Teaching SafarI


The Teaching Safari is a free professional learning for teachers that consists of four full-day, onsite sessions at Brookfield Zoo and two 60-minute virtual sessions. In addition to attending and participating in these classes, participants will engage in ongoing reflection on professional growth, and create and revise a lesson plan applying program content to practice. Content and strategies explored on the Teaching Safari are informed by Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and the Danielson Framework. Seats are limited; the application window for our Summer 2024 safari is open February 1 - March 15. Teachers from Title I Schools are encouraged to apply!

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✔ Enhance your content knowledge of conservation, animals, and ecosystems.
✔ Explore effective, equity-minded classroom strategies to support student inquiry, critical thinking, conceptual understanding, argumentation based on evidence, student ownership, and engagement in all subject areas.
✔ Discover new ways to develop conservation awareness in your students and to enrich learning through zoo resources and exhibits.
✔ Reflect on your classroom practice, engage in discussion with other educators, and receive individualized, written feedback from experienced zoo educator program facilitator on a lesson plan that you create and revise during this program.
✔ Connect and expand your professional learning community by becoming a part of our Brookfield Zoo Teaching Safari Network and enjoy free registrations for designated online and in-person professional development events.
✔ Teaching Safari participants who complete all course requirements may elect to receive 35 free professional development hours or two (2) free graduate semester hours from Dominican University.* Participants who complete the Safari will also receive a Certificate of Completion from Brookfield Zoo and four (4) complimentary zoo passes.


Our safari begins with a two-day expedition focused on Brookfield Zoo’s Great Bear Wilderness, inhabited by brown bears, polar bears, bison, and the bald eagle! As you learn about these amazing animals, you will explore a variety of inquiry-based, student-centered teaching strategies that you can apply in your classroom across subject areas.

Teachers will also participate in an onsite, two-day "variety expedition" adventure combining educator professional development to support student learning as we explore The Swamp, The Living Coast, Hamill Family Wild Encounters, Hamill Family Play Zoo, and other animal habitats throughout the zoo.
Summer 2024 Schedule


Day 1: Great Bear Wilderness

Introduction: What is Conservation Leadership? Developing Conceptual Understanding Through Equity-Based, Student-Centered Teaching.

Observing Bears as Phenomena: A Gateway to Inquiry and Problem-Based Learning



Day 2: Great Bear Wilderness 

Brown Bear "Food for Thought": Sensemaking with Mathematical Data and Scientific Models 

A Habitat for Bears in the Human Heart:
Exploring Diverse Perspectives Through Art and Empathy


Day 3: Zoo Variety 

The Swamp: Swamp Music: Keeping Learning "In Tune" with Student Schema, Language, and Experience.

The Living Coast: Transform "Ho-Hum" Science Activities with Humboldt Penguins: Planning and Carrying Out Student-Centered Investigations through Inquiry. 


Day 4: Zoo Variety 

Hamill Family Play Zoo & Wild Encounters: Strategies for Empowering Students to Access and Take Ownership of Learning in School and Beyond.

Empowering Student-centered Learning through Animal Behavior Studies: Building Collaboration and Understanding through Student-Centered Assessment and Goal-Setting.  



Choose your Adventure!
We encourage two or more educators to register from the same school to help support your professional learning community. 

Applications for our 2024 safari open February 1, 2024.

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Interested in hearing about more opportunities and resources for educators?
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SUmmer 2024 Flyer




The Teaching Safari program is presented by Brookfield Zoo to support educators in teaching Science and Conservation Leadership. Conservation Leadership encompasses not only an understanding of animals and ecosystems, but empathy, joy, and appreciation for the natural world shared in a spirit of equity and stewardship. We look forward to taking this safari with you!

Brookfield Zoo Teacher Network members will receive a 20% discount on Web+ Classes in the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) Master's Program. AIP is a master's degree program offered by Brookfield Zoo in partnership with Miami University, Ohio. The AIP Master's degree program focuses on education, sustainability, and local conservation actions. For more information, contact Agnes.Kovacs@czs.org.

*IEIN number, documentation of attendance at all sessions per Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) guidelines, and completion of reflections/lesson plans per rubric are required for professional development hours or semester hour credit. Certificate, zoo passes, and network benefits will be awarded upon completion of all program requirements. 


Graduate credit provided by: 

Have questions?
Please contact Patsy Steinmeyer at EdK12@czs.org