We coordinate a variety of educational programming around the circular economy.

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

“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.

 

>98%

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, and for 5-12th grade we require a 1:15 student chaperone ratio.

Students develop a deeper understanding of closed loop systems through supervised, interactive projects. Workshops are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Plant Chicago is no longer located at The Plant, our new address is 4459 South Marshfield Ave.

Cost

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

We can accommodate up to 30 students per lab. A $40 non refundable deposit is required at least 2 weeks prior to your scheduled visit.

Closed Loop Labs are offered Tuesdays – Saturdays at 10 am and 12:30 pm start times, given availability. Labs typically last ~1.5 hours in length.

If your class is interested in eating lunch in our classroom, we can coordinate a lunch waste guessing and weighing activity. However, we do charge an additional $25 per half hour as a lunch cleaning fee.

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

Please note: our new space has a large staircase leading up to our second floor classroom. Let us know in advance if anyone in your group cannot do stairs, and we can plan accordingly.
Please allow up to one week to hear back from us about scheduling. 

Schedule a Closed Loop Lab!

Lab Topics:

Aquaponics: Design Challenge 
Delve deeper into the science behind aquaponics and explore the nitrogen cycle! Students are challenged to build their own aquaponic system (not for taking home) using predetermined materials. (Recommended for 6th grade – adult)

Aquaponics: Water Chemistry
If your class is studying the nitrogen cycle, this lab is for you! Using our aquaponics system as a field site, students use the scientific method to test water for various levels of ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and phosphates. Explore what makes “healthy” water for fish, plants, and humans! (Recommended for 6th-12th grade)

Circular Economy
Challenge your students to think critically about our consumption and solve real world problems! This team oriented workshop shows the feasibility of designing circular systems for communities both big and small. Students work together to propose ideas for people to minimize ‘waste,’ increase efficiency, and close resource and energy loops. (Recommended for 9th grade – adult)

Life Cycle of a Salad
In this workshop students learn about our aquaponic system, harvest greens, make their own salad, eat the salad, and compost their scraps in our worm composting bins. Explore the various loops and cycles of a typical salad by considering what nutrients fish, plants, humans, and worms need to survive, and how they are all connected. (Recommended for 1st-6th grade)

Native Pollinators
Students dive into the world of pollinators through using microscopes, our indoor honey bee hive, and outdoor observations as learning tools. Explore the importance of pollinators native to Illinois for the health of our communities. (Recommended for 1st-6th grade)

Vermicomposting
Students build a worm bin for their classroom. Learn more about producers, decomposers, and consumers with this interactive worm workshop. Participants discuss the importance of composting and reducing waste. (Recommended for 1st-6th grade)