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Field trips: 6th-8th grade

Make outdoor science fun and engaging on a field trip through The Morton Arboretum. Guided and self-guided programs listed are for grades 6th-8th and are designed for student’s age 11 and up.  Details concerning fees and other information are listed below.

*Registration for Spring 2017 opens on January 2nd 2017 

 

Guided Programs


Plant Structural Adaptations

1.5 hours | 200 students maximum
Explore the structural adaptations of plants that help them survive in different ecosystems. Use scientific instruments to examine in-depth how abiotic factors influence the life cycles and characteristics of plants. Compare and contrast plants in two ecosystems to determine similarities and differences in how plants adapt seed, root and leaf structures in each habitat. For a full-day experience, add a lab to this program.

Teacher resources:
PDF iconPlant Structural Adaptations Vocabulary
PDF iconPlant Structural Adaptations - vocabulary and crossword

This program emphasizes the following NGSS Standard:

  • MS-LS2-1: Ecosystem resources and their influence on organism populations.
  • MS-LS2-2: Patterns of interactions between organisms across ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-4: Physical and biological changes and its impact on organisms’ populations

This program emphasizes the following Illinois Learning Standards:
11A-3a: Formulating Hypotheses
11A-3c: Data Collection and Recording
12B-3a: Biotic and Abiotic Factors
12B-3b: Adaptations and Survival

 

Woodland Ecosystem Study

1.5 hours | 200 students maximum
Uncover the inner workings of the woodland. Learn how this seemingly static environment is ever changing. Explore the layers of the forest and discover the interdependence of the plants and animals that live there. Take a closer look at tree parts, investigate the life cycle of a tree from seed to soil and identify some common Illinois trees. It is recommended that students learn the vocabulary for this program before attending the field trip.

Teacher resources:
PDF iconWoodland Ecosystem Study - vocabulary definitions
PDF iconWoodland - crossword 1
PDF iconWoodland - crossword 2
PDF iconWoodland Vocabulary Game.pdf

 

This program emphasizes the following NGSS Standards:

  • MS-LS2-1: Ecosystem resources and their influence on organism populations.
  • MS-LS2-3: Flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS1-6: Role of photosynthesis.
  • MS-LS2-4: Physical and biological changes and its impact on organisms’ populations

This program emphasizes the following Illinois Learning Standards:
11A-3f: Interpret results of analysis
12A-3c: Forms and structures reflect different functions
12B-3a: Identify and classify biotic and abiotic factors in an environment
12B-3b: Compare and assess features of organisms

 

 

Restoration Stewards

1.5 hours (or 3 hours with a lunch break) | 60 students maximum
Help us with natural areas management and conservation work here at The Morton Arboretum. Education guides will lead your group of students as they do an educational service project in restoration. This is a great opportunity for Ecology Clubs! Activities can include pulling invasive plants, collecting seeds, hiking off the trail and in heavily vegetated areas, and more. Students learn about ecological restoration while doing restoration!

Teacher resources:
PDF iconRestoration Stewards -vocabulary
PDF iconRestoration Stewards - crossword

 

Leave No Child Inside

1.5 hours | 200 students maximum
A growing body of research is telling us that unstructured time spent outdoors in nature is critical to children's physical, social, and emotional development. Such outdoor experiences can foster creativity, emotional well-being, independent learning, and problem solving. The beauty of the Arboretum changes daily, and your students will have an opportunity to explore whatever is most interesting on the day of your visit. One of our guides will be on hand to answer questions and guide students to exciting questions and observations, but the focus is on free exploration of nature.

This program is not meant to address any specific Illinois Learning Standards.

Teacher resources:
PDF iconLeave No Child Inside - vocabulary
PDF iconLeave No Child Inside 6th-8th - crossword

 

Full Day Options

To register for a full-day program, please contact the Coordinator of School Programs, Kerry Steele, at 630-725-2118 or ksteele@mortonarb.org.  Morning sessions are typically from 9:30-11 am and afternoon sessions are typically from 11:45 am-1:15 pm.

 

Eco-Comparison Field Study (6th  - 8th grade)

3 hours (1.5 hour woodland / prairie field session and a 1.5 hour wetland field session with lunch in between) | 200 students maximum
Spend a full day outdoors in the woodland, prairie and aquatic ecosystems comparing and contrasting the plants and animals found in each ecosystem. Formulate hypotheses and then use scientific instruments to measure a variety of abiotic factors (temperature, wind, light and water quality) to determine why different plants and animals are found in each ecosystem. Work as a team to collect, compare and analyze data.

