This week’s post comes to you from Jay Shipinski.  Jay is currently a Field Ambassador, teacher leader, and a member of the Field Museum’s teacher advisory council in addition to being a Technology Integration Specialist in East Aurora School District 131.  I am thrilled to share his post with you as there are so many resources The Field Museum has to offer you and our students!

The Chicago Field Museum of Natural History is a wonderful way for students to experience hands-on exposure to science and social studies. The Field Museum’s exhibits, from ancient cultures to learning about evolution through fossils and dinosaur skeletons, offer a variety of science and history experiences tailored to students from kindergarten through high school.  Unfortunately, schools are not always able to take a trip to Chicago for a field trip. The good news is the Field Museum offers many opportunities to use their resources without having to take an entire class field trip. The Field Museum has a learning center team devoted to learning resources, digital learning, and the Harris Learning collection to help bring the museum’s educational opportunities to your classrooms.

The Field Museum’s Harris Learning Collection is a great teacher resource many are unaware of.   In this collection, there are over 400 unique exhibit cases and 60 hands-on experience boxes eligible for checkout to enhance classroom experiences.  There are five different subscription levels ranging from $10 for one item to $100 for 40 items. Within the experience boxes, there are lesson plans and suggestions on how you might use the contents in your classroom.  On November 20th, the Field Museum released their newest on-line experience called the Dinosaur Toolkit.  This exciting free digital resource was developed to meet the Next Generation Science Standards, support English and Spanish learners grades K-8, has 3-D models and lessons to download, and an online video game that was play tested in East Aurora. Here is a link to the Field Museum’s online resources and a separate link for the Mission to the Mesozoic online game.


Mission to the Mesozoic-

The museum also offers two free professional development opportunities for educators near the beginning of each school year.  The first is, “Leaning Through Collections” and designed to promote inquiry and hands-on learning with real artifacts and specimens in the classroom.  The other is The Field Ambassadors Program. This program provides teachers with on-going professional development on the museum’s resources (exhibitions, collections, educational programs, and the Harris Learning Collection materials) and best practices in using the museum to support student learning.  After 30 hours of training, Field Ambassadors become members of the Academy who are invited to continue participating in professional development days, events, and school-wide initiatives to integrate museum initiatives. Ambassadors then become liaisons between the museum and school communities on how to use Field Museum resources in their classrooms.  Be sure to check out to see all of the great education offerings they have.

I want to again thank Mr. Jay Shippinski for sharing his knowledge with us through his writing.  If you would like to be a guest writer for “The Progress Report” please reach out to me (Katie) so we can arrange this.  We all have something we can learn or take away from one another so please consider being a guest writer, such as Jay has.  

“From dinosaurs to nanotechnology, science and natural history come alive at these museums across the continent. Vote for your favorite science museum once per day until polls close on Monday, February 17 at noon ET. The winning museums, as determined by your vote, will be announced on Friday, February 28. “

Vote – Field Museum – Best Science Museum Nominee: 2020 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards.” 10Best,

Katie Algrim – Director of Innovative Professional Learning

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