Classroom Items for Loan

Supplement your classroom with these hands-on resources developed by teachers, for teachers.

Content Detail

The Morton Arboretum has developed free loan resources for teachers to check out and implement in their classroom instruction. Each Discovery Bin contains materials, tools, and lessons to bring the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) alive in your classroom. Bins are organized by grade-level and are aligned with our current field trip offerings.

Check out a bin before or after your trip to extend your students’ learning. These bins are available on a loaning basis and can be borrowed for up to two weeks at a time. 

You can reserve one of the nine bin types. Limitations apply.

Explore Discovery Bins selections> 

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Tree-rific Tree Bin

Grades PreK through Second | Field Trip Alignment: Trees in a Nutshell, Terrific Trees

Help your students “take root with this bin. Increase student’s understanding of trees and seeds. This bin includes activities focused on seed growth and dispersal, tree life cycle, and habitat characteristics.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • K-LS1-1
    • 1-LS1-1
    • 1-LS3-1
    • 2-LS2-2
    • 2-LS4-1

Animal Discovery Bin

Grades Second Through Fourth | Field Trip Alignment: Animal Homes, Eco Explorers

Examine this hands-on collection of animals’ structures with this bin’s collection of pelts, skull replicas, and x-ray images. This bin includes activities and materials that focus on habitats and adaptations.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 2-LS2-2
    • 2-LS4-1
    • 3-LS4-3
    • 4-LS1-1

Itty Bitty Science Bin

Grades Third Through Fifth | Field Trip Alignment: Eco Explorers, Energized Ecosystem

Magnify your student’s use of scientific tools with this bin. This bin contains a set of 10 microscopes and pre-made slides. Design your own experiment and have students collect their own samples to examine under the microscope. Doing a lab program as part of your field trip? This bin will help you prep your students for how to use a microscope during their visit.

  • This bin is not aligned to specific Next Generation Science Standards.

Plant Adaptations Bin

Grades Second Through Fourth

Learn about structural adaptations of plants and how their different characteristics allow them to survive and reproduce. Field Trip Alignment: Eco-Explorers, Prairie Ecosystem Study, Woodland Ecosystem Study, Energized Ecosystems

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 2-LS2-2
    • 2-LS4-1
    • 3-LS3-1
    • 3-LS3-2
    • 3-LS4-1
    • 3-LS4-4
    • 4-LS1-1

Be a Field Ecologist Bin

Grades Fourth Through Eighth | Field Trip Alignment: Eco Comparisons, Woodland Ecosystem Study

Teach your students to be field scientists! This bin includes soil probes, wind meters, light meters, and thermometers. Prepare your students for our Eco-Comparisons field trip, or create your own classroom experiments with these tools.

  • This bin is not aligned to specific Next Generation Science Standards.

Adaptive Aves Bin

Grades Fifth Through Eighth | Field Trip Alignment: Plant Structural Adaptations

Teach students about animal structures and adaptations using a variety of materials and activities.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • 5-LS2-1
    • 5-PS3-1
    • MS-LS1-4
    • MS-LS2-1
    • MS.LS2-2

Tree Health Tool Kit Backpack

Grades Sixth Through Twelfth

This backpack contains materials and activities for you to do with your students to identify and monitor trees in your schoolyard or neighborhood. Field Trip Alignment: Woodland Ecosystem Study, Plant Structural Adaptations, Tree ID Backpack

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • MS-LS2-4
    • HS-LS2-7

Aquatic Invasive Plants of the Chicago Region Bin

Grades Seventh Through Twelfth | Field Trip Alignment: Aquatic Ecosystem Study, Plant Structural Adaptations

Students will get hands-on experience with handling specimens that scientists use to study and identify species. This box includes aquatic plant specimens of invasive plants and their non-invasive look-alikes, and teaches how they impact ecosystems.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • HS-LS1-2
    • HS-LS4-3
    • HS-LS4-5

Tree ID & Tree Census Bin

Grades Eighth Through Twelfth | Field Trip Alignment: Tree ID Backpack

Use real data to engage your students in the Urban Tree Census. This bin includes tree identification resources, tree measuring tapes, and lessons to bring NGSS alive with real scientific data.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • MS-LS2-4
    • HS-LS2-7

The Morton Arboretum is a check-out site for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Biodiversity CDs and trunks on topics, such as “Illinois Invasive Species,” “Illinois Wild Mammals,” “Illinois Trees,” and “Illinois Prairies.” For questions related to the IDNR trunks, contact Megan Kuhl-Horbin, Coordinator of School Programs, at 630-725-2118 or mkuhl-horbin@mortonarb.org.

LEARN MORE ABOUT IDNR LENDING TRUNKS>

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The Sterling Morton Library has many resources available to teachers. With floor-to-ceiling windows and curved, cherry-wood bookcases, it holds 28,000 nature-related books and journals.

Visit the Sterling Morton Library in person or browse through the library’s collection using SWAN

Don’t see what you need? Contact the Education Department at 630-725-2118.