Teacher resources:
PDF iconEco-Comparison - vocabulary
PDF iconEco-Comparison - crossword
PDF iconEco Comp Vocabulary Game.pdf

This lab emphasizes the following NGSS Standards:

  • MS-LS1-6: Role of photosynthesis.
  • MS-LS2-1: Ecosystem resources and their influence on organism populations.
  • MS-LS2-2: Patterns of interactions between organisms across ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-3: Flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4: Physical and biological changes and its impact on organisms’ populations

 

This program emphasizes the following Illinois Learning Standards:
11A-3a: Formulating Hypotheses
11A-3c: Data Collection and Recording
12B-3a: Biotic and Abiotic Factors

 

Aquatic Ecosystem Full Day Program

Grades 6-8 I 150 students maximum

Explore one of The Morton Arboretum’s most unique and diverse ecosystems. In this full day field and lab program, students collect and interpret data to determine ecosystem health. Students will “dig deep” into soil sample analysis and water chemistry testing to interpret the abiotic factors of this ecosystem. In the lab, students will examine macro-invertebrates (water bugs), and aquatic vegetation up-close using our iPad microscopes. Data in the lab is collected using Google Drive and shared with the school after the trip, for further analysis.

Capacity for this program is limited. If you are interested in this program- contact Meghan Wiesbrock (mwiesbrock@mortonarb.org) for more details.

 

This program emphasizes the following NGSS Standard(s):

  • MS-LS1-1:Organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

  • MS-LS2-5:Maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.

  • MS-LS2-3: Flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.

 

Plant Structural Adaptations with Lab - Newly Improved!

3 hours (1.5 field hours and 1.5 lab hours with lunch in between) | 180 students maximum
Enhance your experience at the Arboretum by spending the entire day with us. Students participate in the field Plant Structural Adaptations program for half of the day, and use microscopes the other half of the day in the lab to explore the adaptations of plants from different ecosystems.

This lab emphasizes the following NGSS Standards:

  • MS-LS2-1: Ecosystem resources and their influence on organism populations.
  • MS-LS2-2: Patterns of interactions between organisms across ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-4: Physical and biological changes and its impact on organisms’ populations

This lab emphasizes the following additional Illinois Learning Standards:
12A-3c: Plant Forms and Structures
12B-3b: Adaptations and Survival

PDF iconPlant Structural Adaptations Lab - vocabulary
PDF iconPlant Structural Adaptations Lab - story activity
PDF iconPlant Structural Adaptations Lab - fill-in-the-blank activity
PDF iconPlant Structraul Adaptions Lab - post activity

 

Botany Lab

3 hours (1.5 hours in a field program and 1.5 hours in the lab with lunch in between) 180 student maximum 
Enhance your experience at the Arboretum by combining Plant Structural Adaptations, Woodland Ecosystem Study, Prairie Ecosystem Study or Restoration Stewards with our new Botany Lab. Students will gain a deeper understanding of plant anatomy through the examination and dissection of seeds, flowers, roots and leaves.

 

This lab emphasizes the following NGSS Standard:

4-LS1-1: Plant and animal structures that support survival, growth, behavior and reproduction. 

This lab emphasizes the following Illinois Learning Standards:
11A-3c: Collect and record data
12A-3c: Plant Forms and Structures
12B-3b: Adaptations and Survival

Teacher resources:
PDF iconBotany Lab - vocabulary
PDF iconBotany Lab - crossword

 

Tree Lab

3 hours / 150 student maximum 

Enhance your student’s field trip experience with an up-close examination of the woodland’s largest producer, Trees. This lab program can be paired with either Woodland Ecosystem, Energized Ecosystems, or Cycles and Solutions. Students will uncover a tree’s anatomy and unique adaptations. In addition they will identify the environmental stresses and pressures that these unique and powerful producers overcome to survive. This lab utilizes iPad microscopes and has a capacity of 80 students.  

 

This lab emphasizes the following NGSS Standards:

  • 4-LS1-1: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal or external structure that function to support survival, growth, behavior and reproduction.

  • 5-LS1-1: Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.

  • MS-LS1-6: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.

