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Exploring is Learning

Explorers is a series of classes  designed to spark curiosity and inquiry learning.  Learners dig deeper into a theme throughout the series.  Programming is designed for scientists from age 6 and Up.

Classes are Saturdays at 1pm.

For Registration Call: 815-965-3433 or register online

Fall Semester:

September 22nd
Rip and slice: all about theropod teeth
The clues are in the teeth of these fearsome beasts.  Examine teeth of living carnivores. Compare them to modern herbivores.  Examine fossils dinosaur teeth. Learn about bite force behind these fearsome saber-like teeth.  Prepare a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth cast to take home.
October 27th
Hungry Tummies? Dinosaur stomachs and digestion
How did these giant animals digest their food?  It is accepted today that modern birds are dinosaurs.  Birds have gullets and they will regurgitate indigestible parts as owls do.  Questions – could some dinosaurs possible have done that? How did dinosaurs use gastrotliths in their digestion? You will dissect a real stomach to see how they function and end the class by dissecting an owl pellet.
November 17th
Dinosaur Tails: whips, noisemakers, and clubs
Tails have fascinated the paleontologists throughout history.  Originally they had Tyrannosaurus rex balancing on his tail.  At times the tails were thought to be a means of defense.  Over time the research has made new discoveries as to the use of the tail.  Learn about these discoveries, experiment with the theories and dissect an ox tail with the assistance of an orthopedic surgeon.
January 26 
Dinosaur hands and elbows: How they really worked!
Do you remember the dinosaurs in Jurassic World looking perky with their hands held like a little rabbit?  Could they really maneuver them so carefully? How did they use their forelimbs, especially Tyrannosaurus rex with his little limbs?  Burpee has a Stegosaurus ulna collected this past summer.  You will look at the ulnas of dinosaurs, compare them to ulnas of modern animals.  You will dissect a forelimb with the help of an orthopedic surgeon.


Spring Semester:

February 9
Beasts with Big Hearts: T rex and other dinos
What was a dinosaur heart like?  How are animal hearts alike? How are they different?  Compare animal heart? Were dinosaurs warm blooded or cold blooded?  Get “hands on” as you dissect a pig heart with the assistance of University of Illinois School of Medicine students.
March 16
Little Brains? What we know about How Dinosaurs Thought.
You have seen movies portraying dinosaurs as able to speculate and think.  Would that have been possible? Would you have been able to tame a dinosaur as an animal may be tamed today?  And is it really true that the brain of a Stegosaurus was the size of a walnut? That possibly some dinosaurs had more than one brain?  How do paleontologists study dinosaur brains? You will explore these ideas as well as examine up close a brain.
April 13
Dinosaur Eggs: Just Like Giant Chickens?  The Lowdown on those eggs!
Get the lowdown on dinosaur eggs.  How big were they? Where have they been found?  How were they protected? Examine a variety of real bird eggs and real dinosaur eggs.  Learn the science behind eggs, conduct egg experiments, and make a model of a dinosaur egg.
May 11
She’s watching you! The eyes of Trex …and other dinos!
May is healthy vision month.  How did dinosaurs see? If you stood still would you be safe?  Compare the vision of various dinosaurs with living animals today. Dissect a cow’s eye to see the parts of the eye and hypothesize how dinosaurs were able to hunt and survive.
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Ages 6 and up.  Students must be accompanied by an adult to assist with dissection. 


Registration Information

Pre-registration and payment is required. Registration Fee Includes One child & One adult.

  • General Public Registration Fee: $20.00
  • Burpee Museum Member: $18.00

SAVE with Full Semester Registration:

General Public: $70 (includes all classes in Semester)

Burpee Museum Member: $62(includes all classes)