Can’t come to the dunes? Dunes Learning Center educators will bring the dunes to you!
More than 5000 thousand students each year participate in one of Dunes Learning Center’s overnight programs at our Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore campus, but thousands more experience field-based, hands-on learning with Dunes Learning Center Dunes To You educators at schools and natural sites throughout the Calumet Region. Single day and progressive curriculum are available for students of all ages and abilities. Prices vary by program. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton at 219-395-9555 to discuss the endless possibilities.
Customized Curricula, Grades K–12
Provide your students with an unforgettable education adventure! From civic engagement to standards-based environmental literacy programs that support STEM learning and classroom goals, Dunes To You educators will work with you to plan a learning experience that meets the unique needs and challenges of your students! Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton at 219-395-9555 for more information.
Read about Dunes To You at Clark Middle School in our blog >
To bring the dunes to your school, request a program >
Growing Up Wild, Grades Pre-K
Research indicates that young children learn best through hands-on experiences that engage the senses. Growing Up WILD is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites exploration. Lessons support developmentally appropriate practices and offer opportunities for self discovery, building independence, and fostering curiosity. Through a wide range of activities and experiences, Growing Up WILD provides an early foundation for developing positive impressions about the natural world and lifelong social and academic skills. To bring Growing Up Wild to your classroom, or for more information, please contact Education Director, Erin Crofton.
Project Learning Tree Environmental Experiences for Early Childhood, Grades Pre-K
This program of the American Forest Foundation, developed with preschool educators and early childhood specialists, offers developmentally appropriate learning experiences that engage children in outdoor play and exploration. Activities include lessons in art, math, reading (stories), writing (drawing), dramatic play, music and movement, and outdoor exploration walks. Curious? Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton to learn more.
Great Lakes In My World, Grades K-8
Give your students an opportunity to connect with nature, explore their surroundings, and investigate solutions to local issues with Great Lakes in My World. 80 indoor and outdoor activities—covering lakes, sand dunes, wetlands, human communities, history, geology, and water flow—meet Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards and state learning standards and benchmarks in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and more. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton to bring this STEM curriculum to your classroom.
Read more on Alliance for the Great lakes’ blog >
Earth Partnership, Grades K-12
Created by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Earth Partnership promotes native habitat restoration as a process for community learning and land stewardship. This standards-aligned curriculum features a ten step ecosystem restoration process, offering students a local connection to their schoolyard and community through shared stewardship. Lessons include native site preparation, planting, management and control, research and data collection, monitoring, citizen science, and opportunities to learn from local outdoor spaces. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton to learn more.
Flying Wild, Grades K-12
With a focus on migratory birds, Flying WILD offers hands-on classroom and outdoor field investigation experiences that enhance classroom learning through real-world experiences in bird biology, conservation and natural history. Middle-school students learn about birds, their migration, and what people can do to help birds and their habitats. Activities include service-learning projects as well as an opportunity to implement a bird festival at their school. To get started, contact Education Director, Erin Crofton.
Project Learning Tree, Grades K-12
Make Learning fun! Project Learning Tree’s award winning, standards-aligned curriculum, and interdisciplinary activities, use the environment to engage students in learning—both outside and indoors. Activities cover a variety of topics including forests, wildlife, water, air, energy, waste, climate change, invasive species, community planning, and culture. Studies show that curriculums with an outdoor learning component greatly improve overall student performance, particularly in science and math, including test scores. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton to bring Project Learning Tree to your classroom.
Mighty Acorns, Grades 3-5
Trail beneath their feet, the texture of the natural world between their fingers, no electronics in sight—this is the unique way Mighty Acorns inspires stewardship, science and learning. This three-year STEM-based conservation curriculum for 3rd through 5th grade students incorporates classroom and field components; engaging students through restoration and exploration of an adopted natural area. Seasonal field study trips allow students to see firsthand how their work impacts and improves the environment. Lessons are continued in the summer when Mighty Acorns from Chicago and Northwest Indiana convene at our Mighty Acorns Nature Camp.
Participating teachers benefit from highly-rated professional development training and report improvements in student academic performance, sense of well-being, physical fitness, teamwork and leadership initiative.
“Over the last four years, Portage Township Schools ISTEP+ Science scores have increased in both grades four and five. We believe that this can be correlated with the establishment of the Mighty Acorns program.” Dr. Debra J. Dudek, Portage Township Schools
The Mighty Acorns curriculum is proven and effective, serving nearly 11,000 Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana students during the 2015/16 school year. Dunes to You educators deliver Mighty Acorns to classrooms throughout northwest Indiana in collaboration with Shirley Heinze Land Trust and The Field Museum, thanks to major funding by ArcelorMittal.
To bring Mighty Acorns programming to your classroom, or for more information, please contact Education Director, Erin Crofton.
Read about Mighty Acorns in our blog >
Watch a short video about Mighty Acorns >
Programming made possible to schools at no cost through funding to the Northwest Indiana Mighty Acorns Partnership by ArcelorMittal, BP, Dr. Scholl Foundation, Enbridge, Legacy Foundation, Patagonia Chicago, and contributions from parents and individuals. Major funding for the Northwest Indiana Mighty Acorns Partnership provided by ArcelorMittal
Earth Force, Grades 6-8
“A nation where young people from all walks of life are actively making positive change to the environment at their schools, in their neighborhoods, and in partnership with their communities,” is the vision that drives Earth Force, an advocacy-based middle school program. Earth Force envisions a world where every young person becomes a lifelong environmental citizen who actively solves problems in his or her community. Guided by a six-step model that combines the best of civic engagement, environmental education, and STEM, 5th through 8th graders work together to lead their own learning while making a difference in their community. Past projects have included native plant and learning gardens, a bee colony, and an informational video to encourage steps to mitigate climate change. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton to bring Earth Force to your classroom.
Read about Earth Force in our blog >
Dunes To You educators deliver the Earth Force curriculum to Northwest Indiana schools and families free of charge, thanks in part to funding by Patagonia Chicago, with major funding provided by ArcelorMittal
Calumet Is My Backyard (CIMBY), Grades 9-12
CIMBY engages high school students in STEM-based learning and hands-on stewardship in their communities through Alliance for the Great Lakes' Great Lakes In My World curriculum. Students participate in once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as exploring local waterways in a 24’ canoe and presenting their work at an environmental leadership summit, where they network their peers as well as experts in the environmental field. Teachers benefit from professional development where they learn to effectively deliver the place-based Great Lakes In My World curriculum which fosters an understanding of the natural history and environmental issues in the Calumet region. Contact Education Director, Erin Crofton to bring CIMBY to your classroom.
“CIMBY is a way to give back, when you think you don’t have anything to give.” High school program participant
Dunes To You educators deliver the Great Lakes In My World curriculum to Northwest Indiana schools and families free of charge, thanks in part to funding by Patagonia Chicago, with major funding provided by ArcelorMittal.