to go searching for these six-legged creatures. Discover what makes an insect unique and where these creatures are hiding.
April - November
Grades K-5
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

The Nature of Winter

Take a break from being indoors and gain a new appreciation for this surprisingly active time of year. Students will explore physical and behavioral adaptations that allow local flora and fauna to survive winter, and then hike to observe these firsthand.
December - March
Grades K-5
Program Length: 1-1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Prairie Patterns

Students will explore the plants, animals and history of the Illinois prairie as we hike through the forest preserve. Watch as we turn a student into a prairie animal!
June-November
Grades K-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Remarkable Reptiles

Learn more about the anatomy and adaptations of these ancient creatures. Students get an opportunity to meet our resident reptiles.
April - October
Grades K-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Sights and Sounds of Nature

Students will hike and explore the wonders of our natural world. Students will be engaged in a variety of hands-on discovery activities using their senses.
Year-Round
Grades K-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1&3

Historical Programs at the Museum of the Grand Prairie:

Holidays Past

How did Germany influence Christmas in America? Has Santa Claus always looked the same? What do you know about Hannukah? Dabble in the history of the holidays, and make an historic holiday decoration to take home.
Grades K-8
Program Length: 1 hour 
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

Champaign County’s Lincoln

Before Lincoln became president, he was a simple country lawyer riding the Eighth Judicial Circuit through Champaign and several other Illinois counties. Using artifact discovery and hands-on activities students will learn about the life and times of Lincoln the Lawyer.
Grades 5-12
Program Length: 1 - 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

First Illinoisans

Native Americans lived in Central Illinois for thousands of years before the Euro-Americans arrived. What was life like for the first Illinoisans? How have things changed? Using authentic materials like bone needles and arrowhead drills we will use hands-on activities to teach students about the life ways of native peoples.
Grades 3-5
Program Length: 2 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

The Civil War through Illinois Eyes

Although no major Civil War battles were fought in Illinois, the war had a huge impact on our region. Learn about the effect war had on people living in Illinois and how their lives changed forever. Students will also learn what it was like to be a soldier preparing for battle, including how to march and drum like a real soldier.
Grades 3-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

Artifact Discovery

Primary sources are not just documents! Students learn to analyze the who, what, where, and why of historical artifacts by handling objects from the education collection of the Museum of the Grand Prairie.  Artifacts can be chosen to suit the period you are studying from the Revolutionary War to the 1960s. The program is available as a classroom visit.
Grades 3-8
Program Length 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

Life on the Grand Prairie

Through the examination of life at home, be it a wigwam or a cabin, students will have hands-on experiences with artifacts from the 1800s. A spinning activity and period toys are part of the fun.
Grades 3-5
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

Women's Rights from Suffrage to Today

Students will explore the Women's Movement in Champaign County and throughout the United States from the fight for suffrage to the present day. We'll explore physical artifacts, music, and visual arts as they tell the story of movement.
Grades 5-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

School House, School Days

Were all teachers once mean and strict? Were all children polite? Find out in our old-time schoolhouse! Spend a morning or afternoon traveling back in history with one of our schoolmarms or masters. This program is available September to October and April to May. This program pairs well with "Life on the Grand Prairie", "Immigration in Champaign County in the Mid-19th Century" and "The Civil War though Illinois Eyes".
Grades 2-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

Civil Rights in Champaign County and Beyond

In this field trip we'll analyze artifacts from the Civil War in our Goose Pond church exhibit - the only abolitionist church in Champaign County. We'll also examine local and national civil rights themes through a special exhibit and as expressed in work of art. Finally, we will learn about the history of the Douglass Center's Drum and Bugle Corps and we will even try our hand at bucket drumming!
Grades 5-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

Wagons Ho/Westward Expansion

Pack a wagon, write with a quill, and examine artifacts from the people who traveled the trail and Native Americans who lived on the Oregon Trail. Wherever you are on your Westward Expansion unit, this program will provide your students a better perspective.
Grades 3-8 
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4

Writing Historic Tales

Students will examine historical artifacts in order to generate story starters that they can take back to the classroom. They will compose a poem based on their favorite artifact. This field trip can be tailored to a specific time period you are studying, or it can span the wide range of times of artifacts available in our extensive education collection. This program is also available as a classroom visit. 

For an additional $2-$4, a local author will team with our educators to present your students with some of the secrets of writing historical fiction.
Grades 3-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4, SL6; and W1, W2, W3, W6, W7, W8

Immigration in Champaign County

East Central Illinois was built by immigrants. In this field trip, we examine the six cultural groups that came to East Central Illinois in the past through activities such as "packing a suitcase", examining artifacts, and exploring the Botanical Garden for plant newcomers would have utilized. This trip is offered September to October and April to May.
Grades 3-8 
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL2, SL3, SL4


Plant Science Programs at the Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden:

Botany Basics

Explore the world of botany. Learn why plants are important and study their diverse structures and adaptations. Students will participate in a learning activities followed by a planting activity.
Year-Round
Grades 3-5
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL3

Seed Safari

Students will explore plant life cycles and plant diversity, as well as experience the Botanical Garden through games, drama, hands-on activities, and, if possible, an outdoor seed hunt.
Year-Round
Grades K-2
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL3

Soil Science

Students will learn about the importance of decomposers, such as bacteria, fungi and worms. Soil types will be investigated, and then students will plant seeds in gardening soil they have mixed to take home and grow.
Year-Round
Grades 1-5
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL3

Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat

Learn about how our planet's most valuable resources are disappearing before our eyes. Students will learn about different tree species around the world and how we are connected to trees in our everyday lives.
Sept-Early November
Grades: 4-8
Program Length: 1.5 hours
Common Core: SL1, SL3