 

Teacher Resources:

 

Specialized Ecosystem Study

3 hours | 200 students maximum
In addition to these program, the Education Staff offers tailored ecosystem study programs for middle school students in The Morton Arboretum's ecosystems.   For more information, contact our Manager of Curriculum & Instruction, Meghan Wiesbrock at 630-719-7947 or mwiesbrock@mortonarb.org
 

Self-guided Programs

 

Vanishing Acts: Trees Under Threat

Time is running out for more than 8,000 tree species.  Yet, few people know of their plight.  All over the world forces threaten wild tree species.  Explore this new outdoor exhibit and offer your students a timely and compelling look at endangered trees, reasons to care about this pressing global issue, an inspiring view of how trees enrich our lives and simple actions for environmental stewardship. 

Age appropriate classroom activities for before, during and after your visit are available to download. The exhibit is located in the Conifer Collection on the East Side of The Morton Arboretum.
PDF iconVanishing Acts Exhibit Guide Grades6-8  

 

Joy Path Backpacks - Newly Improved!

120 students maximum
Use an interpreted trail, teacher guide, activity backpack, and map to explore woodlands and aquatic ecosystems. Each pack serves 20 students and three chaperones.

Potential to address the following IL Learning Standards:
11A – Scientific Inquiry
12A – Life Cycles
12B – Habitats and Food Webs
12E – Natural Cycles
16E – Environmental History
For more detailed information about the Joy Path Backpack materials and activities

PDF iconJoyPathInfo.pdf

 

Woodland, Wetland, and Prairie

200  students maximum
Make discoveries on your own while exploring the Arboretum’s woodland, wetland, and prairie (no support materials provided). Below are some suggested itineraries that take up to approximately 90 minutes. These options may include interpretive trail signs.

  • East Side: Starting at parking lot #8 walk the “Joined Loops 3 & 4 Trail” to Big Rock Visitor Station. Continue on the Woodland Trail to Big Rock. For a longer experience, walk the long way around the Heritage Trail back to the Big Rock Visitor Station. 
  • West Side: Starting at the Prairie Visitor Station (parking lot #25) walk the Prairie Trail loop and go to parking lot #30. For a longer experience, walk to the nearby Millennium Oak. 

 

Teacher resources:
Printable Activity Pages for Self-Guided Adventures

Observations of a leaf

PDF iconObserve and Sketch
PDF iconSensory Investigation
PDF iconThe Living and The Non-Living Treasure Hike
PDF iconWetland Treasure Hunt

 

Tree Identification Self-guided Backpack - Newly Improved!

80 students maximum 
Use a teacher guide, activity backpack and map to explore plants up-close.  Through this map-reading scavenger hunt students are given the task of locating and identifying different tree species.  Each student can create a series of sketches of Illinois trees.  Each student should bring a notebook or sketchpad and pen/pencil for this activity.  Each pack serves 20 students and three chaperones.

For more detailed information about the Tree ID backpack materials and activities, download

PDF iconSelf Guided Tree ID - Website Info

SCHEDULE AND LOCATION: 

Field trips can include either or both guided and self-guided adventures. See fees and admission for more details.

Guided adventures

  • Available during spring and fall school season for grades PreK-12
  • Duration: 1.5 hours (Pre-K and Kindergarten programs are 1.25 hours)
  • Morning programs are scheduled Monday – Friday, 9:45-11:15 a.m.
  • Afternoon programs are scheduled Monday – Friday, 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Self-guided adventures

  • Available year-round for grades PreK-12
  • Scheduled Monday – Friday during open hours
FEES AND ADMISSION: 

Field trip fees:

  • One guided adventure (1.5 hours): $8 per student, $15 registration fee
  • One guided adventure (3.0 hours): $12 per student, $30 registration fee
  • Two guided adventures (3.0 hours): $12 per student, $30 registration fee
  • One guided adventure (1.5 hours) + Self-guided adventure: $12 per student, $30 registration fee
  • Self-guided adventure: $6 per student, $15 registration fee
  •  

Fees include admission to the Arboretum for:

  • All registered and attending students
  • All registered and attending adult chaperones (three adults for every 20 students)
  • State required aides
REGISTRATION INFORMATION: 
  • Registration must be completed 3 weeks prior to field trip date
  • Dates are reserved on a first come, first served basis so early registration is STRONGLY encouraged
  • Adult chaperones are required, three adults for every 20 students
  • Payment is due 3 weeks before the date of the field trip

CALL: Call the registrar at 630-719-2468, Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

ONLINE: REGISTER NOW   for Fall 2016 

*Registration for Spring 2017 opens on January 2nd 2017