We coordinate a variety of educational programming on-site at The Plant and throughout Chicago.

We’re always happy to host school field trips or even visit classrooms to teach students about the science and social value behind our work. We’ve hosted school groups from all over the country!

“Truly, the amount of time we spent with our leaders was perfect! The Lab on many levels was inquiry based, hands on, engaging and challenging. Thanks to both of you for your generosity of time and talent. Today was life changing for me and will no doubt be on the top of the list for my students’ all-time favorite field trips!” – Teacher at Guerin College Prep

“Thank you so much again!! The kids were super excited and full of energy, which was wonderful to see. Thank you so much for this opportunity!”
– Teacher at Sawyer Elementary

Plant Chicago is partnering with local Chicago Public Schools on the south west side to provide science education programming over the course of the entire school year. 2017-2018 partners: Chavez, Hamline, Hedges, and Sawyer Elementary.



of teachers recommend Plant Chicago’s hands-on labs and workshops


Closed Loop Labs

Teach your students about sustainability and food production, with plenty of hands-on activities and fun lessons built in.

Visiting groups must wear closed toed shoes. To help our programs run smoothly, for K-4th grade we require a 1:5 student chaperone ratio. For 5-12th grade we require a 1:15 student chaperone ratio.

Labs take place in Plant Chicago’s classroom, aquaponics farm, and/or outdoor learning space at The Plant. Students develop a deeper understanding of closed loop systems through supervised, interactive projects. Workshops are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.


  • Students: $7
  • Additional Adults: $10
  • Minimum Payment $150
  • Back of the Yards Residents: Free

Closed Loop Labs are a minimum payment of $150 (21 students), we can accommodate up to 30 students per lab. Individual students are $7/ea after the minimum payment is reached.

Closed Loop Labs are offered Tuesdays – Thursdays at 10AM and 12:30PM, Fridays at 12:30PM, and Saturdays at 10AM and 12:30PM.

We can tailor your visit to highlight different aspects of food production, energy conservation and material reuse. Students can see closed loop systems in action, including an aquaponics farm, mushroom lab, compost gardens and more.

Schedule a Closed Loop Lab!

Lab Topics:

Aquaponics: Design Challenge 
Delve deeper into the science behind aquaponics and learn more about the nitrogen system! Students are challenged to build their own system (not for taking home) using predetermined materials. (Recommended for 6th-12th grade)

Aquaponics: Water Chemistry
Delve deeper into the science behind aquaponics and learn more about the nitrogen system! Using the aquaponics farm as a field site, students use the scientific method and test the water to determine the “health” of the water. (Recommended for 6th-12th grade)

Circular Economy
Challenge your students to think critically about our consumption system and solve real world problems! This team oriented workshop shows the feasibility of designing circular economies through examples at The Plant. Students work together to propose ideas for large companies to minimize ‘waste,’ increase efficiency, and close resource and energy loops. (Recommended for 9th grade – adult)

Life Cycle of a Salad
Follow how nutrients cycle from seed to soil! In this workshop, students will learn how food nourishes their bodies and how to return nutrients to soil by harvesting aquaponically grown produce, then making and eating a salad together! (Recommended for 1st-6th grade)

Native Pollinators
Learn about the importance of native pollinators for our food system! Students will build their own native pollinator habitat for solitary bees made out of reclaimed materials. (Recommended for 1st-6th grade)

Students will get the chance to build a worm bin for their classroom. Learn more about producers, decomposers and consumers with this interactive worm workshop. (Recommended for 1st-6th grade)