The Burnham Plan Centennial - Bold Plans, Big Dreams

Learning Resources

Resources for Educators

The following list offers educators sources for additional curricula, classroom activities, and professional development opportunities to expand and enrich their practice.

Millennium Park Field Trip Guide

Bold Planners. Big Dreamers. You.

Millennium Park provides a lively, modern illustration of many of the themes of the Plan of Chicago -- the importance of open space, transportation infrastructure and architectural integrity. This do-it-yourself field trip guide contains nine hands-on activities with emphasis on the city infrastructure for elementary students, particularly those grades 3 - 8.

You Run the City

30 Days of Bold Plans and Big Dreams

This Chicago Park District guide, designed for use in a recreational setting, consists of short activities that encourage students or campers to play creatively with themes of city building and shaping the future. Intended for grades 3 - 6.

American Planning Association [partner profile]

APA: Youth and Teachers

The APA website provides information and activities for kids interested in their cities and towns, teachers who would like to introduce an awareness of planning issues into the classroom, and planners who are visiting schools to talk about their jobs. The site contains curriculum and lesson plans, a resource bank of websites publications, and activities and a website to help youth explore their community.

Chicago Architecture Foundation [partner profile]

Schoolyards to Skylines

Schoolyards to Skylines is a resource book available for purchase through CAF. It offers 47 lessons for teachers in Kindergarten – 8th grade, using both famous and lesser-known buildings, sites, people, and events in Chicago as tools for teaching units in social sciences, science, mathematics, language arts, and fine arts. Each lesson strengthens the fundamental educational skills of students and is solidly based on state and city academic standards.

The Architecture Handbook: A Student Guide to Understanding Buildings

The Architecture Handbook focuses on the design and construction of residential architecture for high school students and is available for purchase through CAF. Through hands-on activities, it teaches both the fundamentals of architectural design and technical drawing. Students also build knowledge and gain skills through group design projects, sketching, model-making, mapping, research, critical thinking, problem solving, and class presentations.

Chicago Metro History Education Center

The Chicago Metro History Education Center offers an inquiry- and project-based history program for students, teachers, and parents in the city of Chicago and suburban Cook, Lake, Kane, and DuPage counties. As its core activities, the CMHEC organizes and administers a “History Fair” academic competition for students in grades 6–12, develops curricular and educational materials, and conducts professional development workshops.


CUBE, the Center for Understanding the Built Environment, specializes in community-based education intended to bring together educators, kids, and community partners to effect change.  The website offers free lesson plans for doing community outreach projects, as well as curriculum materials and other resources that are available for purchase.

Friends of the Chicago River [partner profile]

Chicago River Schools Network

Friends of the Chicago River’s dynamic education program, the Chicago River Schools Network, provides K–12 teachers with the training and personalized assistance they need to take their students on an adventure into the turbulent history, evolving ecology and improving health of the Chicago River.

Openlands [partner profile]

Green Teacher Network

The Green Teacher Network is Chicago’s educational resource network for schools with gardens or “growing windowsills” that use gardening activities to support curricular goals. GTN was created to sustain existing gardens and for teachers who found the school garden an exciting vehicle for action-based teaching of math, science, reading and social studies.

Educators Resource Guide

The Burnham Plan Centennial:
Bold Plans. Big Dreams

Incorporate the study of metropolitan Chicago into daily teaching with this collection of resources that links to lessons, activities and multiple educational resources across a variety of academic disciplines. [Download PDF or View Program  On-Line]

Feature Resources

The Plan of ChicagoThe Plan of Chicago

The online Encyclopedia of Chicago has a wealth of information including a fully digitized copy of the Burnham Plan.

Cloumbian Exposition

The Columbian Exposition

Explore Daniel Burnham’s vision of an ideal city with an interactive map of the World’s Fair of 1893.

Metro joeWho is Metro Joe?

Think you know Chicago and the 'burbs?  Play this online game that challenges your knowledge of the Chicago region.

Educational Programs

In and After School (K–16)

Schools and universities throughout the region are developing events and projects during the Burnham Plan Centennial.

The Burnham Blog

Several articles were written about Centennial education programs throughout 2009 on the Burnham Blog. To read these articles and browse other related posts, click here.

Presenting Sponsor for Education


The Burnham Plan Centennial
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