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Lake Katherine
In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.
- JOHN MUIR


School Field Trips and Homeschool Days

Why not enhance your school learning programs with a trip to Lake Katherine?

Each season offers different lessons and experiences and field trips can be scheduled all year round. One of our naturalists will be happy to discuss your ideas and needs. If a guided field trip is not available, you are welcome to use Lake Katherine for your own self-guided programs.

Our naturalist-led programs are:

  • hands-on and learner-centered
  • spent primarily outside
  • 1.5 to 3 hours in length
  • $6 per student (adults are free)

Our Thanksgiving: Each student will make their own small container of butter. Students will then taste their creation and sample other foods from the 1700’s. Children will play a variety of games from past eras. Program available only in November. Recommended for grades Pre-K and K.

Who’s Whoo?: A naturalist will lead an interactive discussion of owl adaptations. While listening to eerie owl calls, students will become forensic scientists and dissect their own owl pellet. Students will use magnifying glasses to see the differences between goose feathers and owl feathers. To further understand the food chain, a predator/prey game will be played in the prairie. Other games will help to learn about animal strategies of survival. Recommended for 3rd through 5th grades.

Winging It: Students will discover the unique attributes of birds through hands-on investigations. Each student will dissect an egg, learning the function and purpose of each part. Students will also participate in an owl “nest feeding” game, measure the wingspans of various birds, use magnifying glasses to inspect feathers, and match tools to bird beaks.  Recommended for 2nd through 5th grades.

Animal Adaptations: This hands-on program will help students learn about the adaptations of mammals by examining skulls and pelts of mammals to learn who is a carnivore or herbivore. Our outdoor time will include playing a survival game of predator/prey in the prairie, a camouflage hunt, and other games. Recommended for 3rd through 5th grades.

Explore Lake Katherine: Explore the 5 different habitats of Lake Katherine. In the style of a scavenger hunt, students will explore and compare the different vegetation. The different habitats include: 1-Decidious forest, 2-Conifer forest, 3-Pond/Wetland, 4-Garden, 5-Tall grass prairie. This program can be adapted or 1st through 6th grades (4th–5th will include nature sketching).

I Spy -Spring-Fall-Winter-Fish: Depending on the season, these four programs include the reading of a short story, five stations of hands-on activities, and an outdoor scavenger hunt. Fall Fun also includes corn grinding. Recommended for grades Pre-K through 1st grades.

Seeds: Students will investigate a variety of seeds; vegetable, flower, grass and weeds. Students will engage in sorting, examining with magnifiers, dissecting and planting seeds. Recommended for kindergarten through 2nd grades.

Body Coverings: Students will use hand lenses, touching and exploring various body coverings of animals; feathers, turtle shells, snake skin, and mammal pelts. Students will “play” movement games to mimic the movements of animals and take a nature walk outdoors. Recommended for Pre-K through 1st grade.

Worms: A scientific exploration using worms, combining art, science and literature. We will read a story of worms. Students will then explore and touch the worms, recreate the details with modeling clay, and sketch and label their drawings. Recommended for Kindergarten through 5th grades.

Insectigations: We will discover the world of insects and other arthropods. The program will include a brief overview of an insect’s major body parts and students organizing plastic arthropods into categories. We will examine a preserved grasshopper. Outdoors students will then observe insects and other arthropods. Chaperones will record the children’s descriptive details of the creature they find and ID the creatures into categories. We will also play a camouflage game. Recommended for Pre-K through 3rd grade.

Salamanders, Turtles and Frogs, Oh My!: Encounter the world of native Illinois reptiles and amphibians. Learn who has scaly and who has wet slippery skin. Observe, touch and learn some of the characteristics of these unique creatures. Our outdoor nature walk will include several learning games. Recommended for 1st through 5th grades.

