Scientists in the classroom…

dissecting sheep’s eyes, building and launching rockets, isolating DNA from a strawberry…and more.

Teaching critical thinking…

and how to be a science detective, helping students to learn how to more closely observe the world around them.


Engaging all children in learning…

with the joyful hands-on discovery of the amazing natural world around them – in the classroom and on field trips.

Inspiring career aspirations…

in STEM fields ranging from medicine to astrophysics, chemistry to entomology, opening a future of possibilities.


Science Alliance scientists conduct experiments and lead field trips with District 97 3rd-8th graders.

Working alongside experts in scientific fields, our students learn that science has practical applications that smart, interesting adults in their community use in their work every day.

Our exciting roster of visiting scientists includes environmental scientists from the EPA, a cardiologist from Children’s Memorial Hospital, an astronomer from IIT and an evolutionary biologist from the University of Chicago. Working side by side with these professionals, our students learn that science has many practical applications that smart, interesting adults in their community use in their work every day.

Scientists, students and teachers in Science Alliance classrooms run experiments and take field trips together. Putting the scientific process into action inspires some students to consider careers in science, and inspires all students to look more closely and critically at the world around them.


  • engages children with real scientists
  • engenders discovery and critical thinking skills
  • inspires students to consider careers in science

Science Alliance

Science Alliance Student

“I used to think science was boring. I love science now because of [our Science Alliance scientist]. I wish we had more time with him. I’d trade recess for more time with him.”

Science Alliance

District 97 Teacher

“There isn’t any other part of our curriculum that is like this. It gives students a glimpse into a very specific world of science through a person who is making a career of it, but it also carries over into our everyday science units in school. I appreciate the time the scientists give this program.”

Science Alliance

Science Alliance Scientist

“It really gives me a great feeling afterwards to be able to share my knowledge and to give back to the community and school.”

Science Alliance

District 97 Teacher

“Students were engaged in scientific discovery, had access to scientific content outside my expertise, learned from a professional scientist, and saw me as a learner as well.”

Science Alliance News

Back to the Birds at Irving

Back to the Birds at Irving

For over five years falconer and scientist Craig Hendee has been swooping in to Oak Park schools with his Peregrine Falcon, Alvin. This year, Hendee brought a special guest, a six-month old endangered Saker Falcoln named Susie. Hendee works with the International...

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Beye, Hatch, and Longfellow Visit with Scientists

Beye, Hatch, and Longfellow Visit with Scientists

Around here, April showers don't just bring flowers, they bring scientists! On April 3, Dr. Elizabeth Goodman visited Ms. Baker's class at Beye. Dr. Goodman spoke with students about geology and passed around samples of different types of rocks, such as obsidian and...

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Getting Our Science On

Getting Our Science On

Oak Park has a surprising amount of scientists living in our small village, and OPEF is thrilled to be able to take advantage of their talents, generosity, and knowledge. Check out some of the photos of our volunteer Science Alliance scientists visiting classrooms. At...

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$100 pays for a year-long residency with a Science Alliance scientist.

Seth Baker


Seth has been teaching 6th-8th grades in Oak Park since 1994. He has participated in Science Alliance every year, and has coordinated the Science Alliance program (formerly known as Global Village) since 2005. A Golden Apple winner, Seth is also a member of the Educational Advisory Board of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Research Experience for Teachers program. He lives in Oak Park, has three children in the District 97 schools, and his wife teaches K-1st grade in District 97.