Programs

Sixth through Eighth Grade Field Trips

Content Detail

Guided adventures are available during the spring and fall school seasons.

  • Available during the spring and fall school seasons for grades pre-K through 12th grade.
  • Sixth- through eighth-grade guided programs are 1.5 hours
  • Morning programs are scheduled Monday through Friday, 9:45 to 11:15 a.m.
  • Afternoon programs are scheduled Monday through Friday, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
  • Program capacity limits are outlined here

Visit Plan Your Field Trip to help you and your classroom prepare.

To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

Plant Structural Adaptations

1.5 hours

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.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science 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 their impact on organisms’ populations

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $8 per student
    $15 registration fee

Woodland Ecosystem Study

1.5 hours

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.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science 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 their impact on organisms’ populations

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $8 per student
    $15 registration fee

Restoration Stewards

1.5 hours

Help us with natural areas management and conservation work at The Morton Arboretum. Education guides will lead your group of students as they conduct an educational service project in restoration. This is a great opportunity for Ecology Clubs. Activities can include pulling invasive plants, collecting seeds, hiking off of a trail and in heavily vegetated areas, and more. Students learn about ecological restoration while doing restoration.

  • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $8 per student
    $15 registration fee

Leave No Child Inside

1.5 hours

A growing body of research says 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 Next Generation Science Standards.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $8 per student
    $15 registration fee

Prairie Ecosystem Study (fall only)

1.5 hours

Explore the Arboretum's Schulenberg Prairie as you participate in hands-on activities. Students will discover the history of the early Illinois settlers as they examine the unique biodiversity of this ecosystem. Students explore the abiotic factors of the prairie and connect them to the adaptations of the plants and animals living here. For a full-day experience, add the Botany Lab or Prairie Lab to this program.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • MS-LS1-4:Specialized plant structures
    • MS-LS2-1: Resource availability in ecosystems

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $8 per student
    $15 registration fee

Trees and Climate

1.5 hours

Trees are at the center of the fight against climate change. Explore the natural processes that scrub the air and what students like you can do to help. Students will examine energy cycles, the chemical reactions in plants, and calculate the carbon storage in trees. This is a half-day program but can be booked as a full-day option when paired with another field program or the Tree Lab.

  • This program emphasizes the following Next Generation Science Standards:

    • MS-ESS2-4: Describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by sun energy & and force of gravity.
    • MS-ESS3-5: Clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
    • MS-ESS3-3: Examine human environmental impacts, assess solutions in minimizing human impact.
    • MS-LS1-6: Explain the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy in and out of organisms.
    • MS-LS1-7: Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions, forming new molecules that support growth and release energy as this matter moves through an organism.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • Pricing & Fees:
    Half day: $8 per student + $15 registration fee
    Full day: $12 per student + $30 registration fee

Self-guided adventures are available year-round and can be scheduled Monday through Friday during open hours.

Program capacities are outlined here.

To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

Magnolia Collection

Self-paced

Located on the West Side of the Arboretum, sits a living seed bank of some of the world's oldest plants—magnolias. These trees are beautiful all year long. Walk with your students through this new path with interpretation focused on the family history of magnolias, breeding and hybridization, and the unique features of this flowering beauty. The self-guided digital guide can be utilized in conjunction with our other self-guided options.


  • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $6 per student
    $15 registration fee

Joy Path Backpack

Self-paced

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



  • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $6 per student
    $15 registration fee

Tree Identification Backpack

Self-paced

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 and should bring a notebook or sketchpad and pen or pencil for this activity. (Each pack serves 20 students and three chaperones.)

  • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $6 per student
    $15 registration fee

Woodlands, Wetlands, and Prairies

Self-paced

Make discoveries on your own while exploring the Arboretum’s woodlands, wetlands, and prairies (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 Area P-8 walk the Joined Loops 3 and 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 Area P-25, walk the Prairie Trail loop to Parking Area P-30. For a longer experience, walk to the nearby Millennium Oak.

  • This program is not meant to address any specific Next Generation Science Standards.

    Program capacities are outlined here.

    To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

  • $6 per student
    $15 registration fee

COVID-19 mitigations:

Please note that this season, due to new safety protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arboretum cannot book full-day field trips, host schools for a lunch location, or offer lab programs with guided field trips. Please read the Program Adjustments in order to see how the Arboretum is keeping guests safe during field trips.

Half-day trip fees:

  • One guided adventure (1.5 hours): $8 per student, $15 registration fee
  • Self-guided adventure: $6 per student, $15 registration fee

Full-day field trip fees (not available in spring 2021):

  • 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 
  • One self-guided adventure: $6 per student, $15 registration fee

Registration details:

  • Registration must be completed three 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/teachers for every 20 students).
  • There is a minimum of 15 students for guided and self-guided field trips.
  • Payment is due three weeks before the date of the field trip. Call the registrar to process payment at 630-719-2468, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Fees include admission to the Arboretum for:

  • All registered and attending students
  • All registered and attending adult chaperones (two adults/teachers for every 10 students)
  • State required aides

Aligned Activities and More

To access vocabulary, activities, teacher guides, and more, register here to enroll in our Field Trip Bundles.

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