Past Virtual Closed Loop Lab Materials

Our Virtual Closed Loop Lab series is designed for teachers and parents looking to engage their students in science and sustainability topics through this quarantine era. Plant Chicago will be hosting virtual labs every Thursday from 1-2 pm through May. From aquaponics to waste audits, explore a new topic each week with Plant Chicago! Take a look at our upcoming workshops on our News + Events page.

If you were not able to make it to a workshop, feel free to build these materials into your curriculum and share the following with your students:

Aquaponics 101 at Home
Instructor: Stef Funk, Program Coordinator
This workshop provides an introduction to aquaponic growing (cultivating plants indoors using fish waste as fertilizer). Delve deeper into the science behind aquaponics with an in depth look at the nitrogen cycle. Tour Stef’s small scale system in her apartment, and learn about her planning process and maintenance routine.

Educator materials:

Composting with Worms
Instructor: Kassie Hinrichsen, Education Manager
Interested in composting with worms? Education Manager Kassie will explain more about this fun way to reduce food waste at home while creating nutrient rich compost. This online workshop will cover how to get worms, what materials you’ll need to build their habitat, what to feed them, how to use their fertilizer, and general worm tips.

Educator Materials:

Waste Audits 101: Find the Hidden Treasures in Your Trash
Instructor: Liz Lyon, Small Business and Circular Economy Manager
This workshop will provide an introduction to waste audits, the perfect quarantine activity! Since you’ve been cooped up at home for a while, now is the perfect time to dig through your trash and see what you can learn. Liz will walk you through how to sort, analyze, and maybe even reduce your waste.

*Attendees are encouraged to refrain from taking out their trash (and recycling or compost if you have it) for at least 5 days before this session to get the full hands-on experience of sorting through their waste.

Educator Materials:

Aquaponics Part 2: Water Chemistry
Instructor: Stef Funk, Program Coordinator
Recommended for grades 6-12
Join Stef for the second installment of her aquaponic workshop series. Learn more about this innovative way of growing food, which combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water). Tour Stef’s system in her apartment and join her as she explains the science behind aquaponics, including an in depth look at the nitrogen cycle. She’ll be testing her fishy water for various parameters such as ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH.

Educator Materials:

Pollinator Power!
Instructor: Kassie Hinrichsen, Education Manager
Recommended for grades K-6
Learn about the differences between native and non-native bees, the importance of pollinators for the environment and our food system, and what you can do to support these amazing creatures. Kassie covers how to make seed balls with native seeds, and how to make your own native bee habitat for your home or garden.

Educator Materials:

Life Cycle of a Salad
Instructor: Kassie Hinrichsen, Education Manager
Track the various cycles of a salad with Education Manager Kassie, from harvest to food scraps. She’ll cover how plants, humans, and worms receive nutrients, exploring what they need to be healthy. Join Kassie as she explains the loops, makes a salad, and feeds the scraps to her worms.

Educator Materials:

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