These age-appropriate labs were developed to help students learn integrated science, math and art concepts through open-ended exploration. The labs support curriculum and address Common Core State Standards for Mathematics and Next Generation Science Standards. The Learning Labs serve over 25,000 students a year in over 40 school districts. Let your classroom be next!

FOR RESERVATIONS, PLEASE CALL 630.637.8000 or request a reservation online.

Learning Labs at Your School

  • Patterns, Strategies, & Number Sense (Preschool)

    Pattern recognition and number sense are essential skills needed by young children to assure their success in math and in the future. This Learning Lab puts a mathematical spin on familiar activities and sets out to send students searching for math in everyday life. This is an exciting and innovative opportunity for students to experience an interactive program centered on developing concepts in patterning, sorting and classifying, geometry, estimation, the number line, and the language of mathematics.

    • Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (IELDS):
      • Knowledge and sense of numbers
      • Describe common attributes, patterns, and relationships in objects
      • Concepts of geometry and spatial relations
    • Lab Time: 1 Hour (adjustable)
  • Estimation Station (Grades K-3)

    How much is “a lot”? Which has more or less? Estimation Station is a hands-on, exhibit-based program designed to provide students with “real life” encounters with estimation. Students will be free to explore a variety of exhibit stations and estimate length, mass, volume, quantity, area, distance, and time. This Learning Lab is designed to introduce and reinforce the use of a referent as an estimation strategy. Students in the higher grades will track their estimates and actual measurements on data sheets. Estimation Station helps students to understand that mathematics involves more than being exact.

    • Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (IELDS):
      • Measurement of objects and quantities
      • Make predictions and collect date information
    • Addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):
      • Counting and Cardinality
      • Measurement and Data
      • Number and Operations in Base Ten
    • Lab Time
      • 1 – 1.5 Hours
  • GeoSpace (Grades K-5)

    Convert circles into cones and transform rectangles into prisms! Equipped with scissors, tape, glue, and a lot of imagination, students become “Paper Engineers,” each creating a geometric diorama inside and around a cardboard box — all in 3D!

    This Learning Lab invites students into the world of geometry through three-dimensional paper constructions. The GeoSpace Lab Specialists will introduce paper engineering techniques that can be used to construct 3D geometric solids. GeoSpace is an integrated math/art program designed to demonstrate to students the connection between two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional solids that define the world in which we live.

    • Addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):
      • Geometry
    • Lab Time
      • Kindergarten: 1.25 – 1.5 Hour
      • Grades 1, 2, & 3: 1.5 Hours
      • Grades 4 & 5: 2 Hours
  • Amazing Magnets (Grades K-5)

    Hunt for hidden treasures. Feel the force of magnetism. Discover how magnets do work, and use magnets to have fun. During this Learning Lab, preschool students will create a “magnetic” work of art, and students in grades K-4 will magnetize a needle and create a magnetic toy to take home. Students will make discoveries about the magnetic field surrounding all magnets, engage in open-ended activities to learn about attract and repel, discover the properties of objects that are attracted to magnets, and even use magnets to overcome gravity. This process learning is a powerful way to help students integrate concrete objects from the toy box to the toolbox with the abstract concept of magnetism.

    • Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (IELDS):
      • Use the practices of science and engineering to answer questions and solve problems
      • Concepts and information about the physical sciences
      • Connections and understanding in science and engineering
    • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
      • Forces and Interactions
    • Lab Time
      • PreK: 1 Hour
      • Kindergarten: 45 minutes – 1.5 Hours
      • Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5: 1.5 Hours
  • Math In Action (Grades K-2)

    Hop along the number line. Discover “how many” are in a group. Sort the animals. Math In Action is an interactive, hands-on program that allows students to practice counting, attribute recognition, place value, and more. By using everyday and familiar objects, students are more comfortable practicing the concepts that are so vital to their future math success. Over a dozen different activities, many of which require cooperative play, are available to reinforce these concepts as they have fun with math.

    • Addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS):
      • Counting and Cardinality
      • Operations and Algebraic Thinking
      • Number and Operations in Base Ten
      • Measurement and Date
      • Geometry
    • Lab Time
      • Kindergarten, 1, & 2: 45 Minutes – 1.5 Hours
  • Invertebrate Encounter (Bugs) (Grades Per-K-8)

    Physical properties, habitat, adaptations – all are studied in this NEW entomology Learning Lab. Using visual thinking strategies, students will observe, describe, and draw LIVE stick insects, hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, and scorpions while talking about where these bugs live, how they live, and why they look as they do. Emphasis is also placed on these invertebrates’ role in the ecosystem and their impact on society.

    • Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (IELDS):
      • Demonstrate curiosity about the world and begin to use the practices of science and engineering to answer questions and solve problems.Explore concepts and information about the physical, earth, and life sciences.
      • Understand important connections and understandings in science and engineering.
      • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for:
        • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
        • Natural Selection and Adaptations
      • Lab Time
        • Pre-k – Kindergarten: 1 Hour
        • Grades 1-8: 1.5 Hours

      NOTE: The animals will not be taken out of their enclosures. Students will be observing but not touching them.

  • Simple Machines 1: Wheels, Levels, & Pulleys (Grade 1-8)

    Get a grip on the physics of simple machines. Students will explore the force of friction and its impact on machines, lift themselves up with pulleys, experience the power of levers, experiment with gears, and more! DCM Lab Specialists will guide students through an engaging study of the seven simple machines. Students will discover how simple machines make work easier, faster, or both. Students will work in cooperative groups at hands-on exhibit stations to draw conclusions from their observations of simple machines at work. This process learning is a powerful way to help students integrate concrete objects with the abstract concepts of force and work.

    • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
      • Forces and Interactions
      • Provides a solid base for the understanding of the simple machines
    • Lab Time
      • Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8: 1.5 Hours

    Dive in deeper with Simple Machines 2: Simple Machines In Action Exhibit-To-Go!Click here for details.

  • Kids Design Engineering (KDE) (Grades 2-5)

    Elephants fly through the air! Race cars seek a finish line! Birdhouses sail across the water! Guided by our Lab Specialists, students become capable engineers and successfully experience the design-build-test process as they problem-solve to meet their engineering challenge.

    The KDE Learning Lab is an innovative three-session program that incorporates science, math, art, and technology as students design and create engineering projects. Students discover pneumatic power – the power of air under pressure. Each student will take on an age-appropriate challenge:

    Build an object or vehicle that will travel a distance on land or water (or possibly air!) powered by air stored in a balloon.

    The solution to this challenge is up to the students, and the results are as unique as the students themselves.

    Kids Design Engineering provides a foundation for children to develop
    the abilities to tackle more complex science and math challenges in later school years.

    Session 1 – KDE Awareness (2 hours at your school)
    In this session, students will:

    • discuss energy, inventions, and engineering
    • research project design choices using DCM’s projects
    • use lung power to create a cover for their design journals make a pinwheel

    Session 2 – KDE Materials (2 hours to your school)
    In this session, students will:

    • practice with the tools and materials necessary to build their projects
    • explore material choices and project design
    • ride the DCM Hovercraft
    • sketch their designs

    Session 3 – KDE Build at DuPage Children’s Museum (2 hours to DCM)
    In this session, students will:

    • The design-build-test process at its best! The student engineers take the lead as they, with their design journals as a reference, gather their materials and use our tools to construct their project.
    • The Lab R.A.T.S. and other adults are there to lend a hand when needed, but the students are in control. Students build, test, modify, and retest to ensure that their project meets the engineering challenge.

    Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):

    • Forces and Interactions
    • Engineering Design
  • Forces At Work (Grade 3-8)

    Push, pull, friction, gravity, momentum!
    Learn about how our Earth’s natural forces affect work – and play! Students will explore balanced vs. unbalanced forces, Newton’s Laws of Motion, transfer of energy, and more through experimentation with friction, magnetism,
    and electricity. Five interactive stations reinforce the concepts presented to enhance students’ understanding of how forces can cause movement without touching an object

    • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
      • Forces and Interactions
      • Energy
      • Electricity
    • Lab Time: 1.5 Hours
  • Tomorrow's Energy Today (Grade 2-5)

    Carbon dioxide soap bubbles and an alternative energy house are just two of the many activities students will be involved in as we tackle the diverse field of energy. Tomorrow’s Energy Today is a hands-on, interactive program designed to provide students with the opportunity to discuss many different forms and sources of energy and whether they are renewable or nonrenewable. Students also get to act out an energy transfer chain, exploring potential (stored) and kinetic (movement) energy, and dive into the carbon cycle.

    • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
      • Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
      • Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems
      • Earth’s Systems
    • Lab Time: 1.5 Hours
  • Big Art (Grades 3-8)

    Big Art: Classroom Collavorative Desing and Engineering Program

    When viewing a large sculpture, you may wonder, “How did the artist build that?” Artists use teams of designers and builders to help them create large works of art, and now your classroom can too!
    Our STE(A)M Educators will help your classroom create a one-of-a-kind large- scale art piece, perfect for installation in the school’s office, lunchroom, gym, or on your principal’s front lawn! Students will examine and experiment with the physics behind kinetic sculptures, then build their own budget to purchase materials (using “Art Buck$”) and create their individual sculpture. The design challenge comes when they must build their piece collaboratively to connect to other students’ pieces, and those pieces must connect to others. At the end of the program, the classroom connects all of their work to create a large-scale piece of art as unique and special as the group of kids themselves.

    • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
      • Engineering Design
    • Addresses Illinois Learning Standards for Fine Arts:
      • Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
      • Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
      • Revise, refine, and complete artistic work.
      • Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.
    • Lab Time
      • Session 1 & 2: 2 Hours @ Your School
  • Exploring Electricty (Grades 3-8)

    What is electricity? How do circuits work? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this electrifying, hands-on Learning Lab. Students will get to create circuits using our Discovery Bags of loads, switches, and a power source. Through interaction with our hands-on activity stations, students will learn what electricity is, where it comes from, and how we control it.

    • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
      • Forces and Interactions
      • Energy
      • Engineering Design
    • Lab Time
      • Grades 3, 4 , 5, 6, 7, & 8: 1.5 Hours
  • Cardboard Automata (Grades 5-8)

    Engineering and art combine as students tell their “story” using the mechanics of simple machines. Cardboard automata are mechanical sculptures that use cams, levers and linkages, and everyday materials to make the subject of their story
    move up and down, turn around, or jump front
    to back. The projects are instructive, playful,
    and imaginative.

    Students participating in this Learning Lab will learn about the mechanics of making something move using cams, camshafts, and pushrods and using this movement to tell a story of their own creation. Then the artwork kicks in, as the students use various art materials to create the story and attach it to the movement. Each automata is as unique as the students themselves!

    • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS):
      • Engineering Design
    • Addresses Illinois Learning Standards for Fine Arts:
      • Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
      • Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
      • Revise, refine, and complete artistic work.
      • Construct meaningful interpretations of artistic work.
    • Lab Time
      • Session 1 & 2: 2 Hours @ Your School
One Session
Two Sessions
Three Sessions
Kid’s Design Engineering
Cardboard Automata Big Art!
One Learning Lab
Same day, Same Learning Lab
Same day, Same Learning Lab
Per Student
Per Student
$235
$445
$640
$27
$18

Additional fee for outside the 20-miles radius may apply.

Questions about Learning Labs?
Contact Madalyn McLean | Education Bookings Coordinator
[email protected] or call 630.637.8000 x6150

Sponsored by
Graycor
Kinder Morgan Foundation
Ronald McDaniel Foundation

Nicor
River Casino
Subaru