Discover the diversity of living things, how they survive, and what we can do to protect them.

Museum visitors viewing a diorama featuring giraffes, rhinoceroses, and zebras.

Connect your classroom with nature

Living organisms, from the most delicate flower to the toughest coyote, have a lot to teach us. Observe how all kinds of living creatures adapt to and interact with environments and each other. Learners will deepen their understanding of concepts like food chains, migration, and ecosystems. With lesson plans, games, and more, our resources help connect your students to the natural world, both in the classroom and at the museum.

In-museum activities with Plants & Animals

See life science up close with the Field’s diverse specimens.

  • Everything Has a Purpose | Exploring the Field Guide

    Examine why plants and birds have certain features to uncover the relationship between structure and function.

  • Relationships in Ecosystems | Exploring the Field Guide

    Investigate an ecosystem by observing the individual organisms as part of a larger structure—a food web.

  • Survival of the Birds | Exploring the Field Guide

    Infer whether a bird can survive in a specific environment by observing physical features such as beak, feathers, legs, and feet.

Early Elementary Resources On Plants & Animals

  • Animal Survival Unit | Early Elementary Science Partnership

    Act as consultants to the City of Chicago and assess their relocation plan for urban coyotes.

  • Mapping and Monarchs Unit | Early Elementary Science Partnership

    Learn how to analyze and interpret maps by studying monarch butterfly migration.

  • Pollination Unit | Early Elementary Science Partnership

    Interact with various models to explore the structures of plants and animals related to the process of pollination.

Explore animal adaptations

Why are eggshells so brittle? What can we learn from how animals move? Investigate these questions and more with the Biomechanics Toolkit.

  • Structure Function Unit | Early Elementary Science Partnership

    Design a shoe appropriate for the icy, wet, and cold conditions of Antarctica using different types of bird feet as inspiration.

  • BIOlympics Game | Biomechanics Toolkit

    Jump into BIOlympics events to see how animals achieve amazing feats. Use that knowledge to choose competitors for different events. 

  • Dome Strength | Biomechanics Toolkit

    Discover how much force a seemingly brittle object like an egg can withstand when it’s dome-shaped.

N. W. Harris Learning Collection

Bring Plants and Animals to Your Classroom Browse Specimens