H2 OH!
Fun with Water: Five stations of activities: sink and float, who lives there, water filtration, erosion and what is not in our tap water. Students will rotate through the five stations in small groups. Recommended for Pre-K through 1st grade

What is in the Lake?: Using dip nets, each student will Retrieve insect larvae from the water’s edge of the lake, a wetland habitat, and place into petri dishes. Students will categorize the specimens they find using magnifiers and a dissecting scope. Specimens will be grouped into pollution tolerance levels as well as what type of consumer they are. Recommended for 3rd through 5th grades.

Water World: Water, water everywhere. Is it a solid, liquid or gas? Follow the path of a drop of water from lake to cloud to rain. Learn the terms involved in the cycle of water in a fun demonstration. Take a walk on our grounds looking for examples of the water cycle. This program is especially designed for 3rd & 4th grades.

Where Does the Rain Go?: Students add “pollutants” and “rain” to a model city, then watch where it all goes. Students learn the implications of pollutants and watersheds. An outdoor excursion on the grounds compares reality to the model, plus students will “travel” as a drop of water to better understand the water cycle and its role with watersheds. Presenter emphasizes the need for wetlands. Recommended for 3rd through 5th grades.

 

For schools who would like a restoration and tree planting experience please refer to link: Make a Difference

During the months of November through March a select number of programs can be brought to the school {refer to link}:
Nature to Go School Brochure

 

Homeschool Days
*Home school days allow individual home school students to attend preselected programs. Only students of the grade-equivalent age for the programs offered will be registered. Registration and payment is required two weeks prior to the program date.
Organized home school groups of 10 or more age-appropriate students are encouraged to register for their own group field trip program. A designated member from your group can request programs by calling our naturalist. All registration forms from the group must be turned in (in person at the nature center or mailed in) one week prior to the date chosen.
Lake Katherine’s program refund policy is the Monday before the program-full refund. Less than 4 days, no refund.

Animals Adaptions: This hands-on program will help your child learn about the adaptations of mammals by examining skulls and pelts of mammals to learn who is a carnivore or herbivore. Our outdoor time will include playing a survival game of predator/prey in the prairie, a camouflage hunt, and other games. Games may be modified due to weather.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
1:00-2:30
Grades: K-6
Registration deadline in March 17, 2016

Hands-On Herpetology: Introduce your child to the amphibians and reptiles that live in Illinois with the use of live animals. Explore the habitats of several species that call Lake Katherine home. Learn fun facts about the differences among snakes, lizards, frogs and salamanders.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
1:00-2:30
Grades: K-6
Registration deadline is April 14, 2016

Wetland Wonders: In this program, children will explore various habitats throughout Lake Katherine Through hands-on observation; they will become aware of habitat similarities and differences and how each provides its inhabitants with basic survival needs. Possible habitats explored include wetland, prairie and forest.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
1:00-2:30
Grades: K-6
Registration deadline is May 12, 2016

Insectigations: We will discover the world of insects and other arthropods. The program will include a brief overview of an insect’s major body parts and students organizing plastic arthropods into categories. We will examine a preserved grasshopper. Outdoors students will then observe insects and other arthropods. Parents of younger children will record their children’s descriptive details of the creature they find and ID the creatures into categories. We will also play a camouflage game. Thursday, Thursday, Spetember 15, 2016
1:00-2:30
Grades: K-6
Registration deadline is September 8, 2016

 

 

Hayrides are available (weather permitting) for $1 per person taking the hayride (including students and teacher/adult leaders).

For field trip reservations, call 708-361-1873, Monday-Friday between 8:30am and 5pm, or email Marian at Marian.Sinkus@lakekatherine.org. A confirmation form will be emailed to you prior to your visit. Review it carefully to verify the date, time, number of students and any special instructions.

Should you choose to take your own self-guided tour rather than one of our naturalist-led programs, please click here for some ideas of fun things to see and do at Lake Katherine!


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Lake Katherine is owned and supported by the City of Palos Heights and managed by Lake Katherine Nature Center and Botanic Gardens.
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