Photo credit: UIC Women in Engineering


We offer a variety of educational programming for all ages around circular economy topics.

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.


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. 

Follow the button on the bottom right side of this page to start the scheduling process for a Virtual Closed Loop Lab (K-12) or Workshop (College/University + Adult). 


Introductory materials, full slide decks, and workshop recordings of past virtual workshops are available here. Click the link below to get monthly updates on our education programs.

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.

During Closed Loop Labs, 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 current address is 4459 South Marshfield Ave.


  • Virtual Closed Loop Lab or Workshop: $150

  • Back of the Yards Residents: Free


Virtual Closed Loop Labs and Workshops are offered Tuesdays through Saturdays and typically last between 45 minutes and 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.

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, so we can plan accordingly.

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 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)

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

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Copyright Plant Chicago 2020

Plant Chicago is a registered 501(c)3 organization



4459 S. Marshfield Ave

Chicago IL 60609