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 partners with local Chicago Public Schools on the south west side to provide science education programming over the course of the entire school year.



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


Closed Loop Labs

UPDATE: Given the current state of COVID-19, we are adapting to virtual learning.

We are currently hosting Virtual Closed Loop Labs weekly Tuesday through Saturday. To stay updated with our programs, please subscribe to our Educators Newsletter. See our upcoming schedule here.


Subscribe to our Educators Newsletter


You can follow the button on the bottom right side of this page to start the scheduling process for a Virtual Closed Loop Lab. If you are interested in doing a small group, in-person visit, please reach out to Rock at rock@plantchicago.org. Visiting groups must wear closed toed shoes. To help our programs run smoothly, we require a 1:15 student chaperone ratio.

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


  • Virtual Closed Loop Lab: $150
  • Back of the Yards Residents: Free

Virtual Closed Loop Labs are offered Tuesdays – Saturdays, given availability. Labs typically last ~1.5 hours in length.

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.

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 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 virtual 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, how to harvest greens, make their own salad, and learn how compost their scraps using 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 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)

Students build a worm bin to take back to their classroom (let us know if you don’t want a worm bin). 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)

Schedule a Closed Loop Lab!

Please allow up to one week to hear back from us about scheduling.