BioSynC pilots and implements digital learning programs in collaboration with Field Museum scientists and the Education Department to enable youth to become active science learners and participate in cutting edge Museum research.  For more information on all of BioSynC's digital learning programs please visit our Outreach page


WhyReef is a simulated coral reef, located in the virtual world of, that has a variety of activities to teach coral reef ecology and conservation such as assessing coral reef biodiversity, exploring reef food webs, and effecting change in an unhealthy reef. WhyReef launched in March 2009 and in the fist year had over 140,000 unique players.  For more information on publications and presentations for WhyReef visit the BioSynC WhyReef page. Visit the WhyReef Education page to download a WhyReef Coloring Book and Educator Guide, and for links to instructional videos on how to use WhyReef.

Conservation Connection

Conservation Connection engages youth from Chicago and Fiji in the stewardship of Fijian coral reefs through direct involvement in the scientific process. Fusing virtual and real experiences, Conservation Connection uses a combination of WhyReef, web-casting with Field Museum scientists, video blogging, and a customized social networking site, FijiReef, to connect youth and marine biologists around the issue of environmental conservation. For more information on publications and presentations for Conservaiton Connection visit the BioSynC Conservaiton Connection page. Visit the Conservation Connection Education page for more to see how your students can participate!

I Dig Science

Through I Dig Science, high school teens from disparate locations use 3D virtual world technologies to collaborate in real time with each other and a multi-national team of scientists performing fieldwork. Leveraging the latest in digital media, teens learn about the connections between climate change and extinction by participating in virtual fossil digs and applying their newly-gained knowledge by building virtual museum exhibitions. For more information on publications and presentations for I Dig Science visit the BioSynC I Dig Science page. Visit the I Dig Science Education page to see how your students can participate!

Members' Nights Biodiversity Scavenger Hunts

BioSynC organizes the Biodiversity Scavenger Hunts for Members' Nights.  Members' Nights are a Museum event when members can explore the Museum’s vast collections, interact with curators and staff, and witness behind-the-scenes work. We challenge members to explore the Museum’s biodiversity through scavenger hunt. There are two types of scavenger hunts to appeal to families and individuals of all ages. The “Behind-the-Scenes” hunt asks members to find  specific species from behind-the-scenes collections.   The “Museum-Wide” hunt asks members to find species throughout the entire museum that answer specific questions; such as “Find an organism that is an omnivore.” and “Find an organism that is native to Illinois.”  The scavenger hunts were piloted in 2010, and both hunts have been very successful. 

Visit to download the Biodiversity Scavenger Hunts and for more information on Members' Nights.

Science at FMNH Video and Podcast Series

Science at FMNH is a weekly video and podcast series for produced by BioSynC to raise the profile of Collections and Research scientist and activities.  These brief audio and video episodes highlight the staff, collections, and research of Zoology, Botany, Geology, and Anthropology, and are designed to attract a broad audience with high quality media and compelling science.  The series is funded by the Grainger Fund for Science and BioSynC. 

Visit to watch and listen to this exciting series!

EOL Species Pages & Activities for the Mammoth and Mastodon Exhibition

The Biodiversity Synthesis Group and the EOL Learning and Education Group have collaborated to create educational species pages for the new traveling Mammoth and Mastodon: Titans of the Ice Age exhibition. The species pages contain information on the biology and ecology of these Pleistocene mammals and unique fossil photos from the collections of The Field Museum's collections.  These pages also have several ideas for classes and families that can be applied to any visit to a natural history museum with exhibits featuring Pleistocene mammals. Some of the activities include: adding text and information to species pages, uploading original artwork, and uploading images from a photo scavenger hunt. Participants will not only enjoy learning about Mammoths and Mastodons, but also help build the Encyclopedia of Life!  Visit for links to the Pleistocene species pages and for the featured activities!