Fifth grade

field trips

The Forest Preserve District of Will County offers 15 different field trips for fifth grade students.

Four Rivers Environmental Education Center

Animal Signs

Students are introduced to the various signs that local animals leave behind and learn about the important reasons that both humans and animals track others. Your class will have the opportunity to observe, investigate, and identify tracks, scat, and other animal signs through a guided, exploratory hike through woodlands and restored prairie. 
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Flora and fauna

Go With the Flow

This place-based program highlights three valuable functions rivers provide. Students learn about historic types of river transportation and navigation, as well as the obstacles facing river captains. During a fast-paced game of animal survival, they will also learn the interrelatedness of living creatures and their habitats. Finally, river art is introduced, explored and inspired! This program will entertain and engage every student!

This field trip benefits from support from RiverWorks Discovery, a national outreach education effort that brings together industry, community leaders, museums, nature centers, educators and the public in recognition of the role rivers. A limited amount of bus reimbursements are available from RWD.
Time: 4 hours (includes lunch break)
Area of study: Cultural history, ecology

(Photo by Chad Merda)


Dead Log Study

During this program, students get the low-down on what’s happening on the forest floor. As they roll over dead logs, they will learn about decomposition and its role in the ecosystem.  Students will be introduced to life under the trees, including invertebrates, fungi, and lichens. 
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Ecology

Water Connections

Students are introduced to the local watershed and its features while surrounded by water on a unique river peninsula. The program will take them on a journey through the water cycle and will compare human water use over time. This program is experiential in nature and utilizes games and hands-on activities to both entertain and teach.
Time: 4 hours (includes lunch break)
Area of study: Cultural history, ecology and physical education

World Water Solutions

This program will introduce students to the important resource – water. Students dive into local and global water concerns and will be challenged to engineer a solution or create an educational campaign for real world water problem. This stem heavy program includes a watershed exploration hike that connects children to their local watershed through fun activities and reflection. This program pairs well with Linda Sue Park’s text “A Long Walk to Water.”
Time: 4 hours
Area of study: Ecology, STEM Strong

Isle a la Cache Museum

A Voyageur’s Life

What was life like for a French fur trader in the 1700s? How much knowledge did these early explorers need in order to survive their journey in search of furs? Students learn about the challenges, risks and rewards of being a French fur trader and demonstrate the skills for success.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Cultural history, physical education

Living on the Land 

Explore in detail the Native Americans’ relationship with the land. Students will learn about the seasonal preparations and activities of the Potawatomi people.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Cultural history, flora and fauna

The Story Circle

Students learn the importance of oral stories as a means to promote cultural values and traditions as they explore the stories of the French and the Native Americans of the Great Lakes Region. During this exploration, students will create a myth using pictography and communicate in Native American sign language. 
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Cultural history

The Trade 

Step back in time to Illinois during the 1750s. Students practice the barter system used by the French and Native Americans to exchange goods. By participating in a trade, students learn and see the benefits of this economic process.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Cultural history

Plum Creek Nature Center

ASI: Animal Scene Investigators

"ASI” teaches students the basics of investigating the scenes, tracks and homes left by Will County animals. Observational and critical thinking skills will be used to investigate the patterns of tracks, types of homes and other animal signs made by these often unseen critters.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Flora and fauna

Hands-On Herpetology

Introduce your students to the amphibians and reptiles that live in Will County with the use of live animals. Explore the habitats of several species that call Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve home. Learn fun facts about the differences among snakes, lizards, frogs and salamanders.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Flora and fauna

Sniff, Look & Listen

In this program, students explore various habitats throughout Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve. 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.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Flora and fauna

Taste of the Wild

Ready to tantalize your taste buds? Learn to safely identify and sample berries, seeds, leaves, flowers, stalks and roots, depending upon the season. Hike through different habitats and discover how plants are adapted for survival.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Flora and fauna

Wetland Wonders

Hidden beneath the rippling water of a creek or pond is an abundance of life that awaits discovery. Students will sample a wetland, identify aquatic invertebrates and draw conclusions from data.
Time: 1.5 hours
Area of study: Ecology, flora and fauna


Field trips are offered at three Forest Preserve facilities. Student capacity varies for each site. Additional field trip days may be required to accommodate larger groups.


Maximum 50 students (or three classes) per day at Four Rivers Environmental Education Center.


Maximum 50 students per day at Isle a la Cache Museum.

Crete Township

Maximum 100 students per day at Plum Creek Nature Center.